The best is the enemy of the good

A short while ago Gareth asked me to write a blog for this website, as a newly qualified Human Factors in Diving Instructor. We talked about a subject and all seemed ok. But try as I might, I just could not explain the topic as eloquently as I wanted. So, we had another chat and I tried a different theme. Same result. The problem was that no matter what I wrote, I just didn’t feel it matched up to what Gareth and the other new instructors had written. And that’s when it hit me- I was out Human-Factoring myself.

I’ve been instructing various sports for twenty years and consider myself to be a capable and cautious instructor. I’ve been teaching diving for ten years, so you think by now I’d be quite happy with my level of knowledge. But that’s the thing; almost every time I step foot into the classroom, I’m waiting for someone to call me out, to realise that I actually don’t have  clue what I’m talking about and I don’t...

Continue Reading...

Quanto sono sicure le tue immersioni?

Che cosa significa “sicura” per te? Il dizionario la definisce come “protetta da, o non esposta a pericoli o rischi; improbabile che venga danneggiata o persa” nell’ambito delle immersioni, noi spesso pensiamo ad un rischio fisico. Il che può includere problemi decompressivi, ferite causate da organismi animali, essere separati dalla barca o dal gruppo, rimanere impigliati, perdersi in un sistema di grotte od esaurire i gas. Sono tutti esiti profondamente negativi e dei quali dovremmo preoccuparci. Alcuni di questi sono apparsi nell’articolo scientifico pubblicato dal DAN nel 2008 (“Common causes of open-circuit recreational diving fatalities”), nel quale vengono esaminati gli inneschi, gli eventi ed infortuni invalidanti e le cause di decesso durante le immersioni. Quindi dovrebbero assolutamente essere presi in considerazione per lo sviluppo dei nostri piani di gestione del rischio e delle immersioni.

E le altre forme di...

Continue Reading...

Counter-errorism in Diving: Applying Human Factors Training to Recreational Diving

This article was originally published in the Emirates Diving Association magazine on 1 Mar 2020.

There is a growing focus on Human Factors and non-technical skills in the global diving industry, much of which is being driven by Gareth Lock, the UK-based founder of the system described on www.thehumandiver. com. His book ‘Under Pressure’ has helped thousands of people worldwide to take a fresh look at the way they think about diving.

You may be wondering what human factors and non-technical skills are, as it’s not something we talk much about locally.

To demystify these terms, let’s first talk about what they are not. These are not diving qualifications – they are not going to take you deeper or teach you about new diving equipment or diving skills (hence the term ‘non- technical skills’) and they are definitely not ‘just another cert card’ to add to your collection.

Non-technical skills are all about improving decision...

Continue Reading...

I test pre-immersione e le liste di controllo non sono sempre sufficienti a prevenire problemi legati all’attrezzatura!

Uno dei concetti chiave che insegno è che la sicurezza non è necessariamente l’assenza di rischi od incidenti, ma piuttosto la presenza di barriere e difese che permettono al sistema di fallire in sicurezza. Questa definizione arriva da Todd Conklin, un ricercatore e professionista che lavora nell’ambito della sicurezza e delle performance umane nell’industria americana. L’idea è che si sviluppino delle capacità tecniche e non tecniche, che si creino attrezzature, procedure ed addestramenti e che si gestisca la situazione così che si possano affrontare rischi ad un livello gestibile. Tuttavia, non possiamo creare o gestire qualunque cosa in anticipo, quindi dobbiamo essere in grado di affrontare gli eventi imprevisti e poi condividerne le storie, in modo che anche gli altri possano imparare.
 

Nelle immersioni con il rebreather, uno dei modi migliori per accertarsi che la macchina sia pronta e sicura è di...

Continue Reading...

CCR pre-dive checks and checklists are not always enough to prevent an equipment-based accident!

One of the key themes I teach is that safety is not necessarily the absence of accidents or incidents, but rather the presence of barriers and defences and the capacity of the system to fail safely. This quote comes from Todd Conklin, a researcher and practitioner working in the safety and human performance industry in the US. The idea is that we develop technical and non-technical skills and design the equipment, procedures and training and manage the environment so that risk is managed at an acceptable level. However, we can't design or manage everything beforehand, so we need to be able to handle those 'odd events' and then share the stories so that others may learn. 

In rebreather diving, one of the best ways to ensure that the unit is safe to dive is to make sure that the build and final pre-dive checks are completed. However, even if this is done diligently on the surface including packing the scrubber and then executing the complete set of final checks, things can go...

Continue Reading...

How safe is your diving?

What does safe mean to you? The dictionary defines safe as “protected from or not exposed to danger or risk; not likely to be harmed or lost” and in the context of diving, we often think about the physical risks. These can include decompression sickness, animal-induced injuries, separated from the team/boat, entanglement, lost within a cave system or running out of gas. These are all credible negative outcomes which we should be concerned about. In fact, a number of these appear in the 2008 research paper from DAN (Common causes of open-circuit recreational diving fatalities) which examined triggers, disabling event/injuries and causes of death in diving, and so they should be definitely considered as part of our risk management plans and diving plans.

 
But what about another form of safety? A form which Google under project Aristotle identified as the key trait of high-performing teams and without which nothing else really mattered. A form...

Continue Reading...

Dive safety leads to nothingness...and nothingness is unemotive!

How safe are you when you dive and how do you measure safety? Think about the following story and how safe the situation was...

Six divers had decided to undertake a 30m dive from a RHIB. John and Dave were diving as a team with their local university dive club and had over 2000 dives between them. Graham was relatively newly trained as a marshal and had not worked with Brian before. On the dive boat, there were two new divers to the club, Gail and Mark. Both Gail and Mark had successfully completed a check-out dive & dry suit familiarisation course with another instructor in the club, and they were already certified for 40m diving. Graham was keen to do a drift dive in 32m of water. Brian, the cox, was somewhat worried about the conditions as there seemed to be waves forming. However, as long as all divers were certified to 30m diving and effective at getting into the water and back onto the RHIB, he was happy that the risk was acceptable. To allow the Cox and Marshall to...

Continue Reading...

Nine ways to stop your dive team improving...

Where there are accidents, incidents or near misses, there are parts of your behaviour, your team's behaviour, your centre's behaviour or your agency's behaviour that you don't want other people to see. It is only natural. We are hard-wired that way.

Divers make mistakes they don’t talk about, especially given the adversarial culture which is present in the diving industry. However, they are often acting on partial information because they don’t want to ask dumb questions, and they are hiding the things that aren’t going well because they don't want to be humiliated or they don’t want to be the person who thumbs the dive because it will let the others down. As an example of this, of the people on my webinar last night, more than 75% recounted an issue where the dive didn't go to plan because they were unable to speak up and either thumb it, or not get in the water to start with. Inability to communicate due to real or inferred peer pressure is a massive...

Continue Reading...

Leadership in Diving? Why is it needed, it is only a sport..

One of the worst dives I have undertaken was in the Red Sea on a night dive scootering between the four wrecks on the Abu Nuhas reef. The dive itself had the potential to be awesome. 10 divers on scooters, a mixture of OC and CCR divers (I was on CCR), following the reef from left to right on the image below, stopping off at each wreck for a quick look inside and then moving on. Relatively clear warm water. But it was night time. We entered the water late, around dusk. We hadn't planned it, but there was an issue on the boat which meant we were delayed. 

The reason I hated it was because I was responsible for the divers in the group. I wasn't leading it, that was the guide's job, but they weren't keeping track of the divers and I didn't want to lose anyone. At night, 10 HIDs or powerful LEDs all look the same so diver identification was really hard. Ever tried counting 9 black cats in a dark room?! I felt accountable, so I led.

After 70mins, during which...

Continue Reading...

Why is it so hard to talk about failure?

About ten years ago I started up a small section on a UK diving forum (YD then TDF) called “I learned about diving from that…” (ILADFT)  which was based on the RAF Flight Safety magazine section “I learned about flying from that…” where aircrew would write in about their mistakes and close calls and others could learn from them. ILADFT was to be the same. It took a little while to get going, and people would talk about things that went wrong. The basic rule was that negative criticism was banned and posts which ridiculed divers for putting their hands up were stamped on quite quickly; it was the genesis of the ‘Just Culture’ work I have been doing over the years. It was also this that piqued my interested in diving incidents and how to prevent them - the same stories were coming up again and again and yet nothing appeared to be done to talk about them.

Failure...

Continue Reading...
Close

50% Complete

Subscribe Now!

You'll get notified of updates and news.
And we promise not to share, sell or give away your personal details!