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Managing risk

Do you need a defibrillator in the workplace? 

Should workplaces have a defibrillator on their premises to assist victims of heart attacks? Read more about first aid and WHS rules here. 

21 May 2024



Should a workplace have a defibrillator on hand? If so, what training and maintenance is required? 

A defibrillator is an electronic device that administers an electric shock of pre-set voltage to the heart through the chest wall to restore the normal rhythm of the heart during ventricular fibrillation. The most common type of defibrillator used now is the automated external defibrillator (AED) which is simple to use for the layperson.  

WHS legislation does not prescribe the provision of defibrillators in the workplace. The provision of external defibrillators is a company decision. A risk assessment is recommended considering the type of workplace, nature of work, geographical location of the workplace, and any other relevant factors.    

Providing an automated external defibrillator can reduce the risk of fatality from cardiac arrest according to Safe Work Australia’s First Aid in the Workplace Code of Practice. It is particularly useful for workplaces where there is a risk of electrocution, where there are large numbers of members of the public or industries that have a history or higher than average of relevant incidents.  A professional can always be engaged to give an assessment of the need for an AED.  

Automated external defibrillators are designed to be used by trained or untrained persons. It is recommended they are kept in an area that is clearly visible, accessible, and not exposed to extreme temperatures. Clear signage and maintenance, according to the manufacturer’s specifications, are essential. First-aid training is now providing training in the use of AEDs in the workplace. 

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