What should an employer do when an employee has a heart attack or stroke at work?

Author: Julie H. Cox

HR should have an emergency action plan in place for major emergency health situations, and employees must be made aware of it. An employer can implement training and regular drills to ensure employees are aware of the plan and how to follow through on it. All employees should know to call 911 if a heart attack or stroke occurs because time is of the essence in saving heart and brain function during one of these emergencies.

Employees should be trained to greet the emergency workers to show them where the person is and explain what happened. Basic life support measures may be practiced if a qualified person is present. Designated individuals should contact the injured employee's emergency contact and should be trained to comfort employees who are witnesses to the incident.

An employer may wish to have an automatic external defibrillator (AED) on hand also. Good Samaritan clauses may reduce liability for an employer who has an AED. The employer may require employee training for AEDs.