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Though CPR training is not required by OSHA for many organizations, it’s still a valuable tool you can use to improve worker safety.
Dive. For commercial dive team members, workers must be trained in CPR as outlined in OSHA Standard 1910.410, with an “American Red Cross standard course or equivalent.”9
There are a few other industries where CPR is recommended, if not required. These can be found in OSHA Standards 1915— Occupational Safety and Health Standards for Shipyard Employment and 1926—Safety and Health Standards for Federal Service Contracts.
Recommended, but not required
For industries that do not fall under those categories, worker CPR certification is not required, but it is recommended. When it comes to CPR training and first aid requirements, OSHA said in a letter dated April 15, 1999, “Although it is not an OSHA requirement that employers provide Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) training, OSHA’s ‘Guidelines for First Aid Training Programs’ recommends that CPR training be a general program element of a first aid program.”10
In an interpretation letter dated January 16, 2007, OSHA explained that employers need to make sure that adequate first aid is available to workers in sufficient time. It can be performed by someone in the workplace or an external responder.11
If an employer or worksite is not in “near proximity” to an infirmary, clinic, hospital or emergency service provider, “a person or persons shall be adequately trained to render first aid.”12 Although OSHA does not specifically define “near proximity,” the agency has explained it to mean three to four minutes in a letter of interpretation.13
But a set time one company uses might not be necessary for another. In an interpretation letter, OSHA said, “OSHA recognizes that a somewhat longer response time of up to 15 minutes may be reasonable in workplaces, such as offices, where the possibility of such serious work-related injuries is more remote.”14
No matter what time table you are working with, understanding the basic requirements of CPR and AED certification can be the difference between life and death.
In an interpretation letter from 2012, OSHA briefly outlines what is and isn’t required for certification.15 It notes that online training isn’t enough. Workers must practice the skills in person. The letter points to OSHA’s “Best Practices Guide: Fundamentals of a Workplace First-Aid Program” for guidance.16
When determining how often to retrain/recertify workers, this guide offers a suggestion: “Numerous studies have shown
a retention rate of six to 12 months of these critical skills. ThThe American Heart Association’s Emergency Cardiovascular Care Committee encourages skills review and practice sessions at least every six months for CPR and AED skills. Instructor-led retraining for life-threatening emergencies should occur at least annually. Retraining for non-life-threatening response should occur periodically.”
It should be noted the guide is just that, a guide. It doesn’t replace any standards. “The guide is advisory in nature, informational in content, and is intended to assist employers in providing a safe and healthful workplace.”
Worker Interest
Is CPR training something workers are interested in? According to a survey by Edelman Intelligence for the American Heart Association, the answer is simple: yes. A total of 2,000 workers were surveyed in 2017. More than 90 percent said if their employer had first aid or CPR/AED training, they would likely sign up.17
There’s no denying the importance of CPR training. The chance of saving a life greatly improves when CPR is used. Though it’s not required by OSHA for many organizations, it’s still a valuable tool you can use to improve your worker’s health and safety.
Alex Saurman is the content editor for Occupational Health & Safety magazine.
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6. standardnumber/1910/1910.266
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9. standardnumber/1910/1910.410
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11. standardinterpretations/2007-01-16-0
12. standardnumber/1910/1910.151
13. standardinterpretations/2007-01-16-0
14. standardinterpretations/2007-01-16-0
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17. workers-unprepared-for-workplace-cardiac-emergencies-sur veys-find
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