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St John Ambulance Queensland continues to work in close collaboration with local businesses after new research revealed that 81% of people in QLD want Automatic External Defibrillators (AED) to be made mandatory in the workplace to help save lives in the event of Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA).


A Galaxy Research representative survey of 1,000 adults showed that just under one-quarter (24%) of workplaces have an AED installed, with two-thirds (75%) of employees have received no training in how to use one.


The findings aim to improve awareness of workplace health and safety measures currently practised by employers. St John Ambulance Queensland works closely with one of the highest risk sectors of SCAs, the construction industry.


Electrocution is a key cause of sudden cardiac arrest and requires the urgent application of a defibrillator, and tragically, 15% of all workplace deaths in construction occur because of electrocution.


Australian Institute of Building National President, Prof (Adj) Paul Heather, AM, FAIB says, “High-risk sectors, such as the Building and Construction Industry, need to place the welfare of all employees above all else and first during this National Safe Work Month and beyond”.


“Currently, AEDs are not compulsory on Australian worksites. It’s alarming for the construction industry where workers risk their lives every day when navigating loose wires, operating machinery and generally working environments that at times can be unpredictable.” Prof (Adj) Heather says, “If the deployment of AEDs to all major construction projects were to save a single life, then it would be worth it”.


The new research supports the need for closer collaboration, with 83% of those in Queensland demanding AEDs be installed on construction sites.

St John Ambulance Queensland Chief Executive Officer, Alex Hutton says that having a defibrillator on-site and an adequate number of trained first aiders is the best way to ensure employees are safe in the event of a workplace emergency.


“While a defibrillator is not compulsory, it is a vital piece of emergency first aid equipment and the only definitive first aid treatment for cardiac arrest. Safe and healthy workplaces can also boost staff morale, lower levels of absenteeism, reduce job stress and encourage higher organisational commitment.” Rachelle Foreman, Health Director at the Heart Foundation QLD, says of the 15,000 cardiac arrest cases each year, around 10,000 people die as a result. 


“We know that without defibrillation and CPR the chance of surviving a cardiac arrest reduces by 10 percent every minute and after 10 minutes without it, there is little chance of survival,” Ms Foreman said.


“But a recent Heart Foundation survey found that although 70 percent of adult Australians would be willing to use a defibrillator to help someone in an emergency, only one in three said they would feel confident in doing so.”


Mr Hutton says that while it can’t be controlled when and where an SCA strikes, there are simple steps businesses can take to ensure employees lives are not at risk in the event of a workplace emergency.


“AEDs are now more easily accessible and proven to be successful. The installation of our defibrillators on any worksite will bring Queensland workplaces one step closer to ensuring the best possible chance of survival in the event of a cardiac arrest.”


St John Ambulance Queensland AEDs are built to US military specifications, allowing workplaces to arm their sites with the highest standard of life-saving technology in the event of an emergency. If you see someone in this situation, call triple zero for an ambulance immediately. Ambulance operators can talk you through how to administer CPR and use a defibrillator if one is available.


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Notes to editors

About St John Ambulance Australia

Active in Australia for over 130 years, St John Ambulance Australia is a self-funding, charitable organisation active in all States and Territories, dedicated to helping people in sickness, distress, suffering or danger. Providing services to a broad scope of the community, St John Ambulance Australia is the country's leading supplier of first aid services and training.


About Sudden Cardiac Arrests

Sudden Cardiac Arrest is the largest cause of death in Australia and is far more lethal and unpredictable than a heart attack. A heart attack occurs when the blood supply to part of the heart stops and thus causes a section of the heart muscle to begin to die; whereas a cardiac arrest occurs when the heart stops beating.


The cost of being unprepared

Small businesses take a range of cost-effective precautions to minimise risk in the workplace and boost productivity. Let’s take a look at how defibrillators stack up against other workplace risk solutions:

  • Staff sickies cost $340 per day per person in lost productivity — solution: a $25 flu jab.
  • An IT system fail costs $670 per hour in lost productivity — solution: a $180 server backup.
  • A false fire alarm costs $2,000 — solution: a $50 smoke detector.

The cost of cardiac arrest without a defibrillator is insurmountable (with employers facing staff recovery, mental health, sick leave, and fatality) – solution:


For further information, please contact Paula Price, GM of Marketing at St John Ambulance Australia Queensland Limited on 0417 785 228 or  

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