You never know what's going to happen at work, especially if you are in an industry such as farming or agriculture where accidents do happen more frequently than in other sectors, so it's important that you have a dedicated first aider or first aid team on site, implement a good emergency preparation process and know what protocols to follow if something does happen.
It may well be worth considering investing in specialist equipment so that you can respond accordingly in an emergency. According to the Walsall Advertiser, a local company have just purchased two automated external defibrillators after two of its employees suffered from heart attacks (although they weren't at work at the time). The company's health and safety committee recommended that the equipment be purchased and kept on site so that they would all be better prepared should it happen again.
"The sudden loss of two members of staff had a huge impact on the workforce and really made us stop and think about whether we could have helped, should those cardiac arrests have happened on site. We knew that there was a golden period where defibrillation could be most effective and we wanted to ensure that anyone going into cardiac arrest on our premises would have the best chance of survival," operations director at the company David Wilson commented.
Mr Wilson went on to say that just after the defibrillators were purchased, one of the night shift staff had a heart attack at work and the first aiders responded quickly with CPR. Because the ambulance arrived so quickly, there was no need for the first aiders to use their new defibrillator – however it provides peace of mind, should any first aid care be needed prior to handover to emergency services.
Defibrillators are used to shock the heart back into a normal rhythm after a heart attack has occurred. When used within four minutes of a cardiac arrest, patient survival rates improve by 50 per cent, the news source continued to note.
All businesses will need to do a first aid needs assessment in order to work out the level of first aid provision required in their particular workplace as part of their responsibilities to protect both their employees and visitors. You are legally required to take precautions in order to reduce foreseeable risks and prove to the Health and Safety Executive that you have done so if requested.
In order to assess whether you need a defibrillator at work, you need to work out the likelihood of an event occurring that would require such equipment to be used and the consequences or severity if this event does actually take place. Consider the number of people passing through your site, their age and the location (as some places are considered to be higher risk than others, such as airports and train stations which are typically busier than other sites).