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...

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It's the little things that catch you out...

Humans like to do things efficiently, or as some call it, cutting corners. The problem is that when the configuration changes and the diver cannot recall the 'situation' and it bites, it sometimes ends up with a dead diver. 

Complacency is a term often used as one of the key factors when it comes to diving fatality reports. The problem is that complacency is only really apparent after the event because we have had something occur that shows us how far we are from the ideal. The same mental developmental processes which allow us to operate efficiently are also the same processes which can lead to an accident. Complacency can be summed up as the difference between the perceived model of the world and the reality of the situation. To save time, humans create models of expectation of what is happening around them so that we don't have to process vast amounts of information. If nothing changes, we run that mental model making assumptions about what will happen in X...

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