Are defibrillators mandatory in the workplace Australia
Defibrillators are life-saving medical devices that are used to deliver an electric shock to a person's heart in cases of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). SCA occurs when the heart's electrical system malfunctions, causing the heart to beat irregularly or stop beating altogether. Defibrillators are designed to restore the heart's normal rhythm by delivering a controlled electric shock to the heart.
In Australia, around 30,000 people experience sudden cardiac arrest each year. Shockingly, the incidence of SCA has been on the rise in recent years, with the state of Victoria in particular seeing a significant increase in both the number and rate of sudden cardiac arrests.
According to the Victorian Ambulance Cardiac Arrest Registry (VACAR) Annual Report, there were 6,761 cases recorded in 2019/20, a figure that increased to 6,934 in the following year, and to a record-high of 7,361 incidents in 2021/22. This increase in SCA has raised concerns among the medical community and the public, as the survival rate for sudden cardiac arrest is very low at just 5%.
To improve the chances of survival for those experiencing SCA, the use of defibrillators has become increasingly important. The latest data shows a 30% increase in the number of defibrillators used in Australia, with 107 devices being used in 2021-22, up from 82 the previous year.
The use of public defibrillators has also been shown to increase the chances of survival, with those shocked by a public defibrillator having an impressive 47% survival rate, compared to the 26% survival rate for those who were shocked first by paramedics.
So, the question of whether defibrillators are mandatory in the workplace in Australia is an important one. While there is currently no federal law mandating their use in all workplaces, some industries such as construction and mining may require defibrillators on site. While defibrillators are not mandatory, this blog aims to equip you with the necessary information to make an informed choice about whether acquiring one is suitable for you.
Defibrillators in the Workplace
Benefits of Having Defibrillators in the Workplace
Having defibrillators in the workplace can be the difference between life and death during SCA situations. Defibrillators are user-friendly, safe, and easy to operate. They provide a quick and reliable way to analyze the heart rhythm and determine whether defibrillation is necessary. The presence of defibrillators in the workplace can provide a sense of security to employees and visitors and can be an essential part of a workplace's safety program.
How Defibrillators Can Improve Survival Rates in the Workplace
According to the Heart Foundation, around 20,000 Australians have a sudden heart attack every year, and ensuring quick access to defibrillators is key to improving the 10% survival rate. The combination of CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and defibrillation is the only definitive treatment for sudden cardiac arrest and could increase survival rates by up to 70%.
Defibrillators should be installed everywhere large crowds congregate, including shopping centres, sporting grounds, concert halls, and on public transport. A defibrillator instantly analyzes the heart rhythm and recognises abnormalities, determining whether a shock is required and telling the user what to do through voice commands.
Where Defibrillators Should Be Located in the Workplace
Defibrillators should be located in a prominent, visible, and accessible location in the workplace. They should be easily accessible and within a minute's walk from any point in the workplace.
The location should be marked with clear signage and should be checked regularly to ensure it is in working order. It is recommended that workplaces have at least one defibrillator for every 100 employees. Additionally, employers should provide training for employees on how to use the defibrillator and perform CPR.
The Importance of Workplace Risk Assessments
Workplace risk assessments play a crucial role in ensuring the safety of employees and visitors in any workplace setting. The process involves identifying potential hazards that could cause harm, assessing the likelihood of these hazards occurring and the severity of the consequences, and taking steps to mitigate or eliminate the risks altogether.
By conducting regular risk assessments, employers can identify areas of concern and implement measures to reduce the likelihood of accidents and injuries. This proactive approach helps create a safer work environment, improve productivity, and protect the reputation of the organization.
Risk assessments are particularly important for high-risk workplaces, such as construction sites or industrial settings. However, they are relevant for all businesses, regardless of size or industry. This is because every workplace has its unique hazards that must be identified and mitigated to ensure the safety of all workers.
How risk assessments can inform decisions around implementing defibrillators in the workplace.
A key factor that risk assessments can help inform is the need for defibrillators in the workplace. These medical devices are designed to restore a normal heartbeat to someone experiencing cardiac arrest, a life-threatening condition that can happen suddenly and without warning.
Risk assessments can help identify potential risks that increase the likelihood of cardiac arrest occurring in the workplace. For example, a workplace that involves physically demanding work or where employees may be exposed to chemicals or hazardous materials could increase the risk of cardiac arrest.
Based on the risk assessment findings, the decision to invest in a defibrillator could be made to increase the chances of survival for employees or visitors who experience a cardiac arrest in the workplace.
How much does a defibrillator cost?
When it comes to the cost of defibrillators, the prices can vary depending on several factors such as the brand, model, features, and accessories. In Australia, the prices of defibrillators can range from $1,979.25 to $4,000.
It is essential to note that the initial cost of purchasing a defibrillator may seem expensive, but the potential benefits are worth it.
Moreover, the cost of purchasing a defibrillator is not the only consideration. You must also factor in maintenance and ongoing training costs to ensure the defibrillator is operational and personnel are confident and trained in using the device in the event of an emergency.
Fortunately, many companies that sell defibrillators also offer maintenance and training services. Therefore, it's essential to compare the different options and choose a reputable supplier that offers a complete package that fits your workplace needs.
Where to buy a defibrillator in Australia?
There are a variety of retailers in Australia where you can purchase a defibrillator. You can find them at medical equipment stores, safety equipment providers, and online retailers. An Online retailer like Mega Medical offers a wide range of defibrillators at affordable prices, making it a great option for businesses on a budget. Additionally, retailers provide training and support to ensure your team knows how to use the equipment correctly. It's important to do your research and choose a reliable supplier that provides high-quality equipment and reliable customer service.
In conclusion, while there is no federal law mandating the use of defibrillators in all workplaces in Australia, having defibrillators in the workplace can greatly improve survival rates in the event of a sudden cardiac arrest. Employers should conduct a thorough workplace risk assessment to identify potential hazards and implement measures to mitigate or eliminate them.
Risk assessments can help inform the decision to invest in defibrillators in the workplace, particularly in high-risk workplaces. The cost of a defibrillator is a small price to pay when compared to the value of saving a life. Quick access to defibrillators is crucial to improving survival rates, and every workplace should be properly prepared for an SCA event.