- Safety and Health Topics
- Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs)
Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs)
An automated external defibrillator (AED) is a medical device designed to analyze the heart rhythm and deliver an electric shock to victims of ventricular fibrillation to restore the heart rhythm to normal. Ventricular fibrillation is the uncoordinated heart rhythm most often responsible for sudden cardiac arrest. Sudden cardiac arrest occurs when ventricular fibrillation takes place or when the heart stops beating altogether. Without medical attention, the victim collapses, lose consciousness, becomes unresponsive, and dies. Many victims have no prior history of heart disease and are stricken without warning. Chances of survival from sudden cardiac death diminish by 7 – 10 percent for each minute without immediate CPR or defibrillation. After 10 minutes, resuscitation rarely succeeds.
OSHA standards do not specifically address automated external defibrillators (AEDs). However exposures to first-aid hazards are addressed in specific OSHA standards for the general industry.
AEDs in the Workplace
Provided information regarding occupational risk factors and the use of AEDs in the workplace.
Workers have the right to:
- Working conditions that do not pose a risk of serious harm.
- Receive information and training (in a language and vocabulary the worker understands) about workplace hazards, methods to prevent them, and the OSHA standards that apply to their workplace.
- Review records of work-related injuries and illnesses.
- File a complaint asking OSHA to inspect their workplace if they believe there is a serious hazard or that their employer is not following OSHA's rules. OSHA will keep all identities confidential.
- Exercise their rights under the law without retaliation, including reporting an injury or raising health and safety concerns with their employer or OSHA. If a worker has been retaliated against for using their rights, they must file a complaint with OSHA as soon as possible, but no later than 30 days.
For additional information, see OSHA's Workers page.
How to Contact OSHA
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit www.osha.gov or call OSHA at 1-800-321-OSHA (6742), TTY 1-877-889-5627.
- Saving Sudden Cardiac Arrest Victims in the Workplace: Automated External Defibrillators (PDF). OSHA Publication 3185, (2003). Provides information on the importance of readily-available AEDs, and encourages the installation of the devices in workplaces. Also includes a list of resources for more detailed guidance on the use of AEDs as well as how to obtain qualified training.