The Australian developer overseeing the construction of the new Wembley stadium in London is installing automatic heart defibrillators on all its construction, development and office sites.
The units will be on hand should any of Multiplex’s 1,800 staff or 17,000 subcontractors experience a sudden cardiac arrest in any of its sites around the world. The company said it was as important to protect its workforce from cardiac arrest as other workplace hazards.
Ken Kelman, group safety manager, said: “When you work in the property industry, workplace safety is paramount. Even a seemingly healthy person can suffer cardiac arrest without warning.” Training for its UK staff will be carried out by St John Ambulance.
More than 150,000 people die from cardiac arrests in the UK each year, according to St John Ambulance. Most might be saved if their heart could be defibrillated (shocked back into rhythm) within five minutes.
The charity said that a defibrillator – used by a trained operator – at the site of a sudden cardiac arrest could increase the chances of survival from 5% to 80%.
While no accurate statistics are available on the number of workplace defibrillators, anecdotal evidence suggests their use is on the increase.
The Department of Health has currently placed 700 defibrillators in public places such as airports and railway and underground stations as part of a national programme. It plans to place another 2,300 over the coming months.
Richard Jones, director of technical affairs at the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, said he was in favour of using any equipment that saved lives.
He added that defibrillator training was likely to become part of standard first-aid training as their use in the workplace increased.