Construction workers are often faced with a multitude of dangers at work, from the risk of electrical hazards to excavation and trenching accidents.
The increased risk of injury associated with construction jobs means that more protection should be offered to employees. This should include access to automated external defibrillators (AEDs) on all construction sites.
If a person suffers a Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) on a construction site, every second there is a delay in treatment reduces their chance of survival. SCA survival rates outside of hospitals are currently less than 8.6 per cent, but the use of a defibrillator within three to five minutes of the SCA can increase the patient’s survival chance to over 74 per cent.
What are defibrillators and AEDs?
An AED, or automated external defibrillator, is a portable device that can be used on anyone over the age of one who has suffered an SCA. It is used to stabilise an irregular heartbeat by administering an electric shock. The great thing about AEDs is that you don’t have to have any formal training to use them.
Why do construction sites need an AED?
The construction industry has a large workforce that regularly complete physical labour, so there is a risk of SCAs amongst employees, yet many construction sites in the UK still do not have a defibrillator.
Construction sites are often in hard to access areas, from the top of very tall buildings to vast spaces, and even sometimes underground. This means that when a construction worker suffers from an SCA, it could potentially be time consuming and tricky for paramedics to access them.
If a construction site is equipped with a portable AED, anyone onsite would be able to use it to monitor the patient's heart rhythm and offer a shock if needed, even if they have not had any formal training. The patient would then have a much higher chance of survival while waiting for paramedics to arrive.
Any defibrillator will need to be portable to be used over distances that construction sites can cross. It should also be paramount that all employees know where the AED is stored and how to access it, so it doesn’t become a ‘wall ornament’ that is ignored or forgotten about in life threatening situations.
Should my company purchase an AED?
Employers in heavy industry, mining and construction industries understand how high risk these jobs can be, and are aware of the huge benefits of risk assessment to protect their most valuable assets; their employees.
All employers want to better protect their employees, and the importance of access to an AED is incredibly important in manual and high-risk jobs, like construction work. Without immediate treatment, 90-95 per cent of SCA victims will die. The decision to purchase an AED for your workplace cannot be underestimated; it can potentially be lifesaving.