Restart a Heart
is a fact that many construction workers are, by physical
conditioning alone, ill suited to the routine rigors on most
jobsites. Even the
youngest and fittest workers could be at significant cardiac risk
because, while their muscles may be fit, their hearts are not.
Recent studies show that more and more these days, the bodies
beneath those hardhats are getting older. And as a result, our
industry’s overall approach to health and safety needs to get
spite of revamped efforts in recent years to draw younger recruits
into the construction industry, the construction workforce still
is aging more rapidly than it can replenish its ranks. The Bureau
of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that by 2010, U.S. workers aged
45 and older will finally outnumber those below 45. And, as of
2001, there were already nearly 1 million U.S. construction
workers aged 55 or older, according to the BLS.
workers mean greater health problems. A recent study indicates
that construction employs roughly 5% of the U.S. workforce, but
accounts for a disproportionate number of occupational fatalities
– approximately 21%. Typically, our safety efforts tend to focus
on the most prevalent causes of death, namely falls, struck-by,
caught in/between, and electrocution.
accurate is the data on workers who succumb to sudden cardiac
arrest (SCA) resulting from Coronary Heart Disease and heart
attacks. Coronary Heart Disease is the leading cause of death for
adults in the United States and accounts for nearly 500,000 deaths
each year. We also know how to save most SCA victims. One key to
the solution is cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Properly done
it keeps blood and oxygen circulating to vital organs of the human
body and buys time while help is on the way.
The help that is needed is an electrical “jump start”
for the heart, which can be provided by an Automated External
Defibrillator (AED). A person in cardiac arrest needs
defibrillation to restore the heart’s normal rhythm. A person has the best chance of surviving cardiac arrest if a
bystander does CPR and uses an AED within several minutes of the
cardiac arrest. Statistics
have shown that immediate treatment of a sudden cardiac arrest
victim with a defibrillator gives the victim better than a 90%
survival rate. For every minute that elapses without
defibrillation, nearly 10% fewer survive, and after 10 minutes,
survival rates plummet.
Safety Solutions supports the placement of Automated External
Defibrillators (AEDs) in every contractor’s office and jobsite
around the country. These units are a small investment with almost
guaranteed rewards, even if it’s only in the peace of mind of
knowing that they’re nearby.
the benefits of AEDs are usually much more tangible. AEDs are
being placed in many public places such as shopping centers,
malls, airports, stadiums, and convention centers so that SCA
sufferers would never be more than a minute away from such a
device. Pleasingly, I
read a testimonial to an online survey conducted by The
International Risk Management Institute (IRMI) where readers were
asked to share their experiences with AEDs:
I joined Plaza Construction (in 1998) as the company safety
director, I was determined to get a defibrillator program in use
at our office. The first year an AED was purchased, only a few
employees were interested and had no real drive for the program.
Everything changed last May when a Laborer was in the
office and collapsed with sudden cardiac arrest. We saved a life
that day, and this one use stimulated all of our employees to get
involved. We now have 95 employees trained in American Red Cross
CPR with the AED training. Plaza
is the first construction company in New York to have on its
construction site (as a pilot program) an AED machine. All Plaza
Construction staff members on the job site are trained to use this
life saving equipment in the event of a sudden cardiac arrest.
Ellen Sacchetti, VP, Safety Director,
Construction, New York
just read that Plaza Construction now has two units in their main
office, and three more on different jobsites, Ms. Sacchetti, also
indicated that two other large New York contractors have talked to
her about possibly outfitting their own operations with AEDs.
you don’t have to be a medical professional or an EMT to use an
AED. Once applied to a victim, an AED analyzes the heart’s
rhythm and if necessary, tells the responder to deliver a shock to
a victim of cardiac arrest, a pre-recorded voice warns all to
stand “CLEAR” while the shock is delivered. It then gives
further step-by-step instructions to the responder.
Safety Solutions is an authorized provider of the American Red Cross
Lay Responder First Aid CPR/AED
the concern that is most often raised by contractors about the use
of AEDs is that of liability. But case law has consistently held
that Good Samaritan laws give legal protection to people who
gratuitously provide emergency care to ill or injured persons. So,
what are you waiting for? The life you save could be your own.
more information on this topic, feel free to contact Thomas Safety
Solutions, or visit www.ThomasSafetySolutions.com
and click on “Training.”