Health and Safety Law: Automated External Defibrillators (AED)

Health and Safety Lawaed
As of January 2017, there is currently no legal obligation that an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) unit should be made available within the workplace. Despite the lack of health and safety laws on making AED units available, workplaces and employers should not immediately discard investing in one – they really can save lives.
AED units retail around the £1000 mark, depending on the manufacturer and accessories included. This may sound like a steep figure at first, however it’s worth drawing conclusions on recent court cases in America, that caused fierce debate as to whether retailers and workplaces should have one available at all times.
There are many compelling arguments that AED units should be compulsory within the workplace. These key arguments are outlined below:
1. Your workplace risk assessment should form part of your decision to purchase and you should ask the following questions;
• Do you deal with members of the public?
• Does this increase the number of people on your site?
• Is there great distance to emergency services? If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, think carefully about the reasons not to ensure you have a unit in place.
2. The facts about the use of AED units on casualties are irrefutable. For every minute that passes without defibrillation the chance of survival reduces by 14%! This figure is published by the British Heart Foundation.
3. AED units are extremely sophisticated. Simple voice prompts tell the user what to do. The
unit will not shock a casualty unless a shock is required. The risk of incorrectly using a unit is minimal to non-existent.
4. AED units tend to come with long warranties, up to 8 years on some units. They also self- check, meaning if any maintenance is required, it will be indicated by the unit and is straight forward. Usually after the initial purchase the cost of owning an AED unit is minimal.
5. AED units can be used by untrained individuals, not just trained First Aiders. However, training can be provided for non-first aiders to increase the number of people that would have the confidence to pick up a unit in an emergency. Safety First Aid Training are strong advocates of having AED units in the workplace. We provide training as part of our First Aid Courses and specialist Defibrillator Training Courses.
The on-going commitment to having one installed is low. As more instances emerge every week of the successful treatment, it is getting harder to justify a decision not to have one in place.