Everything You Need to Know About AEDs in the Workplace

Everything You Need to Know About AEDs in the Workplace

June 17, 2022

Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is a condition in which the heart suddenly stops beating. Of the 365,000 sudden cardiac arrests that occur in the United States each year, about 10,000 happen in the workplace. When SCA occurs, using an automated external defibrillator (AED) can save thousands of lives – especially when used immediately, before emergency medical system (EMS) professionals arrive. Proper planning, by being equipped with an AED, can improve the outcome of cardiac arrest in the workplace.

Planning for AEDs in the Workplace

Maintenance Plan

To save a life, the AED must be maintained properly. AEDs require monthly maintenance that includes:
• Checking the readiness indicator
• Inspection to ensure the AED is undamaged and ready for use
• Checking for “chirping” or other warning notifications
• Ensuring that the AED rescue kit and electrode pads are available and within their usable dates
• Checking the batteries and ordering new batteries before the last set expires

Emergency Response Plan

An Emergency Response Plan details the exact steps the emergency response team should take if an employee, consultant, or customer has a sudden cardiac arrest in the workplace. The Emergency Response Plan should be written, reviewed annually, if not more often, and made available to all staff. The Emergency Response Plan should include:

• The development of a Cardiac Emergency Response Team
• The steps for activating the Cardiac Emergency Response Team and notification of the local EMS
• AED placement within the place of employment
• AED maintenance schedule
• Cardiac emergency response drills

The plan should clearly state the contact information for the local ambulance service, the location of the AED, storage policies, and protocol for using the AED.

Trained Responders

While anyone in the workplace can use an AED correctly by following the instructions, having a team of trained responders may improve the outcome of the event. Training can help responders:

• Recognize the signs of an SCA
• Notify EMS
• Perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
• Provide early defibrillation with an AED
• Care for the victim until EMS personnel arrive on the scene

Frequently Asked Questions About AEDs in the Workplace

Are AED machines required in the workplace?

There are no federal laws that make AEDs required in workplace settings, but all 50 states have enacted laws or regulations for the devices. While laws and regulations vary from state to state, most legislation addresses the availability of AEDs in public buildings, the conditions of their use, whether medical oversight is necessary, training requirements, and official reporting after the event.

When is an AED required in the workplace?

It depends mainly on the individual state. Many states have proposed or adopted laws that outline AED workplace requirements in places such as health clubs and gyms, school athletic events or settings, and other public spaces.

How many AEDs should my workplace have?

Good outcomes often rely on the amount of time that passes between the SCA and treatment with an AED, often referred to as “drop to shock.” Statistics from the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association show that if someone receives a shock within one minute of their SCA, their chances of survival are 90 percent. Their chances of survival drop 10 percent each minute that goes by without defibrillation. Because time is so precious, AEDs should be accessible within three minutes of all

The number of AEDs in a workplace depends mainly on the shape and configuration of the facility, which can affect drop to shock time. In some workplaces, such as large facilities or buildings with multiple floors or crowded hallways, having just one AED is not enough.

The three-minute test is an excellent way to determine how many AEDs a workplace should have. Simply time how long it takes various members of the response team to retrieve the device from the furthest location within the facility. For the best outcomes possible, they should be able to retrieve and set up the AED within three minutes.

Who should I contact for more information about AEDs in the workplace?

For more information on AEDs in the workplace, consult with the AED professionals at Defibtech. We’re glad to help you find the AED your company needs to help any employee, vendor, or customer who has a sudden cardiac arrest in your place of employment.