Gareth Lock

Diver Error Highlights the Lethality within the System

Debriefing allows lessons to be learned—successes and failures. Photo by Gareth Lock.

Diving is not without risk—there is always a chance of death. There is always a latent or potential lethality within the “system”—where system is defined as the equipment, people and the physical, social or cultural environment. We cannot make diving 100 percent safe despite what anyone tells you. We can make things safer, but we cannot make diving safe.

Is Diving Really Safe?

Admittedly a rather contentious title, but it's supposed to be. Debates over whether diving, or even certain types of diving, are safe sometimes get emotive and heated, depending on the arguments being made. These include: Is closed circuit rebreather diving safe? How much safer is recreational rebreather diving than open circuit? Is cave diving safe? Is recreational diving to 18m on open circuit safe?

Just Culture

Debriefing allows lessons to be learned—successes and failures. Photo by Gareth Lock.

A diver had an oxygen toxicity seizure because an incorrect gas was filled in a cylinder by a dive centre. A baby died because the wrong dose of medication was injected. Who is to blame for the error and how do we try to make sure that these types of incidents aren’t repeated?