Tyson Foods Implements Company-wide Defibrillation Program

June 10, 2003
Tyson Foods Inc. is launching a company-wide automated external defibrillator (AED) program to protect its team members from sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), which claims 250,000 lives annually in the United States.

AEDs are small, easy-to-use, portable devices that provide treatment for SCA, one of the country's leading medical emergencies and causes of death. Tyson plans to place at least one Philips HeartStart FR2+ AED in each of its 300 facilities.

"This is a wonderful opportunity for Tyson Foods to be able to provide this lifesaving technology for our team members," said Mary Bunkers, occupational health administrator at Tyson Foods. "By implementing the workplace AED program, there is the potential of increasing the survival rate among cardiac arrest victims by providing lifesaving defibrillation as early as possible."

The company will hold three training sessions in June and July to train its nurse management teams and other designated personnel on using the HeartStart FR2+. These training sessions will be a "Train-the-Trainer" program, so team members will be qualified to train additional response personnel at their facilities.

After training, Tyson will implement the AEDs in two phases. In Phase One, to be complete before Sept. 30, Tyson will deploy 150 AEDs in all its chicken, beef and pork processing plants, as well as the corporate office in Springdale, Ark., and the Dakota Dunes (S.D.) office. In Phase Two, Tyson will purchase additional AEDs and place them in the remainder of its facilities and the processing plants that were assessed to need more than one AED. The assessment of the number of AEDs at a particular facility is based on its square footage and number of team members. Tyson plans to have full implementation of the AEDs in its facilities by the end of December 2003.

"Tyson Foods' most valuable resource is its team members," said LaDonna Bornhoft, senior vice president of assets and risk management at Tyson Foods. "The AED initiative is another step in exploring opportunities to protect and take care of Tyson team members. The ability to potentially save lives is very exciting, and I'm very proud of our company for embracing this program."

The company has approximately 110,000 team members and 300 facilities and offices in 27 states and 22 countries.

About the Author

Sandy Smith

Sandy Smith is the former content director of EHS Today, and is currently the EHSQ content & community lead at Intelex Technologies Inc. She has written about occupational safety and health and environmental issues since 1990.

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