An automatic external defibrillator (AED) can save lives.
AEDs provide access to life-saving care at your business, event, or public gathering and can be used by team members without the need for a medical degree. Unfortunately, many misconceptions about AED management often prevent people from installing or learning how to use one. It’s time to address these issues to make you and your employees or residents more comfortable with AED use.
Myth #1 – AEDs Are Hard To Use
Modern technology is pretty amazing, and that’s true when it comes to modern defibrillation devices. Instead of wading through a large instruction book to learn how to operate an AED in times of emergency, the staff is trained upon device installation in AED management. Even an untrained person could manage to use an AED, the technology is that user-friendly. Upon powering on an AED, the device itself provides walk-through instructions from start to finish. It’s virtually foolproof.
Myth #2 – I Will Be Held Liable If Something Happens
While it is a litigation-happy world, it is a myth that providing AED resuscitation assistance to a person will put you at risk for a lawsuit. Good Samaritan laws were put in place to offer just this kind of protection, prompting bystanders to take action that can greatly reduce further injury and even death. Since only 8% of patients survive out-of-hospital cardiac incidents, defibrillation is encouraged. All jurisdictions in the United States provide some level of immunity to AED users, 60% require public access defibrillation maintenance, 59% require emergency medical service notification, 55% impose training requirements, and 41% require medical oversight. Understand more with PlusTrac’s resource on AED Laws now.
Myth #3 – You’re Going To Shock Someone That Doesn’t Need It
In the year 2019 — this just can’t happen. Modern safety checks are built into each AED so that you can’t shock someone you’re not supposed to. Every AED analyzes the patient and looks for two specific rhythms indicating cardiac distress, the AED will only shock if the rhythm is found. Accidental shocking is now only part of Hollywood entertainment.
Myth #4 – Emergency Services Will Be Slower If We Have an AED
This myth is simply false. Emergency responders do not delay service based on AED presence. In fact, a registered AED can provide 9-11 responders additional resources to support you over the phone while you’re waiting for help to arrive. Operators can help you locate registered devices by guiding you through your building, and even help dispatch a volunteer responder if there is one nearby. This emergency treatment may help you buy the minutes needed to stabilize an injury while waiting for that ambulance to arrive.
Myth #5 – AEDs Are Expensive Equipment For a Very Rare Occurrence
Sudden cardiac arrest is a lot more common than most people think. Over 320,000 people experience these events outside a hospital each year, with very low survival rates. In a situation where every second count, AEDs can buy life-saving time. And this life-saving technology is affordable. Over a ten-year period, the average AED will cost about only about $130-$300 per year to own, as technology advances costs continue to improve for the value of what you purchase.
Don’t let the myths and misconceptions about AEDs prevent you from offering this safety net to your employees.
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Follow these tips to create and maintain a strong safety culture that engages employees as part of the process.
It’s easy to turn a blind eye to safety when working in fast-paced environments and having to meet project deadlines. However, most manufacturing employers can attest to the turbulent outcomes that can arise if safety standards are not regularly enforced. Our everyday actions can have an impact on cost and productivity. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2,000 eye injuries occur every day in the workplace, costing more than $300 million in lost production time, medical expenses and worker compensation.
It’s clear that many companies are failing workers with insufficient safety programs and injury prevention plans. However, employers have the opportunity to turn this situation around with a few changes. Protecting employees doesn’t mean your organization has to start from square one. It does, however, require you to create a strong safety culture and open communication channels so employees can collaborate when it comes to hazard identification and problem-solving.
Here are five tips that operations managers, site managers, and safety coaches can use to start that dialogue:
1. Start from the top. Developing a healthy safety culture requires leadership to champion safety as a key organizational value. The company culture must include leading, working, and acting safely. When management leads in safety, the organization will follow.
2. Distribute safety surveys. When executing on your safety culture, it’s important to first find out what your employees know about your safety guidelines and expectations. Are they familiar with your corporate policies and procedures? Do they even know their own responsibilities when it comes to safety? This survey also serves as a great opportunity to get anonymous feedback on employees’ perceptions about safety in your workplace.
3. Conduct pre-shift huddles. This is a time when management can reinforce the safety culture by covering near-injury misses, newly identified hazards and educating staff on how proper processes and equipment handling can protect everyone’s health and safety. The goal of safety huddles is to also provide an open, non-punitive forum for employees to communicate about workplace safety.
4. One-on-one discussions. Supervisors can build trust and show respect for their workers’ safety by engaging associates in informal safety discussions. Associates who know that their opinions and perspectives are valued will be more likely to participate in informal communication about safety practices. This is also an ideal setting to gain feedback from employees who may not be comfortable bringing up concerns in front of a large group.
5. Perform ongoing safety training. Providing safety training for employees is essential for creating a culture of workplace safety. A workforce with a strong understanding of safety guidelines and best practices is more likely to recognize potential hazards before they occur. This can lead to fewer injuries and help you avoid costly losses in productivity and employee morale.
Some of the benefits of a safer and more engaged workforce include:
● reduced workers’ compensation costs, lower medical expenses and improved productivity.
● improved safety as a result of clear and repeatable processes for identifying and addressing hazards and injury threats.
● stronger employer branding and positive outside perspective of the organization.
Impact on Employer Branding
Workplace safety should begin and end not only with workers in mind but with workers being engaged—actively participating and driving safety programs forward. High levels of employee engagement have also been correlated with greater productivity, quality, and profitability, as well as reduced turnover rates. It can also contribute to improved employee retention, and it even has the ability to impact recruiting, since job seekers will be able to learn about your culture of safety through online reviews. In today’s world, job seekers look to current and former employees’ experience to decide whether or not they want to work for a company.
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“Every Second Counts: Plan Two Ways Out” calls all of us to be aware of fire safety measures in the home.
According to the NFPA, “the synthetic fibers used in modern home furnishings, along with the fact that newer homes tend to be built with more open spaces and unprotected lightweight construction, all contribute to an increased rate at which fire burns.”
There are a variety of ways to take steps to make sure your home is fire safe, including:
- Draw a map of your home with all members of your household, marking two exits from each room and a path to the outside from each exit.
- Practice your home fire drill twice a year. Conduct one at night and one during the day with everyone in your home, and practice using different ways out.
- Teach children how to escape on their own in case you can’t help them.
- Make sure the number of your home is clearly marked and easy for the fire department to find.
- Close doors behind you as you leave – this may slow the spread of smoke, heat, and fire.
- Once you get outside, stay outside. Never go back inside a burning building.
Fire safety is important for everyone, especially for educators who interact with children on a daily basis. It is important for children to understand the dangers of fires, and to work with their family to devise a plan of escape. The NFPA website has many educational resources for schools including a fire prevention week banner, a coloring sheet, and a video series with Sparky the dog.
Check out the NFPA website where you will find fast facts about fires, a fire prevention week quiz, and can live chat with someone from the association to ask questions. Encourage your friends, family, and neighbors to take the quiz to test their knowledge on the danger of fires today. Ensure that the smoke alarms in your home function properly. If you do not have smoke alarms, install them as soon as possible.
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CPR/First Aid Training – Corporate and Group Classes
UniFirst First Aid + Safety offers weekly CPR classes for companies and groups, UniFirst First Aid + Safety’s CPR, AED and First Aid training program will help employers meet OSHA and other federal and state regulatory requirements for training employees how to respond and care for medical emergencies at work.
This 2-year certification course conforms to the latest AHA Guidelines Update for CPR and ECC, and the latest AHA and ARC Guidelines Update for First Aid.
Looking for a Team Building opportunity? Learn to save a life while providing a great team-building exercise.
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Using a fire extinguisher in the workplace
According to OSHA, the most common emergency small businesses must plan for is a fire. Fire extinguishers can be invaluable tools to help fight smaller fires in the workplace or to protect evacuation routes in the event of a larger one.
OSHA requires employers to thoroughly train workers not only how to use an extinguisher properly, but also how to accurately assess a situation and determine when evacuation is the safest course of action. OSHA requires employees to be trained in fire extinguisher use on an annual basis, at a minimum.
A simple 4 step fire extinguisher training technique to use with employees is the PASS method:
Pull the pin on the extinguisher
Aim the hose nozzle low toward the base of the fire
Squeeze the handle to release the extinguishing agent.
Sweep the nozzle from side to side at the base of the flames until extinguished
Knowing how to operate the extinguisher is not the end of training. Employee responders to fire also should be trained to adhere to the following protocol:
- If appropriate, sound the fire alarm or call the fire department immediately.
- Before approaching the fire, determine an evacuation route safe of flames, excessive heat, and smoke. Do not allow this evacuation route to become blocked.
- Use the PASS technique for discharging an extinguisher and back away from the area if the fire flares up again.
- If the extinguisher is empty and the fire is not out, evacuate immediately.
- If the fire grows beyond what can be safely handled, evacuate immediately.
Fire extinguishers are meant to handle only small fires. If a fire becomes too large or the environment becomes too dangerous, employees should know when and how to evacuate the area. If any of the following conditions are present, workers should follow evacuation procedures immediately and should not attempt to fight the fire with an extinguisher:
The fire is too large. The fire involves flammable solvents, is partially hidden behind a wall or ceiling, cannot be reached from a standing position, or covers more than 60 square feet in area.
The air is unsafe to breathe. Levels of smoke make the fire impossible to fight without some form of respiratory protection.
The environment is too hot or smoky. Radiated heat is easily felt, making it hard to approach a fire within adequate range of using the extinguisher (about 10-15 feet). It is necessary to crawl on the floor to avoid heat or smoke. Visibility is poor.
Evacuation paths are impaired. The fire is not contained and heat, smoke or flames block potential evacuation routes.
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OSHA reg 1910.157 states annual training is required for employees who may use fire extinguishers at the workplace. But what’s the safest and best way to train your employees?
Many safety officers have come to us with challenges that prevented them from conducting live-fire training. They have out-of-date training structures or equipment that don’t comply with environmental, state, local, and national regulations. We have a great solution – Digital Fire Technology.
UniFirst First Aid + Safety utilizes the latest in Fire Safety Training technology which allows trainees realistic hands-on training when or where live fire isn’t possible. It provides comprehensive hands-on training using realistic, self-generating digital flames that respond directly to the trainee’s actions.
Challenge your employees to fight digital flames for realistic and intense hands-on training. Trainees can experience and interact with digital flames while focusing on suppression and water application. Practice varying stream patterns and water placement while properly advancing a charged line.
Call 800.869.6970 to schedule your fire safety training
“The basic guideline for most people is that if you are doing continuous exercise for 60 minutes or less, then water is fine.” Says Suzanne Gerard Eberle, sport’s dietitian and author of Endurance Sports Nutrition.
This is because sports drinks include electrolytes (which help regulate nerves and muscles), carbohydrates (which help restore the body’s glycogen — or fuel — levels) and water (which helps hydrate).1
Because of this, electrolyte drinks do more to restore virtual nutrients of a longer period of time while working or exercising. This allows your body to stay at peak performance during strenuous activities.
Every second you work or exercise, you are losing important fluids and nutrients that keep your body at full capacity. Hydration is your body’s ability to manage this loss and return to its prime working condition. But this is what you really need to remember. When you’re hydrated, the fluid level in your body is exactly where it should be, in balance. When you’re dehydrated, your fluid level is off, out of balance. Hydrating in hot and cold conditions is critical to maintaining balance for performing well at work.
So how does your body get in balance? With a lot of help from your brain. The process is called homeostasis. Here’s how it works. Your body has a special receptor that detects any changes that happen inside of you. When you lose fluids, this receptor notifies the hypothalamus in your brain, which regulates your body’s temperature. Your hypothalamus takes it from there to carry out homeostasis and put your body back in balance. It does this by increasing the blood flow to your skin surface, triggering sweating and thirst. When you’re thirsty, you know you need to hydrate.
But drinking water alone won’t do the job. Water doesn’t contain the electrolytes your body needs to keep it in balance. That’s why you need Sqwincher. Sqwincher hydration solutions contain a correct balance of sodium, potassium, and other key electrolytes. And these are the exact minerals your body needs to keep it working well and in tip-top shape.
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Source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/wellness/hydration-water-vs-sports-drink/2012/08/10/7f2f71dc-dda1-11e1-af1d-753c613ff6d8_story.html?utm_term=.437cb408c3d4 ↩
As defined by the Mayo Clinic, heat exhaustion is a condition whose symptoms may include heavy sweating and a rapid pulse, a result of your body overheating. It’s one of three heat-related syndromes, with heat cramps being the mildest and heatstroke being the most severe.
Causes of heat exhaustion include exposure to high temperatures, particularly when combined with high humidity, and strenuous physical activity. Without prompt treatment, heat exhaustion can lead to heatstroke, a life-threatening condition. Fortunately, heat exhaustion is preventable.
Signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion may develop suddenly or over time, especially with prolonged periods of exercise. Possible heat exhaustion signs and symptoms include:
- Cool, moist skin with goosebumps when in the heat
- Heavy sweating
- Weak, rapid pulse
- Low blood pressure upon standing
- Muscle cramps
When to see a doctor
If you think you’re experiencing heat exhaustion:
- Stop all activity and rest
- Move to a cooler place
- Drink cool water or sports drinks
Contact your doctor if your signs or symptoms worsen or if they don’t improve within one hour. If you are with someone showing signs of heat exhaustion, seek immediate medical attention if he or she becomes confused or agitated, loses consciousness, or is unable to drink. You will need immediate cooling and urgent medical attention if your core body temperature (measured by a rectal thermometer) reaches 104 F (40 C) or higher.
Your body’s heat combined with environmental heat results in what’s called your core temperature — your body’s internal temperature. Your body needs to regulate the heat gain (and, in cold weather, heat loss) from the environment to maintain a core temperature that’s normal, approximately 98.6 F (37 C).
Your body’s failure to cool itself
In hot weather, your body cools itself mainly by sweating. The evaporation of your sweat regulates your body temperature. However, when you exercise strenuously or otherwise overexert in hot, humid weather, your body is less able to cool itself efficiently.
As a result, your body may develop heat cramps, the mildest form of heat-related illness. Signs and symptoms of heat cramps usually include heavy sweating, fatigue, thirst, and muscle cramps. Prompt treatment usually prevents heat cramps from progressing to heat exhaustion.
You usually can treat heat cramps by drinking fluids or sports drinks containing electrolytes (Gatorade, Powerade, others), getting into cooler temperatures, such as an air-conditioned or shaded place, and resting.
Besides hot weather and strenuous activity, other causes of heat exhaustion include:
- Dehydration, which reduces your body’s ability to sweat and maintain a normal temperature
- Alcohol use, which can affect your body’s ability to regulate your temperature
- Overdressing, particularly in clothes that don’t allow sweat to evaporate easily
Anyone can develop heat exhaustion, but certain factors increase your sensitivity to heat. They include:
- Young age or old age. Infants and children younger than 4 and adults older than 65 are at higher risk of heat exhaustion. The body’s ability to regulate its temperature isn’t fully developed in the young and may be reduced by illness, medications or other factors in older adults.
- Certain drugs. Medications that affect your body’s ability to stay hydrated and respond appropriately to heat include some used to treat high blood pressure and heart problems (beta blockers, diuretics), reduce allergy symptoms (antihistamines), calm you (tranquilizers), or reduce psychiatric symptoms such as delusions (antipsychotics). Additionally, some illegal drugs, such as cocaine and amphetamines, can increase your core temperature.
- Obesity. Carrying excess weight can affect your body’s ability to regulate its temperature and cause your body to retain more heat.
- Sudden temperature changes. If you’re not used to the heat, you’re more susceptible to heat-related illnesses, such as heat exhaustion. Traveling to a warm climate from a cold one or living in an area that has experienced an early heat wave can put you at risk of a heat-related illness because your body hasn’t had a chance to get used to the higher temperatures.
- A high heat index. The heat index is a single temperature value that considers how both the outdoor temperature and humidity make you feel. When the humidity is high, your sweat can’t evaporate as easily and your body has more difficulty cooling itself, making you prone to heat exhaustion and heatstroke. When the heat index is 91 F (33 C) or higher, you should take precautions to keep cool.
Untreated, heat exhaustion can lead to heatstroke, a life-threatening condition that occurs when your core body temperature reaches 104 F (40 C) or higher. Heatstroke requires immediate medical attention to prevent permanent damage to your brain and other vital organs that can result in death.
You can take a number of precautions to prevent heat exhaustion and other heat-related illnesses. When temperatures climb, remember to:
- Wear loosefitting, lightweight clothing. Wearing excess clothing or clothing that fits tightly won’t allow your body to cool properly.
- Protect against sunburn. Sunburn affects your body’s ability to cool itself, so protect yourself outdoors with a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses and use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15. Apply sunscreen generously, and reapply every two hours — or more often if you’re swimming or sweating.
- Drink plenty of fluids. Staying hydrated will help your body sweat and maintain a normal body temperature.
- Take extra precautions with certain medications. Be on the lookout for heat-related problems if you take medications that can affect your body’s ability to stay hydrated and dissipate heat.
- Never leave anyone in a parked car. This is a common cause of heat-related deaths in children. When parked in the sun, the temperature in your car can rise 20 degrees Fahrenheit (more than 6.7 C) in 10 minutes.It’s not safe to leave a person in a parked car in warm or hot weather, even if the windows are cracked or the car is in shade. When your car is parked, keep it locked to prevent a child from getting inside.
- Take it easy during the hottest parts of the day. If you can’t avoid strenuous activity in hot weather, drink fluids and rest frequently in a cool spot. Try to schedule exercise or physical labor for cooler parts of the day, such as early morning or evening.
- Get acclimated. Limit time spent working or exercising in heat until you’re conditioned to it. People who are not used to hot weather are especially susceptible to heat-related illness. It can take several weeks for your body to adjust to hot weather.
- Be cautious if you’re at increased risk. If you take medications or have a condition that increases your risk of heat-related problems, such as a history of previous heat illness, avoid the heat and act quickly if you notice symptoms of overheating. If you participate in a strenuous sporting event or activity in hot weather, make sure there are medical services available in case of a heat emergency.
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