There are requirements under the Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 for Employers to ensure the provision of adequate and appropriate equipment, facilities and personnel to ensure employees receive immediate attention if they are injured or taken ill at work.
What is “adequate and appropriate” depends on the circumstances in the workplace and this can include whether trained First Aiders are needed, what should be included in a First Aid box and if a First Aid room is required. To determine the exact requirements a first aid needs assessment should be undertaken.
A “First-Aid Needs Assessment” involves a careful consideration of workplace hazards and risks, the size of the organisation and other relevant factors, to determine what First Aid equipment (including a Defibrillator), facilities and personnel should be provided.
A Defibrillator (also known as an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED)) is used to revive someone from sudden cardiac arrest. A cardiac arrest is an "electrical problem" - the person will be unconscious and will benefit from Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and defibrillation. CPR after cardiac arrest can keep blood flowing to the heart and brain for a time.
The AED device can be fully automatic – that requires little or no training to use and guides the operator through the process step by step by voice command.
Once applied the AED then reads the person’s heart rhythm and sends an electrical current to their heart if an electric shock can correct the rhythm. If used within minutes, the jolt can restore the heart to a normal rhythm and possibly save a life.
If defibrillated within the first minute of collapse, the victim's chances for survival are close to 90%.
For every minute that defibrillation is delayed, survival decreases by 7% to 10%. If it is delayed by more than 10 minutes, the chance of survival in adults is less than 5%.
Defibrillators are affordable. There are products available for around £800. Increasingly it will be difficult to defend not having one.
The benefits are enormous. The device can also be registered with your local Ambulance Service so if needed it can be used by people in your vicinity so you can also benefit the community in which you operate.