Should I have a defibrillator in my workplace?

Should I have a defibrillator in my workplace?

In a word: probably. But before we can answer that question, we’re going to look into answering some other commonly asked questions, like “What does a defibrillator do?”, “How much does a defibrillator cost?” and “Is it a legal requirement to have a defibrillator in the workplace?”

Once we’ve answered those questions, we can look at whether you should invest in a defibrillator – or defib – for your workplace.

What does a defibrillator do?

Every year, approximately 30,000 people in the UK have an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. And out of that 30,000, just one in 10 survive.

A cardiac arrest is slightly different from a heart attack – the British Heart Foundation, who should know, define it this way: “A heart attack is when one of the coronary arteries becomes blocked. The heart muscle is robbed of its vital blood supply and, if left untreated, will begin to die because it is not getting enough oxygen. A cardiac arrest is when a person’s heart stops pumping blood around their body and they stop breathing normally.”

Defibrillators send electric shocks to the heart of the person having a cardiac arrest, helping it to start pumping and circulating blood again. If used properly and at the right time, a defibrillator can save a person’s life.

They’ve been around for a long time. Back in 1899, two Swiss physiologists named Jean-Louis Prévost and Frédéric Batelli demonstrated how defibrillation could help people in cardiac arrest. Thirty-one years later, an electrical engineer named William Kouwenhoven came up with the first external defibrillator and then 30 years after that (in 1965), Professor Frank Pantridge unveiled the world’s first portable defibrillator – essentially the same machine that is in use today.


How do I know if I should use a defibrillator?

Defibrillators are for helping people who are having a cardiac arrest. They will be unconscious, unresponsive, and will be either not breathing at all or not breathing normally. They may be making gasping noises.

Somebody who is having a cardiac arrest is in serious danger of death unless they are treated immediately using a defibrillator, CPR or both.

Call 999 immediately, start CPR and use a defibrillator if there is one you can lay your hands on. The 999 operator will instruct you as to what to do until the emergency services arrive.

How much does a defibrillator cost?

As with most things in life, the answer is: it varies.

Defibrillators can cost anywhere between around £750 and upwards of £2,000. Some are just plain fancier than others – including features such as an ECG (Electrocardiogram) display – while some are more suitable for particular workplaces than others.

There are a lot out there, and it’s worth shopping around – it’s not always a case of spending the most money and getting the best defib. You might find that the best one for you is also the cheapest.

Is it a legal requirement to have a defibrillator in the workplace?

At the moment it is not a legal requirement to have a defibrillator in the workplace, but your First Aid Needs Assessment may identify a defibrillator as a need.

You can complete your assessment here.

How do I operate a defibrillator?

Defibrillators are extremely easy to use and come with instructions as to how to operate them.

All First Aid at Work (FAW) courses and emergency first aid at work (EFAW) courses include defibrillator training – including the ones run by Authentic.

So, should I have a defibrillator in my workplace?

As we said at the start, probably! Defibrillators are life-saving pieces of equipment which can, well, save lives.

If you have members of staff which may be more likely to suffer from a cardiac arrest then it should really be a no-brainer – and the same goes if you regularly have members of the public in your workplace.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which is very enthusiastic about having defibrillators in as many places as possible, also recommends First Aid at Work (FAW)  courses, and there is a reason for that: They save lives too. And people who have taken FAW or Emergency First Aid at Work (EFAW) courses have confidence as to how to provide the best response possible in all manner of emergency situations.


How do I go about booking onto an Authentic Training First Aid at Work course? And how much do they cost?

The one-day L3 award in Emergency First Aid at Work, more properly described as the Level 3 Award in Emergency First Aid at Work (RQCF), costs just £95 per person. You can find out more and book onto it here.

The second First Aid at Work course is the three-day option for companies who need to meet their HSE Health and Safety requirements.

There’s more information about it here,  it can be delivered at your premises or at our Knowsley training rooms, and the cost is just £185 per person. There are also large discounts available for group bookings.

Who does the actual training?

Both our three-day First Aid at Work RQF course and our one-day course are delivered by experienced professionals, who take pride in giving you expert support as you learn the whole First Aid at Work (RQF) syllabus.

If you’ve got more questions, we’re here to help.

We’d love to talk to you about either of our First Aid at Work courses.

To give us a call and speak to one of our expert trainers, ring 0151 546 5151 and ask for John or Kris.

Alternatively, send us an email at and we’ll get back in touch as soon as we can.

We offer special rates for Group Bookings. Both of these courses can be held in class at our premises, or we can come to your location to conduct the course/s.
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