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Workplace Defibrillators: Everything You Need to Know

Workplace Defibrillators: Everything You Need to Know

Workplace Defibrillators: Everything You Need to Know

Less than one in 10 people in the UK survive a cardiac arrest that occurs outside of a hospital. Because death can occur within minutes of cardiac arrest, many businesses have taken ownership of the responsibility to increase the number of AEDs available and make sure that they can provide critical support if cardiac arrest strikes.

If you are a business owner or manager and have decided to install a workplace AED, it’s one of the most responsible steps towards keeping your staff and customers safe. You never know when someone could go into cardiac arrest, and having an AED available could be life-saving.

If you’re still wondering ‘do I need a defibrillator at work?’ you’re in the right place. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about workplace AEDs.

AED in public space

Are defibrillators mandatory in the workplace? UK Laws

Currently, it is not a legal requirement for all businesses to provide access to a defibrillator under the Health and Safety (First-Aid) regulations 1981 in the same way that a workplace first aid kit is. While some businesses must provide access to defibrillators, others must conduct a needs assessment to determine whether the device is legally required.

Whether or not your business is legally required to install an AED depends on several factors, including:

  • How heavy the footfall is within your business premises (and therefore how likely it is that a cardiac arrest could occur).
  • The age and condition of people who pass through your premises (if they are old or more likely to suffer from heart conditions this increases the risk of cardiac arrest).
  • Where the premises are situated (if it is in a remote area or one with slower ambulance response times).

But more and more businesses have volunteered to install a defibrillator regardless of their specific needs in order to support people in the event of an emergency and demonstrate their willingness to keep people safe. A defibrillator is the only thing that will save someone from cardiac arrest.


The benefits of a defibrillator in the workplace mean that you could be saving a life when a person has very few options. Businesses are perfectly positioned to increase the number of AEDs throughout the country, meaning a stronger medical response is becoming available to everyone.

Requirements for Defibrillators in the Workplace

Defibrillator requirements workplaces should take into consideration how easy it will be for the AED to be found, accessed, and used at the critical moment. 

How many defibrillators do I need?

Further to the question ‘do you have to have a defibrillator in the workplace?’, some larger business premises might need to consider how many they are equipped with. The number of defibrillators your business needs will depend on the layout, size, and nature of the premises. Your AED should be:

  • In an area of high footfall.
  • Easily visible to a lot of people.
  • Not behind restricted access doors if possible.
  • In an area that many people are aware of or can be described quickly, for example, next to the reception desk.

Use this method to determine how many AEDs you should have and where they should be placed:

  1. Take a floor plan of your business and mark the proposed location of your AED. 
  2. Take a stopwatch and quickly walk north of the proposed location for one minute (do not run). Mark your location on the floor plan. 
  3. Repeat step two for directions east, west, and south. Draw a circle connecting the four spots. This is the radius of one minute’s distance from your AED.
  4. Check to see which areas have been left out. If your budget allows for it, propose locations for additional AEDs that cover these missed spaces, otherwise, you should always opt for the busiest areas to locate your AEDs. Any areas that are hard to access should have their own AED if possible.

AED Maintenance

Under the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998, your workplace AED is classed as work equipment that must be maintained to keep it in good working condition. Under this regulation, you should also train staff members in its use.

Keeping replacement defibrillator batteries on the premises is a good way to ensure your AED always has a backup supply if the batteries need to be replaced quickly. You can also protect your AED and keep it in good condition by storing it in a mounted defibrillator cabinet.

Awareness Training

The HSE recommends awareness training on the use of automated external defibrillators in the workplace to increase confidence in staff should they ever need to use one. Including AED training together with first aid training for staff members will mean they will be more prepared and willing to use an AED and may spot the signs of cardiac arrest more quickly.

Our guides to using a defibrillator will help you and your staff understand more about how a defibrillator works and how it should be used. Learning about AEDs before an emergency can help you to respond more quickly—something absolutely vital when brain damage can occur within three minutes.

It’s important to remember, though, that AEDs are designed to be used by any member of the public whether or not they have training in using one. While you may be obliged as an employer to train your staff in the use of an AED, they should be available for anyone to use if they are willing and able. 

Placement and Signage

Installing an AED on a wall will make it much more visible and easy to access when seconds count. Use an AED wall bracket to keep your device securely fixed in place, out of harm’s way while normal business operations are performed. 

Consider putting up signs to direct people to where your AED can be found, and at its location to make it clearly visible. Clearly signposting your AED is important so that it can be easily found. Remember that it might not be your staff who need to find the defibrillator so you can’t rely on training and induction alone for people to know where it is.

If a customer is looking for an AED, for example, they should be able to find it by looking around on the walls. Defibrillator signs for workplace AEDs are an easy way to remind staff and show members of the public where your device is. Download free defibrillator signs for your workplace here.

Regular Checks

Make sure your AED and all its accessories are in date and in good condition. Use the spreadsheet below to perform regular checks on all your defibrillator equipment.

The Best Defibrillator for a Workplace

Some of the most important features to look for when buying a defibrillator for work are intuitiveness and simplistic design.

We recommend the iPAD SP1 Semi-Automatic Defibrillator as a reliable, easy to use, simply designed workplace defibrillator UK businesses can depend on. The device:

1. Gives clear audible instructions in steps that can be followed by untrained people.

2. Can be switched between adult and child mode. Find out about using an AED on a child in our blog post How to Use an AED.

3. Analyses the heartbeat and automatically administers a shock if needed

4. Can hand over information to paramedics when they arrive on the scene about any shocks delivered.

If you’re a business owner or you are responsible for AED provision at your workplace and want to know how to get a defibrillator at work, call us on 0161 902 3030 and one of our advisors will be able to help you get set up with everything you need.

How to Register a Defibrillator with Emergency Services

Installing an AED is one of the best things you can do as a responsible business owner, but to make sure your device can be found in a crisis situation it needs to be registered on the national database. The Circuit, developed by the British Heart Foundation, is the national public defibrillator database.

The purpose of the circuit is to help 999 call handlers locate the nearest AED to a caller when they need it. Using geolocation or the location provided by the caller, the ambulance control centre can locate the nearest AED and direct someone on the scene to find it.

Defibrillators are currently used less than one in 20 times when cardiac arrest strikes outside of a hospital. Being able to locate and use an AED early gives the patient a significantly higher chance of survival. Click the button below to navigate to the British Heart Foundation’s website to register your AED.

Register your AED

How to Get a Public Access Defibrillator

It is also important to install defibrillators for football clubs, leisure centres, community centres, and other community spaces. Anywhere that people spend time is somewhere that cardiac arrest could happen. If you run a community space you could be eligible for funding. Find out if your organisation is eligible for funding for a local community defibrillator.

Please enter your details into the form below along with any questions or comments and a member of our team will be happy to provide you with more information:

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