WIGAN businesses are being urged to have a potentially life saving defibrillator on their premises.
The plea from health experts comes after results of a workplace survey showed that less than half of companies in the region have the necessary equipment to deal with a cardiac arrest.
The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) commissioned a survey of thousands of businesses across the country and only 37 per cent in the North West had a defibrillator on site, lower than the national average.
IOSH manager Jane White, said: “We want Wigan businesses to take a good look at the number of employees they have, their demographics and the kind of sector they work in to assess whether they should have a defibrillator on-site.
“Using one within the first few minutes after collapse gives the best chance of saving a life – it can increase survival rates by as much as 75 per cent. This just proves to businesses how important it is to have the equipment on-site.”
Businesses can take their lead from many of the borough’s schools that now have defibrillators in their buildings.
Standish Community High School and St Cuthbert’s Catholic Primary School in Norley Hall have recently installed the life saving equipment.
Standish headteacher Lynne Fox, said: “It is a piece of equipment that we hope we will never have to use but should the need arise we may save a life because of it.
Mrs White, added: “If someone suffers a cardiac arrest at work and does not survive, it is devastating for their family, friends and workmates and it can also cause a great deal of stress for the person giving CPR.
“Companies also need to consider the impact of losing a member of staff on their fellow employees, factoring in the cost of down-time, counselling and any replacement or training of staff. The message here is not only an ethical one, it also has financial implications.
“Of course, a defibrillator is good health and safety practice because it saves lives, but it also makes sound business sense.”
Businesses who wish to have a defibrillator on site can receive workplace first aid training from St John Ambulance officers. Training and development officer, Clive James, said: “Prompt first aid and use of a defibrillator can be the difference between a life lost and life saved.
“Defibrillators detect if a casualty’s heart rhythm needs shocking, so they can’t shock anyone that doesn’t need it. But ultimately a training course will give help to give you the confidence to use one.
“It’s important to understand that a person who has had a cardiac arrest will die if they don’t receive emergency treatment.
Prompt CPR and use of a defibrillator will give them that chance to survive.”