Servicing Your Workplace Defibrillator Could Save Lives

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A new study by leading medical equipment maintenance provider JPen Medical shows that there is a one in ten chance that a workplace defibrillator may not work properly - even if it has passed a self-test. Only servicing carried out by a trained professional can ensure that the device will function correctly, if called upon to save a life.

Early defibrillation can triple a victim’s chance of survival.

There are thousands of Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) in the public arena and the numbers are increasing in the workplace all the time. Most defibrillators will be checked regularly through a self test as part of an organisation’s routine health and safety procedures. However, a study by JPen Medical has revealed that around one tenth of the devices would fail to deploy the correct electrical charge, at the correct time and in the correct way, if used to treat someone suffering sudden cardiac arrest (SCA).

Defibrillation needs to be prompt – and the electrical charge precise. According to the British Heart Foundation, with every minute that passes following a cardiac arrest, the chances of survival decrease by 14%. AEDs analyse the heart rhythm, determining whether arrhythmia – an irregular heart beat has occurred. This process can take up to 20 seconds, the device will then charge and deliver a shock if necessary.

Peter Averill, General Manager of JPen Medical which is part of PHS Compliance, commented: “The statistics for SCA are sobering, 12 people under the age of 35 die every week due to sudden heart failure in the UK, and a total of around 270,000 people suffer a heart attack in the country each year. About a third of this number die before reaching hospital. On a more positive note, early defibrillation can triple a victim’s chance of survival.”

The standard medical defibrillators found in hospitals, medical centres and in use by paramedics will invariably undergo regular scheduled live testing and medical equipment maintenance. However, apart from self-testing, there is no guarantee that non-medical AEDs receive such stringent maintenance and live testing.

Yet live medical device testing is inexpensive (less than £40) and can be conducted onsite by qualified engineers to ensure the device discharges a full set of stepped shocks, takes correct patient readings and discharges appropriately. The engineer will ensure that battery and pad expiry dates are logged and monitored so that the user can be notified about impending replacement dates.

Peter Averill said: “It is great that AEDs are becoming more widely available throughout the UK, but it would be terrible if a unit failed to work when it was needed. The medical profession has been live-testing its defibrillators for years. However, thorough testing by a qualified engineer will give the device owner or operator peace of mind that the AEDs will work correctly when needed.”


Notes to editors:

JPen Medical is part of PHS Compliance, owned by the PHS Group. The PHS Group started trading in 1963 and has since grown to become one of the UK’s leading workplace and waste management service providers. It has developed a vast range of products and services to help businesses manage their entire waste streams. Everything from confidential shredding to hazardous waste disposal, clinical waste to aerosol recycling, and general waste to light bulb recycling.

Operating from nearly 100 regional branches across the UK, PHS Group takes care of waste disposal for around 200,000 customers, providing exceptional customer care, whilst delivering efficient and reliable services. Its commitment to the very highest environmental standards, and the ability to provide a UK wide tailor made waste collection service, has made it the natural choice for businesses and organisations of all sizes, in all sectors. PHS Group believe in simplifying the complex and time consuming nature of waste management, providing an easy to use service for all types of difficult to manage wastes, whether they are destined for treatment, landfill, recycling or incineration.

Visit PHS Wastemanagement’s new website at

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Victoria Madine/Linda Donaldson
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