Many small firms 'not prepared for medical emergencies'

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Many small firms 'not prepared for medical emergencies' (image credit: iStock/mrdoomits)

Medical emergencies in the workplace are no laughing matter and being prepared for the worst can be the difference between life and death. It is therefore a worrying development that a significant proportion of UK small businesses currently believe they are unequipped to tackle these challenges should they arise.

Smallbusiness.co.uk reports new research published by independent defibrillator retailer Defibshop has shown almost half (49 per cent) of UK small firms now fall into this category.

According to the report, the lack of confidence in tackling emergencies that require a defibrillator comes down mainly to cost, as 55 per cent stated this was the main reason they do not have this type of equipment available to their staff.

However, 78 per cent of respondents did note they feel capable of handling other types of medical emergency, with three or more staff in every office trained in first aid. Moreover, 98 per cent of those polled in the survey said that all their premises currently have a first aid kit available for use.

David Howarth, chief executive of Defibshop, commented:  "Making your workforce feel safe and valued is the sign of a great business and it's brilliant to see companies recognising the need for this.

"While more businesses are investing in an important piece of equipment like a defibrillator, there are still many more workplaces that could benefit from having one onsite."

He went on to add that with nearly 60,000 cases of sudden cardiac arrest taking place within the UK every year, there remains a strong need for businesses to be prepared for the worst.

In cases where a defibrillator can be used within three to five minutes of a person suffering a cardiac arrest, the chances of survival for that individual are increased dramatically, from just six per cent to 74 per cent.

Having access to this life-saving equipment could make all the difference in the lives of people that suffer such a serious and potentially life-threatening episode. Businesses can therefore give greater peace of mind to their staff by ensuring a defibrillator is nearby should it be required.