Marcia O’Boyle, FEI EAP Services Center Manager

When a co-worker suffers a medical emergency at work, addressing it appropriately can
be confusing.

On three different occasions for a former employer, I was allowed to drive co-workers to get medical attention for urgent situations. While all three had good outcomes, such actions would probably not be allowed now, largely due to liability concerns. In addition to risking an accident while driving, I am not a medical professional, nor did I have any particular training that would have helped in case conditions worsened during transport.

More recently, a colleague became ill at work and we called 911. This was the right call. The emergency services team came to him with the necessary equipment and skills to identify, treat, stabilize and transport. The outcome of this also was good.

Even so, it was not enough to simply place the call to 911 and wait. Our workplace is in a large suite in a downtown office building. While waiting, people wisely suggested someone go outside to the front of the building and help flag down and direct EMS, and that someone else be ready to meet them on our floor and take them to our ill colleague.

When there is no emergency unfolding, it’s a good idea to give some thought to how your workplace might respond to a medical crisis. Questions to consider:

Does anyone have special training or certification such as CPR? Do you know who? Do you know where you can find such information?

Does your workplace have any special equipment or kits for emergency needs? Where is it? Who knows how to use it?

Would emergency personnel need help accessing your workplace? Do doors need to be unlocked and opened? Can staff be made available to bring emergency personnel to the
affected person?

It may be a good idea to offer some basic emergency training to employees. The American Red Cross offers options including CPR, first aid and training designed specifically for employees.

However, larger questions of staff safety and emergency planning should be established in your organization’s policies and procedures before a crisis can take place. FEI specializes in preparedness, response and recovery associated with the human dimensions of crisis and trauma.

Contact us today to learn about how we can help your workforce plan for medical emergencies.