People today work 40+ hours per week, meaning they are spending about half of their waking hours at work. Given the total number of hours employees are spending at work, it is inevitable that some of them will experience serious medical problems while at the facility. When this happens, employers have a responsibility to be able to contact the paramedics right away, and to provide the initial care until professionals can arrive. In the event of respiratory or cardiac arrest, it may be necessary to perform CPR or even use an AED.
Providing instruction to employees on how to use an AED, and how to properly perform CPR is essential. Some companies will offer the training to everyone in the facility, and others will only train a select few. The important thing is that there is someone who can respond to emergencies, and help keep the person alive until the paramedics can arrive.
What is CPR?
CPR, or Cardiopulmonary resuscitation, is one of the most commonly seen emergency procedures. It is performed on television all the time, and even in real life it is far more common than most people might think. While it might look easy to perform on TV, the fact is, it needs to be done with proper technique or it can cause a lot of damage. Fortunately, training people to properly perform CPR is fairly simple, and doesn’t take very long.
In many cases a full CPR class can be given in a half of a day, and the employees in the class can become certified to perform this life saving procedure. During the training classes, employees will learn when they should attempt CPR, and how it should be performed. Some interesting things that employees will learn include:
- CPR is done to help push the blood through the body when the heart is not beating. Keeping the blood circulating will prevent damage to the heart, brain and other vital organs.
- Rescue breathes are actually optional. While most people surveyed believe that breathing into the mouth of the victim is the most important part of CPR, it is actually secondary and entirely optional. If only one person is there to perform CPR, they should focus exclusively on the chest compressions in order to keep the blood flowing.
- It typically takes 5-15 compressions to build up the pressure necessary to get the blood flowing effectively. Each time the compressions stop, the pressure needs to be built up again, which is why consistent chest compressions are so important.
- In an ideal situation, the person giving CPR should attempt to do at least 100 compressions per minute. That is just under two per second.
- When done properly, CPR is physically exhausting, which is why it is much better to have two or more people working together.
- When properly performed, the person doing the chest compressions will push the chest in at least two inches deep. This is necessary to ensure enough pressure is applied to the system to keep the blood flowing.
- Ribs are often broken while performing CPR due to the high pressure that is used. This is especially true when performing CPR on the elderly. Even if a rib breaks, it is important to continue the procedure until trained professionals arrive.
Of course, there is a lot more that employees will learn when they take a course on CPR. Most employees will find that the course is very interesting, and informative. Once completed, the employees will be certified to perform this procedure in most situations. These certifications typically come from the American Red Cross, through a licensed trainer. In addition, some employers will also provide a simple training course for employees that will give them an overview on the proper first steps to first aid. Many time employers will show a training DVD (similar to this one) to help train their employees.
What Is AED?
AED, or Automated External Defibrillators, are machines that are used to shock a patient whose heart is approaching arrest due to an arrhythmia. An arrhythmia is a faulty electrical signal being sent to the heart. The AED machine functions in much the same way as the electric panels seen on every medical television show, when they shout “CLEAR” and shock the patient. The big difference, however, is that these machines are automated so there is no complex medical training required in order to use them.
According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute –
[sws_blockquote_endquote align=”” cite=”www.nhlbi.nih.gov – What Is an Automated External Defibrillator?” quotestyle=”style02″]SCA usually causes death if it’s not treated within minutes. In fact, each minute of SCA leads to a 10 percent reduction in survival. Using an AED on a person who is having SCA may save the person’s life.[/sws_blockquote_endquote]
In the AED training class, employees will learn where to apply the pads to the patient. These pads will transmit the electric current to the patient, so it is important that they are placed properly. In addition, the instructor will teach employees when this machine should be used. Once the pads are in place, the AED machine will actually analyze the heartbeat of the person in distress. If the heart is in a state of arrhythmia, the machine will prompt the employee to shock the patient by pressing a button.
Some of the more modern machines can actually perform the shock on their own when necessary. This helps to eliminate user hesitation or other errors. After the shock is delivered, it will reanalyze the patient and determine whether or not it should provide another shock. This cycle continues until the machine is removed by medical professionals.
Lastly, safety wall signs should be installed communicating where the AED machines are located (like this AED safety sign). This will help employees quickly find the machine incase of an emergency.
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CPR & AED Taught Together
It is becoming increasingly common to teach both CPR and AED together in one class. The class can typically be completed in one day, and the certification lasts at least a year. These classes are combined because of the fact that they are so often needed at the same time. When an employee passes out, for example, it is always a good idea to apply the AED machine if there is any indication that the heart may be having problems. Since the AED won’t provide a shock unless it is necessary, this is a great first step.
Whether they need to be shocked or not, however, CPR should be performed right away to keep the blood flowing. If the machine decides it needs to shock the employee, it will notify everyone around to stop CPR and clear the area. Once the shock has been delivered, CPR should resume right away. By teaching the classes together, it is much easier to get good training on how these two techniques are performed together.
Why Facilities Should Teach CPR & AED
While teaching CPR and AED does require an investment for the trainers to come out to the facility, and the employees taking the course will miss a day or more of work, it is well worth it. Employers are responsible for keeping their employees as safe as can reasonably be possible, and having people who can perform these procedures is a big part of that. In addition to simply being the right thing to do, these classes will also show employees that the employer cares about them.
In addition to providing for a safer workplace, having employees trained in CPR and AED can actually reduce some expenses in the facility. Depending on the type of workplace, it may lower the insurance premiums because there will be less risk involved. Providing this type of training can also reduce the likelihood of the facility being held liable if an employee, or their family, attempts to sue for neglect.
In conclusion, there are many different reasons why it makes sense for any company to provide this type of training. In the big scheme of things it is a fairly inexpensive training class, and it can literally save the lives of employees. This is one of the easiest and most effective ways to improve the safety of a facility.