CPR—short for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation—is an emergency medical procedure used to help victims of cardiac arrest. CPR aims to restore circulation and keep victims alive until they can receive additional medical attention. The procedure is simple and can be performed anywhere there is a firm surface, making it particularly useful when medical equipment isn’t available or while waiting for emergency assistance to arrive. For these reasons, a workplace safety program that includes CPR training is a must and may be a lifesaver.
The process involves a combination of chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth breathing. The Mayo clinic recommends following the steps below:
- Place the person on their back on a firm surface.
- Kneel to the person’s side by their neck and shoulders.
- Place one hand over the other in the center of the person’s chest. Straighten your elbows and position your shoulders above your hands.
- Push down hard with your arms and upper body weight. Ideal chest compression is between 2-2.4 inches at a rate of 100-120 compressions per minute.
- If you have received CPR training, proceed to mouth-to-mouth breathing after 30 compressions. Otherwise continue chest compressions until the person begins to move or until emergency personnel arrive.
- Open the person’s airway by tilting their head back with your palm on their forehead. With the other hand, lift the chin up.
- Pinch the person’s nostrils shut and form a seal around their mouth with your own mouth.
- Give a one second breath and watch if the victim’s chest rises. If it does, give another breath. If not, retry opening the person’s airway before the second breath.
- Resume chest compressions for the next cycle.
- If an automated external defibrillator (AED) is on hand, follow its prompts and administer one shock. Then continue performing CPR for two minutes before administering the second shock.
- Continue cycling through 30 chest compressions and two mouth-to-mouth breaths until either the person moves or emergency personnel arrive.
Why Employees Need CPR Training
CPR saves lives. In fact, performing CPR can triple a person’s chances of survival following a cardiac arrest. Since CPR is such a potential lifesaver, can be used without medical equipment, and is easy to train for, employee CPR training is a worthwhile investment for the sake of public safety. Any opportunity to save a coworker or customer’s life is worth taking. U.S. workers suffer about 10,000 cardiac arrests at the workplace each year, so it’s certainly a possibility that one of your employees need CPR at some point in your organization’s future. CPR can turn a workplace tragedy into a success story.
Opportunities for CPR training are plentiful. The Red Cross offers on-site OSHA-compliant training, sending instructors and equipment directly to your location. One of your employees can also become authorized by the Red Cross to provide training to other employees. Other options include attending a class at an AHA (American Heart Association) Training Center or completing an online course. Be aware though that even online courses require in-person skill assessments.
Organizations such as the Red Cross and AHA offer certifications which often last about two years, but continual education is encouraged. CPR knowledge declines when not practiced, so consider providing employees with materials that remind them of proper procedure. Materials could be anything from posters to mobile apps. Maintain a positive, pro-learning environment so that your employees can remember CPR procedure at a moment’s notice should the need ever arise.