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Monitoring Heart Stress at Work to Help Prevent Heart Attacks

3/9/20
Grainger Editorial Staff

Your facility can prepare year-round to help reduce the causes of heart stress and to equip your employees to respond to emergencies. A mix of training and equipment can help protect your employees and encourage a culture of wellness.

Recognizing the Causes of Heart Stress

According to the American Psychological Association, it’s not uncommon for any type of job to cause stress. When this work-related stress becomes chronic, it can lead to a number of health issues including heart disease.

Employers can help reduce workplace stress by encouraging frequent breaks, training employees on stress management and healthy habits, and communicating with employees about their unique situation and stressors. Stress may come from situations under your control, such as resources for dealing with interpersonal conflicts between employees, but may also be due to an employee's personal issues. To help prevent heart stress that occurs outside of work, consider offering employee assistance programs and stress management training. These programs can include support for employees suffering from problems with family and psychological disorders, or counselors for those dealing with stressful personal situations such as a death in the family.

Reacting to Emergencies

The first step in cardiac care is recognizing an emergency. Signs of a heart attack can include dizziness, chest pain, heavy breathing or shortness of breath. In the most severe cases, cardiac arrest can occur, where a person loses consciousness and may stop breathing normally. Not every cardiac emergency requires CPR or an Automated External Defibrillator (AED), but training your employees to prepare for the worst enables them to respond faster when the worst happens.

During a cardiac event, time is the most important factor. The faster your employees can recognize an emergency, call 911 and provide immediate first aid, the more likely it is that victims of heart attacks can survive. According to the American Heart Association, each minute between the onset of a cardiac emergency and the use of CPR and an AED decreases chances of survival by up to 10 percent.

Planning tor the Worst

The AHA chain of survival is one way to educate and prepare your employees to respond to a cardiac emergency. This five-step process can improve both survival and recovery rates during a cardiac emergency. The process starts when someone recognizes an emergency. If trained, they can then start CPR right away, apply an AED as soon as one is available, and transfer the victim to the care of trained ambulance staff. Training employees in CPR and AED use is highly recommended, as it reduces the time to care while emergency medical services respond.

To help your employees respond to heart stress emergencies, you can also clearly mark and communicate where emergency supplies are located in your facilities. Providing ample first aid supplies and placing AEDs in common locations throughout the facility can allow employees to respond to heart stress or heart attacks rapidly. AEDs should be located near busy areas, and frequently inspected and maintained. First aid equipment, such as pocket masks and spare AED pads can be stored nearby and kept in stock.

Reducing heart stress in your workplace helps to keep your employees healthier and safer. By investing in tools to reduce stress and providing support to employees in a crisis, you can help mitigate the causes of heart stress. In the event of an emergency, the right supplies and training on hand can save lives. Learn more about how to recognize the signs and be prepared in the event of a heart attack.

The information contained in this article is intended for general information purposes only and is based on information available as of the initial date of publication. No representation is made that the information or references are complete or remain current. This article is not a substitute for review of current applicable government regulations, industry standards, or other standards specific to your business and/or activities and should not be construed as legal advice or opinion. Readers with specific questions should refer to the applicable standards or consult with an attorney.

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