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Why AEDs are needed in the Construction and Roofing Industries

This blog article outlines why automated external defibrillators (AEDs) are needed for every segment of the construction and roofing industry. From roofers to builders we outline the most at-risk segments of the construction industry.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, in the US, every minute an individual dies of Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA), and SCA-related deaths are largely preventable. AEDs are credited with saving more lives than any other medical intervention device, yet SCAs often happen in locations without AEDs or people trained in their use.

According to the CDC’s statistics, only about one-third of individuals experiencing a cardiac emergency receive immediate CPR from another person, and less than one in ten get help from a nearby automated external defibrillator. This is why having readily available AEDs within close proximity can save lives.

Why Construction Sites and Roofing Contractors are at Risk?

Construction sites have one of the highest incidences of heart attacks and cases of sudden cardiac arrest out of all other OSHA-tracked industries. For this reason, all construction sites should have first aid, medical assistance, and AEDs to protect their employees from accidents and death.

Why Construction Sites and Roofing Contractors are at Risk?

SCA is most often caused by coronary artery disease, and the general construction industry is at risk due to:

  • Long working hours in a strenuous work environment. Depending on their location and area of expertise, construction workers may be exposed to various weather conditions for extended periods of time. For example, roofers and ironworkers could be subjected to extremely high or low temperatures for several hours. Being exposed to such extremes increases the risk factor for cardiovascular problems such as heart attack or stroke. Also, long unbroken periods of physical labor can cause exhaustion which leads to stress that weakens the heart muscle over time—increasing ones’ chances of having an SCA event.
  • Occupational injuries. According to OSHA; “The most common hazards in construction are slips, trips, and falls; overexertion (too much physical effort); contact with objects and equipment; exposure to hazardous substances and environments; fires and explosions; electric currents; and extreme heat or cold.” Construction workers often work in challenging environments such as those mentioned above. Such challenges make it necessary for them to use a wide variety of power tools. These involve a certain amount of risk, due to the potential danger involved when using various types of saws, compressors, and grinders.

Electrocution Causes Cardiac Arrest

Another major cause of sudden cardiac arrest is electrocution. The roofing industry is particularly at risk due to working on top of houses and buildings where the crews and personnel are highly susceptible to coming into contact with electrical lines.

Electrocution Causes Cardiac Arrest

A construction site is a prime OSHA risk location due to the nature of construction with open electrical lines. Sudden high voltage electrocution can trigger sudden cardiac arrest by increasing the workload on the heart and causing increased myocardial oxygen demand. Unfortunately, accidents like this happen all too often. 

A shock can cause cardiac arrest

The human body is highly efficient in the conduction of electricity. When a current of 50 milliamperes (mA) flows through the heart, it can induce cardiac arrest. Electrical current is an extremely hazardous substance for the human body.

A shock can cause cardiac arrest

While minor electrical burns may appear to be harmless, there may still be significant internal damage, especially to the heart and muscles, as well as the brain.

Common Electricity Induced Injuries

Four forms of electricity-induced injury may result from current:

  • Injury or falling as a result of being exposed to electricity
  • Cardiac arrest caused by electrical stimulation of the heart
  • Electrical burns from touching the source
  • The current may cause muscular, nerve, and tissue damage if it goes through the body

The heart, like many other muscles in our bodies, is a muscle that pumps blood through the body by beating. Electrical impulses control our heart’s rhythm—these are what an electrocardiogram records.

Common Electricity Induced Injuries

High electrical current may hide these signals and cause the heart’s rhythm to be disrupted if it enters the heart. Ventricular fibrillation is an abnormal heartbeat in which the ventricles beat erratically, sometimes causing cardiac arrhythmia.

Ventricular Fibrillation

If ventricular fibrillation develops, the heart does not pump blood and there is no circulation. If a defibrillator isn’t accessible within minutes of the start of ventricular fibrillation, one may be required to administer cardioversion or defibrillation to restore a healthy heartbeat.

Conclusion

AEDs are not just needed in the medical industry but throughout all segments of the construction industry. From roofers to builders, we outline the most at-risk segments of the construction industry and why you should never go without having an AED on site.

We hope that this article has helped shed light on just how important it is for every segment of the construction and roofing industries to have access to a reliable (AED) defibrillator as part of your work safety essentials.

Contact AED USA today if you’d like assistance with establishing a protocol for workplace safety for first responders who need quick access to an AED when they arrive onsite after 911 has been dispatched.

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