A medical emergency can happen anywhere, and that includes the office. Of course, nobody expects to walk into work Monday morning only to witness a co-worker having a heart attack or choking on their breakfast, but the reality is that occurrences like these are not as uncommon as you may think. Make sure that your office is equipped with the right tools and that your employees are properly trained on what to do in the event of a medical emergency by following these guidelines.


Offer CPR Training

One of the easiest ways you can keep your staff prepared for a medical emergency is to offer cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) classes. These classes often involve outside studying and a one-time class that employees can take to become certified to give CPR in the event someone in the office has a heart attack. When the heart stops, the lack of oxygenated blood can cause brain damage in mere minutes. Performing CPR can mean the difference between life and death, as it will help keep the individual alive while waiting for professional medical help to arrive.


Not everyone in the office needs to be trained in CPR, but at least a few employees per floor in your office building should be trained to respond to a cardiac emergency, and those who are not trained in CPR should know who is certified to perform it so that they can be reached at any moment. In addition, make sure that every employee knows where to find an automated external defibrillator (AED) in your workplace. This includes individuals who are not trained in CPR, since it is typically someone who is not performing the CPR who needs to go fetch the AED. CPR certification typically includes learning the Heimlich Maneuver as well.


First Aid Training

For non-cardiac injuries, basic first aid should be provided by a trained individual. First aid kits should be readily available, and every employee should know where to find a first aid kit if the need for one should arise. The ANSI Z308.1-2009 standard specifies what items office first aid kits should include, so be sure to assign someone to the task of regularly taking inventory so ensure the first aid kit is properly stocked and up-to-date. OSHA recommends that first aid training prepare providers to assess injury to determine the general safety of the scene, the sequence of the accident causing the injury, the estimate of how many individuals were injured, the identification of people able to help, an assessment of the individual and a secondary assessment of the injuries. If you are unsure whether an injury is severe enough to warrant an emergency phone call, call 9-1-1 anyway. When it comes to a medical emergency, time is of the essence and it’s always better to be safe than sorry.


Circulate a List of Nearby Treatment Facilities

If you work in an environment where life threatening situations such as electrocution are more likely to occur, OSHA standards require treatment facilities to be within 5 minutes from the facility. If you work in an office that is less prone to these types of incidents, a treatment facility should exist within 15 minutes of the location. Phone numbers for the nearest medical facilities and ambulance services should be kept nearby and at the ready. Be sure to include safety procedures in your business’s employee manual and to remind employees of these procedures often.


Remember, the best way to respond to a medical emergency is before the emergency happens. Protect every employee by being safe and keeping everyone prepared.


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