An Automated External Defibrillator – AED can reduce the risk of fatality from Sudden Cardiac Arrest. Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) can prolong life. Defibrillation is the only way to restore a heart with a fatal heart rhythm back to a normal heart rhythm. Currently AED’s are not mandated in the Workplace but are worth considering. The Australian Resuscitation Council recommends having a Defibrillator in the workplace is good practice.
Considerations for providing an AED in the Workplace
Is there a risk of electrocution?
Would there be a delay in an Ambulance attendance?
Are there large numbers of workers or the general public?
Is there a foreseeable risk of Sudden Cardiac Arrest – eg medical facility, professional sport?
Why Install an AED in My Workplace? Approximately 33,000 Australians die every year from Sudden Cardiac Arrest. That is over double the combined deaths from cancer, road fatalities and deaths from fire for the same time period. Every workplace is required to have a fire extinguisher – some thing to consider! Do you need a Defibrillator – certainly something to consider.
Comparison of cause of deaths in Australia – (Dr Tony Scott (NZ National Cardiac Arrest Awareness Network, 2016 joint Australian & New Zealand Resuscitation Councils conference in Auckland)
Over 30,000 Australians suffer a Sudden Cardiac Arrest – SCA every year.
Less than 5% survive SCA without defibrillation
Defibrillation with in minutes increases chance of survival to over 70%
For every minute without defibrillation there is a 10% less chance of survival
Sudden Cardiac Arrest – SCA is an electrical problem in the heart. It causes the heartbeat to be rapid, chaotic, or both. The heart suddenly stops pumping blood causing the person to collapse. If a sudden cardiac arrest is not treated properly and quickly ie early CPR and Defibrillation, it will cause sudden death within 10 minutes.
Less than 1 in 10 out of hospital Sudden Cardiac Arrests result in the person surviving. Currently 4 Australiansdie from Sudden Cardiac Arrest every HOUR.
Who is Most Likely to Suffer a SCA?
SCA‘s do not discriminate. It is not your age, your fitness level, and it’s not your background. It is Sudden and can happen to anyone, at any time, without warning. Less than half the people who suffer a SCA out of a hospital have CPR commence or have an AED applied prior to an ambulance arriveing. For every minute that passes without CPR and AED the chance of survival drops by 10%.
Symptoms of Sudden Cardiac Arrest
Loss of consciousness
Other signs and symptoms may occur before a SCA eg: Fatigue • Fainting • Blackouts • Dizziness • Chest pain • Shortness of breath • Weakness • Palpitations • Vomiting. SCA often occurs with no warnings.
Causes of Sudden Cardiac Arrest
Pre-existing heart conditions
Coronary artery disease
Enlarged heart (cardiomyopathy)
Valvular heart disease
Congenital heart disease
Electrical problems in the heart
Trauma to chest at wrong time of heart’s cycle
First Aid Legislation
All workplaces in Australia are required to manage risks to health and safety at work.
Work Health and Safety Act 2011 The aim of the Act is to provide all workers in Australia with the same standard of health and safety protection regardless of the work they do or where they work.
Work Health and Safety Regulations 2011 The WHS Regulations support the Act and cover specific aspects of WHS in detail, including first-aid requirements and training, notification of accidents and incidents, and WHS record-keeping.
Legislative requirements vary across States and Territories, more information can be found here. Penalties may apply if workplaces are found not following the WHS ACT or Regulation.
The information is of a general recommendation and should not be used as a substitute for information provided by your local State or Territory Work Health & Safety regulatory authority. Reference: Codes of Practice: First Aid in the Workplace Section 3.1
A workplace is more than just an office, shop, warehouse, construction or mining site, laboratory, garage, workshop, school. Multi-storey buildings require at least one kit located on every second floor. Security-controlled workplaces must also have access to First Aid equipment.
A vehicle can also be considered a workplace! A portable Basic First Aid kit should be provided in the vehicles of mobile workers if that is their workplace, for example couriers, taxi drivers, sales representatives, bus drivers and inspectors. These kits should be safely located so as not to become a projectile in a collision.
Basic First Aid Kit plus additional equipment identified for specific risks
First Aid Room for 100 workers or more
Remote – High risk workplace
one First Aider for every 10 workers
Basic First Aid kit plus
− a heavy duty 10 cm crepe bandage for snake bites − large clean sheeting, for covering burns − thermal blanket, for treating shock − whistle for attracting attention − torch/flashlight, and − any equipment identified for specific risks
Low risk workplace – where workers are less likely to be exposed to hazards that could result in serious injury or illness. Eg; offices, shops and libraries. Work-related injuries and illnesses requiring first aid are likely to be minor in nature.
High risk workplace – where workers are exposed to hazards that could result in serious injury or illness and would require first aid. Examples of workplaces that may be considered high risk are ones in which workers:
use hazardous machinery, for example mobile plant, chainsaws, power presses and lathes
use hazardous substances, for example chemical manufacture, laboratories, horticulture, petrol stations and food manufacturing
are at risk of falls that could result in serious injury, for example construction and stevedoring
carry out hazardous forms of work, for example, working in confined spaces, welding, demolition, electrical work and abrasive blasting
are exposed to the risk of physical violence, for example working alone at night, cash handling or having customers who are frequently physically aggressive, or
work in or around extreme heat or cold, for example, foundries and prolonged outdoor work in extreme temperatures.
Remote High Risk Workplace – A workplace that satisfies the definitions of being both a remote and a high risk workplace.