In Ontario, employers are required to comply with the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and its regulations when it comes to providing first aid equipment and training to employees. According to the OHSA, employers must ensure that adequate first aid equipment, supplies and facilities are available to employees at all times. This includes items such as bandages, dressings, and eye wash stations, but does not specifically include Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs).
While AEDs are not currently mandatory under the OHSA, many workplaces are choosing to include them as part of their first aid equipment due to their proven effectiveness in increasing the survival rate of sudden cardiac arrest victims.
AEDs are portable, easy-to-use devices that can automatically diagnose and treat a life-threatening irregular heartbeat known as ventricular fibrillation. The earlier defibrillation is administered, the better chance of survival. According to statistics, every minute that passes without defibrillation decreases the chances of survival by 10%.
In addition, AEDs are becoming increasingly more common in public places such as airports, stadiums, and malls, so the public is becoming more familiar with them. This means that employees are more likely to be comfortable with using them in an emergency.
Adding an AED to the workplace first aid equipment is a responsible decision that can help increase the chances of survival in case of a cardiac emergency. Employers should consider the benefits of including an AED in their first aid kit, even though it is not currently required by law.
Employers should also ensure that employees are trained on how to use the AED and that the equipment is properly maintained and checked. It is crucial that the AED is easy to locate and accessible in case of emergency.
In conclusion, while AEDs are not currently required by the OHSA, employers should consider adding them to their workplace first aid equipment as it could greatly increase the chances of survival in case of a cardiac emergency. It's important for employers to also provide training and maintaining the AED equipment for the safety of the employees.