You may have heard that the American Heart Association (AHA) has changed its recommendations for cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in its 2010 American Heart Association Guidelines for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Emergency Cardiovascular Care.

Previously, the association recommended that lay and professional rescuers use the A-B-Cs (Airway-Breathing-Compressions) method of CPR to revive victims of sudden cardiac arrest. By having rescuers first look, listen and feel for normal breathing causes significant delays in starting chest compressions, according to the AHA.

Changing the sequence so that rescuers begin chest compressions right away keeps oxygen-rich blood circulating through the body. AHA believes that any delays, such as for checking for breathing, are detrimental to the victim.

Now the AHA is recommending chest compressions as the first step, followed by airway and breathing, or C-A-B for short.

So what does this all mean to employers?
So what are you expected to do, now that AHA has updated their CPR recommendations?

You don't have to do anything right now. OSHA's requirements have not changed. Per 29 CFR 1910.151(b) employers are still expected to provide a person or persons who are adequately trained to render first aid "(i)n the absence of an infirmary, clinic, or hospital in near proximity to the workplace which is used for treatment of all injured employees ..."

If life-threatening emergencies are anticipated, such as a severe bleeding or suffocation, a 3- to 4-minute response time by outside emergency responders is still OSHA's expectation, based upon a letter of interpretation dated 3/27/2007.

In addition to the first-aid requirements of 29 CFR 1910.151, several OSHA standards also require training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) because sudden cardiac arrest from asphyxiation, electrocution, or exertion may occur. The OSHA standards requiring CPR training are:

1910.146Permit-required Confined Spaces
1910.266 Appendix B: Logging Operations – First-Aid and CPR Training
1910.269 Electric Power Generation, Transmission, and Distribution
1910.410 Qualifications of Dive Team
1926.950 Construction Subpart V, Power Transmission and Distribution

If an employer is covered by one of these specific standards, CPR training would be required by those employees who are covered by the standard. And OSHA accepts first aid and CPR training courses offered by the AHA, American Red Cross, the National Safety Council, and other nationally recognized and private educational organizations.

For more information on workplace safety, visit the J.J. Keller & Associates Web site at www.jjkeller.com.