Calls for more life-saving defibrillators in the workplace

BY Australian Retailers Association
22 July 2019

WorkSafe is urging employers to consider installing a life-saving defibrillator at their workplace.

New guidance on the use of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in the workplace has been published on the WorkSafe website to help promote safer workplaces. WorkSafe's guidance states that, anyone with access to an automated external defibrillator (AED) can safely step in to handle a cardiac arrest crisis, knowing they cannot cause greater harm to the patient but may save their life.

WorkSafe Health and Safety Executive Director Julie Nielsen urged all employers to think about how likely it was that someone will suffer a cardiac arrest in their workplace.

"Very few people survive a cardiac arrest without swift assistance and the use of an AED might be the difference between life and death," Ms Nielsen said.

"Anyone can use an AED. You do not need specialised training, but you do need access to one to save a life."

An estimated 19,000 AEDs are now installed in locations across Victoria, but many workplaces still do not have this life-saving device. Ambulance Victoria attended 6434 cardiac arrests in 2017-18 and, of those, 82 patients were successfully defibrillated with a publicly available AED.

Death from cardiac arrest will happen within minutes if a person is not treated and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and defibrillation are proven methods to restart a heart that stopped.

The latest AEDs use voice prompts and pictures to guide the operator on how to use them and when to stop, and even when to restart CPR.

Under Occupational Health and Safety legislation, employers have a responsibility to provide a safe and healthy environment for their workers. WorkSafe wants all employers to consider whether having an AED would boost the welfare of their workers.

Tips for installing AEDs at a worksite:

  • Locate AEDs in well known, visible and accessible locations.
  • Ensure AEDs are properly set up and ready to use.
  • Do not keep AEDs locked away.
  • Register AEDs with Ambulance Victoria to enhance ease of access.
  • Demonstrate the use of AEDs to staff so they know how simple the process is.
  • Undertake routine maintenance checks.

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Australian Retailers Association

Founded in 1903, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is Australia’s largest retail association representing Australia’s $310 billion sector, which employs more than 1.2 million people. As the retail industry’s peak representative body, the ARA works to ensure retail success by informing, protecting, advocating, educating and saving money for its 7,500 independent and national retail members throughout Australia. For more information, visit or call 1300 368 041.

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