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February is Heart Month: underscoring workplace heart health

| Feb 9, 2021 | Workers' Compensation |

More than 700,000 people in the United States, including Ohio, suffer heart attacks each year. Many incidents happen in the workplace. Employers must include heart health and emergency response in the safety training. Essentially, workers must learn about red flags and telltale signs of heart problems and know what to do when co-workers show heart attack symptoms.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, symptoms and signs of heart distress could be subtle. Workers who lack heart-attack safety training might overlook the following red flags:

  • Discomfort or pain in the chest
  • Breath shortness
  • Discomfort or pain in the arms, upper stomach, jaw, neck, back or arms
  • Cold sweats, lightheadedness or nausea

These symptoms could indicate other conditions, but workers should not ignore them. Even if only some of these symptoms are present, it might warn of an imminent heart attack. Workers who experience any of these symptoms or notice them in co-workers should take the following steps:

  • Call 911, even if there is only suspicion of a heart attack.
  • Do not delay responding because prompt treatment could be life-saving.
  • Have the person lie down or sit, and try to calm them.
  • If the victim is conscious and not allergic, administer an aspirin.
  • At any indication of the person stopping to breathe, a trained worker must perform CPR.
  • If no one is present to do CPR, the 911 operator will give guidance until EMS rescuers arrive.

Survivors of heart attacks in the workplace would likely be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. If the incident causes death, the Ohio workers’ compensation system will provide survivors’ benefits to the deceased worker’s loved ones or dependents.