WorkSafe Victoria releases guidance on AED use

Tuesday, 09 July, 2019

WorkSafe Victoria releases guidance on AED use

WorkSafe Victoria has released new guidance on the use of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in the workplace to empower workers to use the device during a cardiac arrest crisis.

According to WorkSafe Victoria, a cardiac arrest is when a person’s heart suddenly stops pumping and can happen to anyone regardless of age or health. It is treated with cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or defibrillation using AEDs.

AEDs send a measured electric shock through a person’s heart, with the aim of returning the heart to its regular rhythm once electrical activity resumes. They will not administer a shock to a person’s heart if it is not necessary and the latest AEDs guide operators on their proper use via voice prompts and pictures.

As a result, workers can safely help someone suffering cardiac arrest, knowing that they cannot cause any more harm to the patient, but may save their life.

WorkSafe Victoria’s Health and Safety Executive Director, Julie Nielsen, urged employers to consider installing an AED as a risk control measure.

“Very few people survive a cardiac arrest without swift assistance and the use of an AED might be the difference between life and death,” Nielsen said. “Anyone can use an AED. You do not need specialised training, but you do need access to one to save a life.”

Ambulance Victoria attended 6434 cardiac arrests in 2017–18 and 82 of those patients were successfully defibrillated with a publicly available AED. Currently around 19,000 AEDs are installed in locations across Victoria, but many workplaces still do not have the device, WorkSafe Victoria said.

To help employers effectively install AEDs in their workplace, WorkSafe Victoria suggests:

  • putting the AEDs in a well-known, accessible and visible location;
  • ensuring they are properly set up and ready to use;
  • registering AEDs with Ambulance Victoria to enhance ease of access;
  • demonstrating use of AEDs to staff;
  • performing routine maintenance on the device.

Workers and employers can find the guidance via WorkSafe Victoria’s website.

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