Workplace Cardiac Arrest: More Common Than You Think
Watching Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin go into cardiac arrest during a recent Monday night football game sent shockwaves across the country.
The young football player is also becoming an inspiration as we learn of his recovery.
Unfortunately, types of traumatic events are not rare.
The National Safety Council reports approximately 10,000 cardiac-related events occur annually on the job.
For employers, the challenge becomes how to prepare.
There are safety standards in place to help employers respond to these emergency situations.
If there is no clinic or hospital within three to four minutes of a workplace, OSHA’s First Aid Standard (29 CFR 1910.151) requires employers to have trained first aid providers at the workplace.
In specific industries such as construction, logging, or electric power, employers must abide by additional training standards.
Regardless of the industry or injury, ultimately an employer must be able to ensure prompt first aid treatment to an employee.
The time it takes for an employer to respond to an emergency situation is crucial.
Safety Priority Consultants president and prominent OSHA trainer Chip Darius said “early access to 911, early CPR, early defibrillation, early advanced cardiac life support, and hospital care after resuscitation are vital” in these circumstances when a traumatic event such as cardiac arrest occurs.
In addition to trained first aid providers at the facility or nearby, employers should have first aid supplies on site.
These supplies may differ based on the industry because they should reflect the kind of injuries that can occur.
The supplies should also be stored in an area where they are clearly marked and readily available for emergency access.
In the case of cardiac arrest, automatic external defibrillators can be a vital piece of equipment.
“A cardiac arrest victim in the workplace has the best chance for survival when the employer has planned, provided equipment, trained staff, and practiced,” Darius said.
He said the following steps should happen immediately:
- Recognize the medical emergency
- Call 911
- Give effective CPR
- Follow the dispatcher’s instructions
- Apply and AED and do what the device tells you to do
- Direct first responders to the patient
“The patient then needs access to an ambulance, an advanced life support paramedic, transport to a hospital, quality cardiac care in hospital, and cardiac rehab,” Darius said.
A patient can have a 60% survival rate with the proper use of an AED.
Employers who have an AED on hand or are considering purchasing one should note the need for physician oversight, regulatory compliance, coordination with local emergency medical services, a quality assurance program, and a periodic review process.
The decision to acquire an AED should be made in the context of a company’s overall first aid needs.
Many employers choose to hold training sessions for employees related to AED and CPR. These should be done periodically.
Studies show the retention rate of these skills are six to 12 months because they are used infrequently.
A good first aid training program should include an overview of emergency response issues (including the isolation of blood-borne pathogens), situational awareness, and responses to life threatening and non-life threatening emergencies.
EXPLORE BY CATEGORY
Stay Connected with CBIA News Digests
The latest news and information delivered directly to your inbox.