Defibrillators in the Workplace

Do we really need a defib in the office/workplace?

Statistically 5% of all Sudden Cardiac Arrests (SCA’s) will occur in the workplace – 100 people every week in the UK alone!

Whilst there is no specific legal requirement for employers to provide defibrillators in the workplace there is an increasing likelihood that this may soon change.

In their most recent guidelines (2015) relating to the use of Automated External Defibrillators (AED’s) in an out of the hospital environment, the Resuscitation Council states:

“The Resuscitation Council (UK) strongly suggests a policy of early attempted defibrillation”

The guidelines also point out that with every minute of delay from the onset of Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) to defibrillation; the chances of survival diminish by 10%. After 10 minutes the chances of survival are almost zero. For optimum survival rates as part of the chain of survival, defibrillation should occur within the first 4-6 minutes following a SCA, after this time brain damage begins to occur.

With the average response time of emergency services in the UK being 10 minutes, the big question is:

Where is your nearest AED?

Can you afford to be without one?

Most objections to purchasing an AED seem to be financial.

Not unlike a sprinkler system in a building or a fire extinguisher, the defibrillator provides extreme value in a critical moment. Consider the key employees in your organization – how many are over the age of 45? How would your company be impacted if they died tomorrow at work? How much time and money would be spent in locating a replacement? How would productivity be affected by the loss a critical teammate? How will management be perceived by deciding not to invest in a device that costs less than a laptop computer, a device that could have saved an employee’s life?

Unfortunately many purchasers of AED’s have already had a workplace event that moves them to see the need and value in having these units available. It is human nature to base our assessment of value and risk on our experience. If your workplace has never had a cardiac arrest event, the perception may be that the unit may not be used or needed. Unfortunately, this method of risk assessment¬†is flawed.

Does SCA really happen in the workplace?

Yes – sudden cardiac arrest can strike virtually anyone – man or woman, young or old – anywhere, anytime and often without warning. In fact, 13 percent of workplace fatalities are from sudden cardiac arrest.

Many factors in the workplace can increase the risk of SCA or limit the timely delivery of potentially lifesaving defibrillation therapy:

  • An ageing work force, particularly in industrial companies;
  • Work sites with high voltage equipment;
  • Urban locations, which may be difficult for emergency responders to reach due to the need to negotiate traffic, staircases, elevators, escalators or crowds of people;
  • Industrial campuses that may have tight security controls or spread out facilities;
  • Relatively remote locations, which may result in longer response times by emergency medical services.

If an SCA occurs at work, isn’t it the responsibility of the emergency services?

Helping to save lives is a shared responsibility. A corporation’s “in-house” emergency response program should complement, not replace, the existing first aid procedure. Working in partnership with EMS, a company’s first responders can help keep a victim alive for EMS personnel to treat when they arrive. Training employees in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and the use of AEDs can minimize time-to-defibrillation when every minute counts. For the best chance of survival, a shock to the heart should be delivered within the first 4-6 minutes. The likelihood of successful resuscitation decreases by approximately 10 percent with every minute that passes. After 10 minutes without defibrillation, few attempts at resuscitation are successful. Sadly, the average response time for emergency medical services in a typical community is greater than 10 minutes. AEDs can be strategically placed within a workplace, similar to the convenience of fire extinguishers, so that responders have immediate access to this potentially lifesaving equipment.

Why should my company purchase a defibrillator?

The person that collapses in the work place is most likely to be a witnessed arrest. In this case early defibrillation would increase survival rates from less than 5% to more than 50%.

Discounts are available for multiple AED purchases and training.

For further details of our packages for the workplace, please email: or call us on 0800 634 9745.

The life saved could be yours!