We all know that construction sites have their share of hazardous environments where accidents can occur at any given moment. With electrical wiring, potential falls, and various construction materials and equipment, the risk of serious injuries or even fatalities are ever-present.  Here are a couple of related examples. I recently read the following social media post: “I just watched the plumber get hit with 240. Some idiot left a cut live baseboard wire bare above the drop ceiling and it got him in the neck.” A few years ago, I was proud to help the Sheet Metal Occupational Institute Trust (SMOHIT) recognize several workers for saving a fellow worker’s life with quick response of first aid after he suffered a heart attack on the job. It was a great pleasure to shake all their hands.

In such high-risk situations, immediate medical first aid intervention can mean the difference between life and death. That often includes Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs) playing a vital role. Let’s look at the benefits of CPR and AEDs on construction sites and discuss why every construction worker should be CPR trained and AEDs made available on construction sites (and in sheet metal shops as well).

Immediate Response to Cardiac Arrest: As suggested in the example I provided above, construction workers face a higher risk of sudden cardiac arrest due to the physically demanding nature of their work, working in areas with electrical wiring, exposure to extreme temperatures, the aging workforce, and the potential for stress and overexertion. CPR is a crucial skill that allows on-site workers to initiate immediate resuscitation efforts while awaiting professional medical assistance. Prompt CPR increases the chances of survival by maintaining the flow of oxygenated blood to vital organs until advanced medical help arrives. By strategically placing AEDs throughout the site, construction workers can quickly respond to cardiac incidents, providing potentially life-saving care. Such rapid intervention can greatly increase the chances of survival, minimizing the risks associated with delayed treatment.

Reduced Response Time: Construction sites are often located in remote or congested areas, which can prolong the arrival of emergency medical services. In critical situations, every minute counts. By having trained workers capable of performing CPR and AEDs available as needed, construction sites can significantly reduce response time in the event of an emergency. AEDs are designed to be user-friendly, even for individuals without medical training. Clear instructions and voice prompts guide the rescuer through the entire resuscitation process, from applying the pads to administering the shock if necessary. The simplicity of these devices allows any trained worker on a construction site to confidently use an AED, increasing the likelihood of a positive outcome in critical situations. Early intervention significantly improves the chances of survival, making CPR and AEDs vital until professional help arrives.

Increased Survival Rates: The availability of CPR-trained personnel and AEDs on construction sites dramatically increases the survival rates of victims suffering from cardiac arrest. According to the American Heart Association, immediate bystander CPR can double or even triple the likelihood of survival. Given the fast-paced nature of construction work and the potential for accidents, having a higher number of CPR/AED-trained individuals on site can save lives.

Enhanced Safety Culture: Implementing CPR and AED training programs on construction sites fosters a safety-conscious culture. When workers are knowledgeable about life-saving techniques like CPR, they feel empowered and confident in handling emergency situations. This not only benefits individuals in distress but also encourages others to prioritize safety, creating a more proactive and vigilant work environment overall.

The construction industry is undoubtedly one of the most challenging sectors when it comes to occupational safety and health. CPR and AED training plays a pivotal role in ensuring the well-being of workers on construction sites. By promoting immediate response, fostering a safety-conscious culture, reducing response time, and increasing survival rates, these early interventions prove to be an indispensable skill for all workers. Investing in CPR and AED training not only saves lives but also establishes a robust work environment where every individual is equipped to handle emergencies with confidence and competence. As the sheet metal and HVAC industry continues to prioritize worker safety and health, the practice of CPR and the presence of AEDs play a pivotal role in creating a safer and more secure working environment.