Bob Odenkirk, one of my favorite actors who stars as morally challenged criminal defense attorney Saul Goodman on Better Call Saul, was rushed to the hospital last week after suffering a heart attack on set. Odenkirk, who also stars in the epic John Wick-ish action flick Nobody (available to stream now!), is thankfully doing well and recovering at home. Upon reading the news of Odenkirk’s heart attack, it got me thinking: How many business owners and managers know what to do in the event an employee experiences a medical emergency on the job? If your emergency protocol involves calling 911 and hoping for the best, you’ve got some work to do. Here are three steps you can take to help you handle the unexpected.
Make a Plan
Before a medical emergency arises, you should have a clear plan in place on how to respond. If someone needs assistance, who will be responsible for calling 911 or administering first aid? Do you have updated emergency contact information on hand for all of your employees? Have you trained employees on what to do in a medical emergency and posted the information in a conspicuous place for easy reference? Take a minute to reflect on how you would answer these questions, and start planning accordingly.
Have Medical Supplies On Hand
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) does not mandate that employers provide training to employees on CPR (although that is a fantastic idea). OSHA does require, however, that employers “ensure prompt first-aid treatment for injured employees, either by providing for the availability of a trained first-aid provider at the worksite, or by ensuring that emergency medical personnel are within a reasonable proximity of the worksite.” OSHA encourages employers to consult with their local fire or rescue departments or healthcare professionals to identify the specific needs of a worksite so they can reasonably anticipate what first-aid supplies should be kept on hand in the event of an emergency.
Though not mandated, employers should also consider having an automated external defibrillator (AED) available on-site. Approximately 13% of workplace fatalities are due to cardiac arrests, and the chance of surviving a cardiac arrest decreases by nearly 10% with each minute that passes without electrical defibrillation. As a result, having an AED available at work could save someone’s life. According to OSHA, employers that provide AEDs at their workplaces should designate who will use them, train those employees on how to correctly use the AEDs, ensure that the AEDs are easily accessible so they can be used quickly, and maintain the AEDs in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications.
Notify Your Workers’ Compensation Carrier and OSHA, If Necessary
After an emergency has occurred, you may need to notify your workers’ compensation carrier and OSHA, depending on whether the emergency resulted from a workplace injury. Employees who get injured at work are generally eligible for workers’ compensation insurance, and you will need to file the claim paperwork promptly. In addition, you should investigate the cause of the accident, collect witness statements, and preserve any equipment or items involved in the accident to provide to your carrier. If the injury required the employee to go to the hospital, you will also need to report the incident to OSHA.
By following these steps, you can have greater confidence and peace of mind and ensure that your business is ready to respond quickly and safely in the event of a medical emergency. Be safe, everyone!