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Make your Workplace Safer during National CPR and AED Awareness Week

By Sally Murdoch

aed sign for workplace safety

According to OHS Online, sudden cardiac arrest is the leading cause of death in the United States and Canada, with nearly four out of five cases occurring outside a hospital. Analysis of the workplace fatalities reported to OSHA showed that up to 60 percent might have been saved if AEDs were immediately available and companies were not just relying on EMS.

When a person experiences heart failure, every passing second can have dramatic impacts on the victim’s recovery, quality of life, and chances for survival. Even when medical personnel is called, victims of heart failure usually need defibrillation within the first four minutes of an attack. A proper training program can ensure that victims receive immediate, potentially life-saving help.

Enter National CPR and AED Awareness Week 2016. Although it ends June 7, this summer marks the perfect time to organize and implement a CPR and AED training program in your workplace. While never incurring a medical emergency in the workplace would be ideal, training employees in first aid, CPR, and using an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED), are necessary precautions. But how to organize? Here are a few steps to making this your company’s safest year yet.

Be the Safety Conversation Starter About CPR and AED Training

Locate the American Heart Association (AHA) in your area and see if they offer CPR/AED training programs. The AHA offers a handy tool to identify what kind of training your organization may need, and where to access it. If your town is not near an AHA site, contact the local fire bureau.

Once you’ve got a contact for training, now start gathering numbers and put the following on paper to bring to your supervisor:

  • Approximate cost to hire a trainer

  • Time involved in coordinating

  • Point person

  • B>enefits of CPR/AED training. Use the opening paragraph in this article if you can't find these readily.

Volunteer to Head Up a Safety Committee

Craving a little leadership? Heading up a safety committee puts you at the helm of a vital resource within your company. Commit to training and serving as the go-to person on all CPR/AED matters. If you’re not sure your workload can handle it, work on finding a delegate who can help out once you’ve received approval for the program.

The most important aspect is to have training and device maintenance schedules current and kept on file, as OSHA compliance officers periodically inspect companies. 

Bring Some Numbers to the Table

These statistics may further help supervisors and HR representatives grasp the importance of CPR/AED training:

  • An estimated 890 deaths from sudden cardiac arrest occur outside of the emergency room or hospital each day.

  • By learning CPR, you can play a role in preventing more than 400,000 deaths per year, and help increase survival rates by as much as 70%.

Communicate the Hands-only Philosophy

According to the site Everyday Health, “Each year, over 400,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur, and only 30% of victims receive CPR, according to the AHA. That's because most bystanders feel helpless during a cardiac emergency and do not know how to perform CPR.”

The thought of giving mouth-to-mouth to a coworker may be daunting for some. But there’s a new campaign called Hands-Only CPR that may help save lives until paramedics arrive which doesn’t involve mouth-to-mouth. The technique encourages bystanders to push at the center of the chest to the beat of the song, “Stayin’ Alive.” (The song has the right beat for hands-only CPR.)

Whether You Decide on CPR or AED, People Still Need Training

Once you’ve received the go-ahead to offer CPR training, the first step is to work with an instructor. Using a qualified first aid instructor will ensure that employees receive more than the basic CPR training and has been proven to be the most effective technique within group settings. The AHA offers various educational options

The American Red Cross can help training on how to use an AED, as well. The organization’s tools include free AED demonstrations, employee training, access to on-site assistance, and more.

Publicity is Key

Make sure employees know who’s doing training and when and how they can get involved. Sell the positives and that the life they save may not be one at work, it may be at the mall, the grocery store, or even at home!

Graphic Products carries a full line of custom safety labeling and signage tools to quickly and efficiently mark where first aid and safety stations are located. As the leader in safety visual communication, Graphic Products also has an array of pre-printed first aid signs plus targeted industry resources, such as safety labels & signs for first aid in construction environments.