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Must you train staff to use defibrillators?

Automated external defibrillators (AEDs) are becoming a common sight. Should you.... read more

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Must you Train Staff on the use of Defibrillators

Must you train staff to use defibrillators?

Automated external defibrillators (AEDs) are becoming a common sight. Should you have one fitted at your workplace, and if your staff have access to one should you provide training?

Installation initiative

Organisations such as the British Heart Foundation (BHF) have driven an increase in the number of defibrillator stations in public places and large workplaces. As the technology has been proven to save lives and AEDs have come down in price, they’ve become an increasingly attractive option. As a result, many public access defibrillators have been placed in train stations, shopping centres, airports and leisure centres.

How do they work?

According to the BHF, if someone suffers a sudden cardiac arrest the chance of survival falls by about 10% for each minute that passes without fibrillation. Fibrillation means restoring the heart’s normal rhythm - this is achieved by delivering a high energy targeted electric shock using an AED.


The ambulance service has this equipment but it might be too late by the time they arrive. Survival rates increase significantly if someone on the scene is able to give CPR and successfully operate an AED.


Note. A lack of training doesn’t preclude successful use. The machine itself guides the operator with audible instructions and pictograms. In fact, there’s limited opportunity to get it wrong as the AED won’t give a shock unless the heart’s rhythm requires it. According to the BHF, you should never be afraid to have a go at using one.

Who must supply one?

First aid legislation and guidance on this subject hasn’t changed for some time. You’re only legally obliged to install an AED in your workplace when your own assessment identifies it as necessary.


You might determine that this is the case if you’re in a remote location or if you have a higher than average number of older staff.


Tip. Although you may not be legally obliged to provide an AED, you might decide to do so for peace of mind. They’re reliable, relatively inexpensive (under £1,000) and could save the life of someone in your workplace.

How about training?

There’s certainly no requirement to train all staff who might find themselves in the vicinity of an AED during their working day.   However, there is a legal requirement for employers to provide training in the use of work equipment. Therefore, if you provide an AED, as opposed to one simply being present in a public place nearby, you will need to arrange training.


All our courses at ROHS now include AED Awareness and the full 4-hour AED Training Course is available which can be carried out onsite or offsite.  See the First Aid Training Page for details.


(Source  -  Tips & Advice Health & Safety  Year 15 Issue 05)