Every working environment holds risks for both employees and employers. However, some employers, in various industries including construction, often overlook some of the most important health and safety aspects, including AEDs.
As we delved further to learn why there was resistance against accessible AEDs in these particular locations, we discovered employers were averse to these potentially life-saving units for the following reasons:
- Lack of knowledge of AEDs
- Fear of malpractice
- Fear of legal action
The construction industry offers a wide range of intense working conditions for their employees including high-noise levels as well as multiple risk factors from operating large machinery and working from heights. This type of high-pressured working environment puts workers at risk of sudden cardiac arrest which is why access to an AED is vital to provide immediate treatment on-site. Having an AED available in this sector rather than waiting for EMS arrival can close the time between collapse and defibrillation which can make a life-saving difference, rather than waiting for emergency services who may find it difficult to access the construction premises.
An unavoidable risk factor
When it comes to SCA, everyone is at risk. Regardless of your health level, heart condition or otherwise, anyone can suffer a cardiac arrest at any given time which is why a raised awareness is vital for increased survival.
As one of the most physically demanding industries, employees working within the construction industry can expect high-intense labouring work at least 5 days a week, putting workers under more physical strain in comparison to those working in locations such as offices and supermarkets which are a lower-risk environment.
Intense-physical demand not only affects the muscles, but also impacts the heart which works harder in order to keep up with the heavy activity. It is this strain which, as a result of over-working the heart, could potentially prompt a cardiac arrest.
Construction sites can commonly span across large areas of land with some even covering 1000ft². These sites are also heavily secure to prevent unauthorized access, making the area incredibly inaccessible for anyone aside from employers and employees working on the site.
Due to its inaccessibility, it is these types of locations which vitally require AED access. In the event of a sudden cardiac arrest, chances of survival drop by 10% with every passing minute. If your working environment just so happens to be on an oil rig or on a high-rise building, this reduces the chances of quick arrival greatly from the EMS, leaving the victim with an affected chance of survival.
Currently, over 350,000 cardiac arrests occur outside of a hospital environment in the US every year. Almost 90% of these victims will die due to a lack of AED and CPR at the time of collapse; successful resuscitation can only be achieved if both aspects of the definitive treatment are delivered.
For the highest chances of survival, CPR must delivered on a ratio of 30 chest compressions to 2 rescue breaths and defibrillation from an AED. The shock from the AED stops the heart, allowing the patient’s natural pacemaker to take over and restart the heart in its regular rhythm.
Chances of survival can increase from 6% to 74% if delivered within the first 3-5 minutes of victim collapse and can reach over 90% if delivered within the first 60 seconds.
You have your hard hats, but where’s your AED at?
Hard hats and high visibility wear are just two of the safety requirements for working on a construction site; but while these measures keep workers safe and seen by others, what about the parts of them you can’t see? The heart is our most vital organ, so why aren’t more construction sites protecting their workers with an accessible AED unit?
A company’s employees are its greatest asset, which is why investment in their safety is essential to protect their well-being and their lives should a cardiac arrest occur on site.
We have a range of high IP rated AEDs available on our site, designed to fit into intense environments such as construction sites. Browse them or contact the defibshop team at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.