Responding To A Cardiac Arrest Incident In The Workplace
Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is a leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for an estimated 326,000 deaths each year. That's more than lung cancer, breast cancer and HIV/AIDS combined. SCA claims a life every two minutes.
One misconception is that SCA is the same as a heart attack, but it is not. A heart attack is a condition in which the blood supply to the heart is suddenly blocked, resulting in the death of the heart muscle. Symptoms of a heart attack can vary; they may come on suddenly or start slowly and persist for hours, days, or weeks. Heart-attack victims typically experience chest pain, discomfort in the back or jaw, nausea and/or vomiting, and typically remain conscious. Heart attacks are serious and can sometimes lead to SCA; however, SCA may occur independently from a heart attack and without warning signs.
Some recent surveys have revealed a significant lack of training and preparedness for responding to sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) incidents in U.S. workplaces.
A survey commissioned by the American Heart Association concluded that many American workers do not have access to emergency care training, nor do they know the location of their employer’s automated external defibrillator (AED). That knowledge would go a long way towards positively impacting the 10,000 SCA incidents that occur in the workplace each year.
According to a Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation article on the study:
More than half (55 percent) cannot get first aid or CPR+AED training from their employer – and even if employers do offer this training, it’s often either one or the other.
Half of all U.S. workers (50 percent) cannot locate the AED at work. In the hospitality industry, that number rises to two-thirds (66 percent).
A second survey was deployed to a group of “more than 1,000 safety managers in industries regulated by the U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA),” which revealed that:
One-third (33 percent) of safety managers said lives have been saved at home and at the workplace as a result of first aid, CPR and AED training provided at work – and three-quarters (75 percent) said injuries or medical conditions have been treated in the workplace with this training.
More than one-third (36 percent) felt it would be valuable to offer training more frequently than every two years (the current requirement).
Younger generations at OSHA-regulated industries were less likely to participate in first aid, CPR and AED training, although the numbers are still high at over 44 percent.
As part of our mission to “Make the Workplace and Community Safer,” Costello Safety Consulting offers a number of emergency care training solutions to businesses of all sizes. Please visit our CPR & First Aid Training page for more information, and let us help you empower your employees with the skills and confidence they need to respond in a medical emergency.
Interested in taking a class yourself? Call us today, to enroll in our next available class near you.