Fraudulent or Inadequate CPR Training Becoming a Concern

Oct. 4, 2013
When a co-worker, family member or stranger experiences sudden cardiac arrest, you don’t want to worry that your CPR training was inadequate.

When assessing the myriad of safety risks, health hazards and sometimes devastating catastrophes that can possibly occur while on the job, sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) typically isn’t top-of-mind.  But what most workers don’t realize is that SCA actually is the leading cause of death in the United States and the workplace.  

In fact, SCA claims the lives of more than 383,000 Americans annually, and you are 155 times more likely to die of an SCA than you are in a building fire. The survival rate for a burn victim is 96 percent, but is less than 8 percent for an untreated SCA victim.

In honor of Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) Month, Health & Safety Institute (HSI) is warning the public about the prevalence of fraudulent online CPR training and the public health and safety risk that results from responders inadequately prepared to administer these lifesaving techniques.

HSI points out that no major nationally recognized training program in the United States endorses certification in CPR, first aid or professional-level resuscitation without hands-on skill practice and evaluation by a qualified instructor. Yet consumers can easily find web sites that offer “instant CPR and first aid certification,” which feature online-only CPR and first aid  “courses” or “exams” that “meet requirements” and that have no hands-on skill practice or evaluation component.

In August 2012, HSI Senior Vice President of Strategic Partnerships Ralph Shenefelt requested a Letter of Interpretation (LOI) from the OSHA Directorate of Enforcement Programs for a clarification of OSHA’s standards pertaining to basic first aid and CPR. When asked whether OSHA considers online-only training acceptable for meeting the intent of the basic first aid and CPR requirements of OSHA standards at 29 CFR 1910.151, 1910.146, 1910.266, 1910.269, 1910.410 and 1926.950, OSHA’s response was that “online training alone would not meet the requirements of these training standards. ‘

Other national training bodies such as the American Heart Association, the National Safety Council and the American Red Cross also make a case against online-only training offerings. A web site sponsored by HSI provides consumers a list of “trigger” words to avoid when shopping for training using the Internet, a list of reputable producers and providers of CPR training and clarification concerning the difference between “online-only” and “blended learning” training, which features a combination of online content with a practical hands-on skill session. The site also includes a link to the Federal Trade Commission and a tutorial on how to file a claim for fraudulent advertising.

“We felt it was important to help training consumers understand that these online-only offers will not meet their workplace requirements for first aid and resuscitation training, and to raise awareness that reading about CPR is not the same as learning to perform it from a qualified instructor,” explains HSI CEO Bill Clendenen. “The wide-spread promotion of compression-only CPR has removed a lot of the fear from attempting to save a life, but there is no substitute for hands-on practice. We invite all emergency care training providers to add a link to this site on their own webpages to help inform the public about this practice which does not meet workplace standards.”

While it may not be the most devastating of disasters, taking proper precautions to prepare for SCA is vital to any organization’s risk management or emergency response policy.

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