In 2018 the PADI Asia Pacific Quality Management team continues to bring you tips from PADI staff in the field on how to maintain and improve safety in your professional diving activities. This month we heard from PADI Asia Pacific Quality Management Consultant, Rebecca Wastall, and PADI Asia Pacific Vice President, Training, Sales, & Field Services, Danny Dwyer.
“An injury that seems insignificant at the time can become something more serious in the days and weeks that follow. If a diver has an incident, stay in contact with them to determine if signs and symptoms are getting better or worse. Staying in contact with your students/customers after an incident helps to determine how serious the incident is and it’s also great customer service.” PADI Asia Pacific Vice President, Danny Dwyer.
How many time have you heard “There is no need to write a report, that’s not serious enough” or “Don’t worry the store will write the report on behalf of everyone involved.” Do you as a member actually know when you should submit a report? It may be more often than you think.
So how is it defined? Let’s refer to your PADI instructor manual for guidance.
“Submit a PADI Incident Report Form to your PADI Office immediately after you witness or are involved in a diving or dive operation-related accident/incident, regardless of whether the incident occurred in or out of the water, is training related, recreational, technical or seemingly insignificant.”
If an incident or ‘near-miss’ occurs write up an incident report and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learning from incidents
It would be good practice to then investigate what happened and who was involved. Are there any recommendations for further safety procedures? What can be learnt from the incident to minimise the chances of the same thing occurring in the future? To quote Benjamin Franklin “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Investigating the causal factors of incidents can help you reduce the likelihood of a future incident and give all some piece of mind that you are doing your best to prevent an incident from occurring.
Treat for the worst case scenario
There is a tried and true saying in risk management that says “Treat the worst case scenario.” In a recent case the dive crew aboard a boat ‘diagnosed’ a customer with seasickness instead of Decompression Sickness. The diver did not receive medical treatment or oxygen. The diver subsequently went to hospital themselves and received hyperbaric treatment and serious long lasting injuries as a result of DCS. Had the dive crew made a phone call to the closest diver emergency services the responsibility for ‘diagnosing’ and giving medical advice would have been shifted from them to the experts. The customer would have received the treatment in a timely manner which may have minimized the physical consequences. The incident report would have been documented and the store and staff would be in a much better position.
Consequences of not reporting an incident
The consequences of not reporting an incident or near miss can vary depending on the nature of the incident and country it occurred in. You have an obligation under your membership to report the incident to PADI. Failure to report an incident may mean your insurance is delayed in being utilized. It could be seen as a failure on a member’s behalf to take a matter seriously and could be used against you in a negligence claim. Without the incident report you have no “Aide memoire” to call on for guidance. This is a document written at the time of the incident and is considered to be more accurate than recall from memory alone. Often the question asked is “How can you possibly remember the detail several years later.” Even for incidents that might be perceived to be ‘minor’ in nature it is better to have a report on record than to possibly miss an incident report which turns out to be something more serious. If an incident does occur PADI Quality Management Department and territory staff are here to support you and answers any questions you may have.
Rebecca Wastall, Quality Management Consultant, PADI Quality Management.