Simple way businesses can improve safety in 2019

The new year brings fresh opportunities to tackle new business objectives. If you’re like most local companies, you may have already established your sales, profitability, and operations goals for the year — but do you have your workplace safety goals in place?

I want to challenge all businesses to take one step toward a safer environment for employees, customers, and office visitors, and consider obtaining a life-saving tool with a three-letter abbreviation that’s easy to remember: AED.

What’s an AED? It stands for automated external defibrillator. You may have heard of these devices as they’re making appearances in public places like schools, sports and entertainment venues, malls, churches, and shopping centers. They’ve become more prevalent because they can treat something that comes with another important abbreviation to know: SCA, or sudden cardiac arrest, an often fatal condition that relies on quick action for survival.

An SCA is essentially an “electrical problem” that suddenly causes the heart to stop beating regularly and start fluttering rapidly. There are often no warning signs, and most victims do not survive without immediate intervention. Consider these startling national facts about SCA to illustrate its severity:

  • There are 350,000 incidences of SCA each year;
  • Nine out of 10 SCA victims die; and
  • SCA is the third leading cause of death in the U.S.

AED devices work by sending a shock to stop the chaotic electrical activity in an SCA victim’s heart and allow its sinus node (the heart’s natural pacemaker) to resume a normal electrical impulse. Most models are designed specifically for laypersons — people like you and me — giving each one of us the power to potentially save a life, even at the office. If a bystander intervenes during an SCA event by immediately calling 911, starting CPR, and using an AED, the victim’s survival rate doubles or even triples. Imagine if that victim was your co-worker or client. If you’re like me, you’d want to do anything you could to help.

So, why are AEDs not in more offices and commercial spaces? It’s a great question, and I don’t have the answer. It’s certainly not because they’re hard to use. Many devices are now designed to provide visual and voice prompts so that anyone (and I mean anyone) can use them. It’s not that they’re too expensive either. The investment is quite reasonable, especially when you consider the value of an unnecessarily lost life.

In 2019, consider giving your staff, clients, and visitors peace of mind knowing that on-site medical help is available should a cardiac emergency arise at work. It is one of the easiest — and most meaningful — ways to invest in the health, safety, and welfare of those who walk your halls.

It may even help save a life — perhaps your own.

Rose Molz is president of EZ Office Products.

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