HR Support on Employee Medical Emergencies & Workplace Accidents

Editor's Note: Be prepared for heart attacks, strokes and other medical emergencies.

Ashley ShawOverview: An employer can do much to prevent a tragedy from occurring in the workplace. For example, it can use the safest equipment and offer employees working in dangerous areas the best personal protective equipment available. Some tragedies, though, may be entirely outside of the control of the employer. This can be the case with medical emergencies, such as an employee heart attack, stroke or seizure in the workplace. There are things that the employer can do, though, that will even help prevent these situations, as well as minimize their damage when they do occur.

One of the best ways to prevent a medical emergency is to promote healthy lifestyles through employee health programs. While employers cannot force employees to live healthy lives, they can offer many incentives to both educate employees on how to be healthy and help make it easier for them to accomplish. For example, offering a Wellness Program might be a way to prevent some medical emergencies.

When a medical emergency does happen in the office, employers should be prepared to handle it, thus eliminating the amount of damage it could cause. Having AEDs and training employees in basic life-saving techniques, such as CPR and the Heimlich maneuver, can help stop the worst from happening.

Trends: Most states have a Good Samaritan law, which allows employers and employees some amount of protection from liability for an injury that occurs while rendering free emergency medical care so long as the care was not negligent or intentionally harmful.

Author: Ashley Shaw, JD, Legal Editor

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HR guidance on preventing and responding to workplace medical emergencies.