Cardiac Arrest a Common Cause of Death at Work in North Carolina

It is estimated that 220,000 people suffer a sudden cardiac arrest each year in the U.S., and about 10,000 of these incidents happen at work.

If you only call 911 and wait for help to arrive, the victim has only a 5-7 percent chance of surviving. However, studies indicate that when an automated external defibrillator (AED) is used on the victim, there is a near 60-percent survival rate a year after the event.

Our workers’ compensation lawyers in Charlotte realize the importance of immediate intervention when someone suddenly collapses from cardiac arrest. Many job tasks are strenuous, so it is the responsibility of the employer to provide adequate equipment to reduce the risk of cardiac arrest at North Carolina job sites.

What is an automated external defibrillator (AED)?

It is a medical device that evaluates the hearth rhythm. When the AED determines the victim’s heart is in a heart rhythm called ventricular fibrillation, it delivers an electrical shock that restores the heart to a normal heart rhythm. Ventricular fibrillation is the chaotic heart rhythm that is most often responsible for sudden cardiac arrest.

A sudden cardiac arrest happens when ventricular fibrillation occurs or when the heart simply stops beating. When this happens, if the victims does not get medical attention right away, the victim collapses, becomes unresponsive and dies. This all can happen without warning, and many victims have no prior medical history of heart disease.

What can cause a sudden cardiac arrest?

-A heart attack
-Asphyxiation (caused by inadequate oxygen)

All work places could benefit by having AEDs because no one knows when a sudden cardiac arrest will happen. Having on-site AEDs saves valuable treatment time, and can drastically improve survival odds. A heart rhythm that is in ventricular fibrillation can only be returned to a normal rhythm by an electric shock. AEDs are small, safe and easy to use.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says AEDs should be conveniently located and reachable within five minutes. They should be located in areas occupied by many people, like office buildings and assembly lines. They should be located near confined spaces, close to where electric-powered devices are in use; outdoor work sites in case of a lightning strike; health units in case someone seeks treatment for heart attack symptoms; fitness room or cafeterias and any remote work site where it would take a long time for help to arrive.

AED devices cost roughly $1,200 to $3,000 per unit. Workers need training to identify sudden cardiac arrest. They should also learn how to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), and how to use an AED and stabilize the victim until EMS personnel arrive.

If you or someone you know is dealing with a work accident in North Carolina or needs help with a workers’ compensation or disability claim, contact the Lee Law Offices, P.A. today for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call 1-800-887-1965.

Additional Resources:

North Carolina Workers Injured on the Job Get Answers to Frequently Asked Questions , North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Blog, June 10, 2011

Safe Work Environments can Reduce Risk of North Carolina Work Injuries , North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Blog, June 17, 2011

Contact Information