Incident and accident analysis has been a feature of
the commercial airline industry for many years. Subsequently this philosophy was
taken up by with the pioneering work of Professor Bill Runciman at the
department of Anaesthesia, Royal Adelaide Hospital. More recently, Dr Chris Acott (Diving Medicine
Physician, Royal Adelaide
Hospital) has applied this strategy to identify, then subsequently manage
incidents that occur in divers (DIMS). A number of important publications have
arisen already from his work.
It is well recognised that disasters rarely occur due
to an isolated incident, but rather due to a sequence of problems that snowball
and finally overwhelm the "defences" in place. For example, a diver’s
LP inflator hose disconnects underwater. The diver drops into the silt and
visibility is obscured, physical contact with the guideline is lost or a tangle
ensues. Panic increases air consumption which limits the available time to
resolve the scenario.….
By identifying and fixing seemingly minor problems,
this kind of analysis may prevent major problems developing. My goal is to
expand the DIMS project further into recreational cave and "technical"
DIMS (Cave and Technical Diving)
A diving incident is any error or unplanned event that
could, or indeed did, reduce the safety margin for a diver on a particular dive.
The error may have been made by anyone involved with the dive. It may also
include equipment problems. The incident may have been preventable or
unpreventable. Most incidents don’t cause harm, but reporting such incidents
will give valuable information when considered with other incidents. Final
analysis may produce recommendations for diving practice, training or equipment
which will improve diver safety during this type of diving.
No person is identified in the reporting of incidents.
The information is not available to any legal process. Anonymity
Cave Diving –
diving in a cave where direct access to the surface is not possible. This
includes both marine and inland sites.
Technical diving –
For the purpose of this study, a technical dive includes any of the
following: Planned decompression, an overhead environment, depth greater than
40m, the use of any type of rebreather, breathing gases other than air or EANx
22-40% oxygen in nitrogen.
Reporting of results
All DIMS forms will be returned to Dr Chris Acott, or via
electronic form to Dr Richard Harris. Reports relating to Cave or Technical
diving will be analysed as a subset by Richard Harris. The results of data
analysed in the DIMS (Cave and Technical diving) will be published in the diving
medical literature, and important findings made available to the relevant
recreational diving training agencies, associations and bodies. Again, I
emphasise that no identifying characteristics of any diver or other individual
will be made public.