The question of whether or not employers MUST provide an AED (Automated External Defibrillator) for employee safety in their workplace is a bit of a grey area.
Current OH&S regulations in Victoria, as set out by WorkCover, do NOT specifically state that an Employer MUST provide an AED however there are guidelines that do put the onus on an employer that they “should consider whether it is reasonably practical to have an AED in the workplace to manage the risk of death from cardiac arrest in their workplace”.
Now given that AEDs have a proven track record of saving lives and that employers are obligated by law to provide a safe workplace for their employees, it is not unreasonable to say that if a death did occur in a workplace where an employer did NOT have an AED installed, then that employer could be held responsible for the employee’s death on the basis that they obviously didn’t provide a safe enough workplace for that particular employee.
The law gets even murkier when it comes to workplaces that have a large number of members of the general public visiting them, like retails outlets, restaurants, cafes, etc.
The guidelines produced by WorkSafe in the Compliance Code for First Aid in the Workplace contains a very critical sentence which says – “when deciding whether it is reasonable to have AEDs in the workplace, employers should consider the likelihood that someone will suffer a cardiac arrest in the workplace. For example, an AED may be appropriate if specific risks associated with the work performed at the workplace increase the likelihood of cardiac arrest, or if there are large numbers of members of the public, such as clients or visitors, attending the workplace.”
As the likelihood of someone suffering a cardiac arrest in the workplace obviously increases in higher-risk workplaces and in places where there are large numbers of public attending, it’s pretty easy to see why so many employers do choose to install AEDs in their workplaces for both the use of their staff AND the general public. Because the risk and cost of being sued in the case of someone dying far outweighs the rather low cost of buying and installing an AED (or even several of them).
If you need to know more about the requirements regarding AEDS in your business, see page 30 of the Compliance Code for Workplace First Aid - download at https://www.worksafe.vic.gov.au/resources/compliance-code-first-aid-workplace
For advice on AEDs in your workplace please call our experts on 1300 661 065 or to order AEDs for your business visit us at https://www.resultsfirstaidkits.com