The construction industry is well known for being a high-risk occupation, and so it certainly makes sense to plan an AED program for your site. Between 70% and 89% of SCA incidents occur in men, and construction is a male-dominated field, making up 91% of workers.
A job as a construction worker is a physically demanding role, with risks including working at height, being struck by falling objects, getting caught or crushed by machinery, and electrocution which often leads to SCA and makes up 82% of construction deaths.
A properly thought out installation plan for your AED program can certainly help reduce this number, along with a rigorous health and safety mandate.
With sites often reaching at least 1000ft², and on multiple floors, it is essential to map out your installation plan, ensuring that an AED is accessible within a 3-5 minute window to ensure the victim has the best chance of survival. Keep in mind that with construction sites cordoned off to the public for safety, and often inaccessible to all but authorized personnel, response times from EMS will be reduced, making AED access to trained first aiders somewhat of a priority. The entire nature of a construction site means that the floor plans are constantly changing, meaning that regular risk assessment of your installation and placement is required.
Choosing the Right AED
Due to the size and scale of a construction site, it is recommended to have a number of AEDs available depending on the number of workers and size of the site. For ultimate protection against SCA, you should ensure to strategically place your AEDs so that you are never more than a 3-minute round trip from a life-saving device if you needed to access one.
Portability of your AED is an important consideration. There are durable, portable AEDs made for the construction industry, which have the benefit of being dust and water resistant, as well as being eye-catching and highly visible. The workers are required to wear hard hats, high visibility clothing, and personal protective equipment, ensure your AED is also protected.
Training and Awareness
An efficient AED program needs trained personnel, ensuring they are familiar with the AED, not only in use but for basic maintenance and checking. CPR and first aid training should be given to all members of staff. Often employer training is either/or CPR and AEDs, but to get the most out of your health and safety program, look for a training course that can deliver both. 33% of safety managers report that workers have gone on to save lives both on the job and at home.
High visibility signage and posters can alert workers to the locations of AEDs and first aid kits or stations, as well as identifying trained personnel on site. A simple poster campaign can help workers be aware of hazards, and keep the site heart safe, as well as making them aware of their own personal health and fitness. New hires should always have AED/CPR training at induction.
Always conduct further risk assessments as the workforce changes and moves around the site as the job demands. Unlike an office-based workforce, construction workers are not at a fixed point on site.
Keep the three points in mind when planning your AED installation, and you will protect your workers, and keep the site heart safe.