January Tips from the PADI Quality Management Team

Each month the PADI Quality Management team continues to bring you tips on how to maintain and improve safety in your professional diving activities. This month we heard from Quality Management Consultant  Kim Ngan.

Welcome to the New Year from your Quality and Risk Management team. In 2019 we are going back to basics to dig into the fundamentals of risk management practice. We will present seminars and webinars throughout the Asia Pacific region that will examine how to evaluate risk and then how to treat that risk in a scuba and snorkeling context. We will consider how to implement simple and pragmatic methods to reduce your physical and legal risk. We will introduce a way to evaluate risk using a three-prong approach, ‘EAP’ or ‘Environment – Activity – People’. Watch this space for more information.

Through articles in Surface Interval, we will bring you tips on how to maintain and improve safety in your professional diving activities.

SCUBA Risk Management – Back to Basics

Scuba diving is like driving a car. If you’re careful and pay attention it’s a very safe activity, but if you’re not it can be dangerous.” – Ronnie Prevost

Before you become a dive professional, do you remember being thrilled by simply diving to 10 metres? Breathing underwater, seeing the amazing marine life and experiencing weightlessness were new and exciting experiences for you.

Soon you became a PADI Divemaster, then a PADI Instructor and you began diving with your own open water students or certified divers. You might have even been taking these students or certified dives to lovely sites such as Chumphon in Koh Tao, Norman Reef in the Great Barrier Reef, Crystal Bay in Nusa Penida, or The Poor Knights in New Zealand. You found it was quite easy to dive deeper yourself. The water was often warm and clear and you had to pay special attention to stay within your no-decompression limits. It could also have been easy to forget that your students or newly certified divers could get a still buzz under the water at 10 metres.

Depth, Ratios & Good Judgement – The EAP Method

We know that things usually go wrong when we are not paying attention. Remember, we have a duty of care to students in training courses and to customers in recreational dives. Conduct a risk assessment before each and every dive, while also continuing to assess, evaluate and take into account any changing variables, during the dive. The ratios and depths listed in your PADI Instructor manual are maximum limits. This means that you must apply sound judgment in determining what is appropriate for training each time you conduct a course or program. You can conduct the PADI Adventure Deep Dive, for example, to a depth of between 18 metres and 30 metres. The depth you choose, within this allowable range, should be based on the environment, the activity and the people undertaking the activity.

E for Environment

The dive site you visit every day does not necessary have the same conditions every day. Supervising four Discover Scuba Diving (DSD) participants on a calm and sunny day with 20 metre visibility is very different from diving with the same number of DSD participants on the next day if it becomes rainy and windy with 5 metre visibility. What would you change in the way you conducted the dive?

It’s your professional responsibility to conduct an environmental risk assessment by evaluating variables such as – temperature, visibility, water movement, surface conditions and the entry and exit area. Use good judgment at all times. When conditions are marginal, make conservative decisions by reducing ratios, going to an alternate site, or even cancelling the dive.

A for Activity

What is the activity? Does it involve risks that are different to other activities? Deep dives, Discover Scuba Diving, overhead environments, drift dives and other dive activities have risks specifically associated with the activity itself. Evaluate these risks and if appropriate change the ratio, depth, or other variables.

P for People

The individual ability of each of your student divers, the certifications they hold, the group size, the number of certified assistants available and your personal abilities and limitations, should all be considered when evaluating the ‘P’ of the ‘People’ factor. You should reduce the ratio or the depth from the maximums if appropriate. Your PADI professional training and experience, plus the PADI resources – such as PADI manuals, references, Training Bulletins, The Undersea Journal, the PADI Pros’ Site and staff at your PADI Regional Headquarters – are all available to help you stay up-to-date and assist you in making sound judgements when you have any questions.

Why not start off the New Year by refreshing your knowledge about risk management from these references. Have a great 2019 and safe diving everyone.

Kim Ngan  | Quality Management Consultant, PADI Asia Pacific.

Email: qa@padi.com.au

PADI Asia Pacific Quality Management – A Brief Recap of 2018

2018 has been a big year for the PADI Asia Pacific Quality Management Team! Seminars, webinars, member updates, member excellence awards, saying goodbye to old faces and as well as welcoming new ones into the team has kept us all extremely busy. Since this is our last article for the year, it seems only fitting that we take a look back on an excellent year and share some of our highlights with you.

Risk Management Programme

This year PADI members have attended an impressive amount of Risk Management Seminars in the field. Close to 50 seminars across 3 languages have been delivered live and in person for PADI members. Over 1200 PADI members from all walks of life attended these seminars spanning across Asia Pacific. Members contributed their ideas and real life experiences to help us all make diving as safe as we possibly can. PADI Risk Management Seminars feature relevant information which is compiled from real data and trends occurring in the field. Risk Management seminars give PADI members a chance to listen to real scenarios, ask questions and provide their input and experience. Problem solving and solution thinking feature strongly in these seminars. This programme is an enormous benefit of the membership and diving safety in general. Attendance is one of the benefits of your PADI membership so please join us for seminars in 2019.  Don’t forget by attending you will receive seminar credit to count towards higher PADI membership credentials.

The team has also had a lot of fun delivering our quarterly Risk Management Webinars this year with the introduction of our fictional PADI members Bob, Betty, Barry and Beatrice. During these webinars the team tackled realistic issues faced by PADI members through the eyes of our fictional members. The webinars are interactive which gives our members a chance to ask a wide array of questions which we endeavour to answer. Our polls help our members see what other member’s thoughts are on specific topics and also provide a great discussion point for all. Again, this is another valuable benefit of the membership so please keep a look out during 2019 for your email invitation to these quarterly Risk Management Webinars.

Member Recognition Programme

In 2018 the QM team had the pleasure of recognising PADI members for their excellence in the field. This programme recognises PADI members who received outstanding feedback from students and customers with regards to training and customer service. This year the QM team had the pleasure of delivering over 1000 Excellence Awards for our members in Asia Pacific. We also nominated members every month for the Member of the Month Awards (a global award recognising the best of the best). Finally recognising the efforts of Emergency First Response members in the field who provide first aid and rescue support at incidents they encounter is incredibly rewarding. Well done everyone and keep up the fantastic work!

Quality Management

Maintaining the high standards by which PADI members are know is a role for all of us. Whether it be store owners, centre manager, instructors or PADI staff we are all invested in keeping diving safe and providing excellence in training and customer experiences. Because of this commitment to excellence, the vast majority of PADI customers receive an excellent level of service. Where the level of training or service falls short of PADI standards, the Quality Management Department is there to provide support, education, retraining and in a small number of cases to take punitive action. For more about the Quality Management Programme refer to your Guide to Teaching or padi.com under consumer protection.

Newest Member

The QM team is very excited to welcome Kim Ngan who is our newest Quality Management Consultant. Kim has previously worked for PADI as a Regional Training Consultant, is a Master Instructor, and brings a wealth of expertise from her teaching background in Queensland. Be sure to say hello to Kim at one of our many seminars during 2019.

Thank You

As the year draws to a close we would like to thank our members for your support and remind you that in 2019 you can count on us to continue to deliver a superior level of Quality Assurance and Risk Management support to our individual and store members.

We welcome your feedback as always and you can contact us at qa@padi.com.au or for incidents incident@padi.com.au

We wish you all a wonderful festive season and that you all have happy, safe diving for the year to come!

All the best from your PADI Asia Pacific Quality Management Team.

Email: qa@padi.com.au

November Tips from the PADI Asia Pacific Quality Management Team

Each month the PADI Asia Pacific Quality Management team continues to bring you tips on how to maintain and improve safety in your professional diving activities. This month we heard from Quality Management Consultant  Rebecca Wastall.

The Environment & Risk Management 

“We are blessed with a career that puts us in contact with the ocean – and the ocean demands our respect. Treat her with respect and she will give you a lifetime of adventures, but underestimate her at your peril. Remember: be prudent in your decision making, put your students’ safety above your ego and – if in doubt – stay out.”- Richard Somerset, PADI.

Many of us entered careers as PADI Dive professionals because we love the ocean and its inhabitants.

The famous Jacques Cousteau once said…….

“The sea once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever”

It is true, which is why with the support of Project AWARE we strive to maintain this environment, but do we give it the respect it deserves from a risk management perspective?

The environments people dive in vary all over the world. A diver trained in one environment may not be comfortable in another until they have had some experience and learned the techniques specific to that environment. A diver that is confident in warm clear waters may need extra assistance to adapt to a cold water environment with poor visibility. How many of us check our diver’s history, even if they are simply on a guided dive? Do we ask to see our customers log books? Are we asking the right questions to determine the risks our divers might have. Do we identify who may be susceptible to the risks that are present?

We should consider all of these factors every time we dive. Take a few minutes to mentally review the environment on each diving day and applying that to our customers training and experience levels. Ways we can evaluate the match of student ability to environment include environmental checks (looking or even getting in the water to check on current and visibility), and checking student qualifications and logbooks. The fact is every day is different. Don’t get complacent with the environment assuming it will be the same every time we dive. Set the example for others and consider the risks, pass that message on and create a culture of safety.

Financial pressures of running a dive centre combined with the changing environmental conditions we face mean you could be risking a bad dive to pay the bills. Do you at times feel forced to put finances first? The knock on effect maybe you get a bad review or a complaint but ultimately you need to ask are you risking customer’s safety.

Sometimes we hear of cases of concerned divers and instructors who feel they have been forced to dive in poor environmental conditions or make a poor judgement call which has led to an incident. So who takes responsibility for calling a dive off? Who determines if the dive site is suitable for a diver? Ultimately if an incident occurs the liability is likely to rest with the individual member who was supervising the dive. You would not be able to say “but my boss told me it would be fine”. With our training comes the responsibility to make good judgements. We know the risks – now make the call.

While uncommon there is potential risk to divers from interactions with marine organisms. The most common of these is when a diver brushes up against or lands on a marine invertebrate through poor buoyancy control techniques. We should provide thorough briefings describing what aquatic animals divers come across and ensure they know not to touch organisms, to be careful in the sand and not to sit on the coral. This may seem obvious to many of us but there have been situations where instructors are missing this important part of their briefings. So what is the best solution? Again think about the level of risk. Being gentle with the approach, informing your students about the wildlife in the area is an important part of your briefing. So instead of telling someone ‘the titan triggerfish will attack you’, say ‘this is a fish we respect when nesting and give him the distance he needs to protect his young’. Instead of saying ‘don’t kneel in the sand as you may find yourself with a barb in your knee’, say ‘look closely when in the sand as delicate creatures live there and we want to maintain their habitat’. Don’t shy away from the risks but address them carefully and appropriately to the level of risk they pose. This way you are educating about marine life as well as helping divers to minimise the risks.

Let’s work together with our customers to preserve and enjoy the aquatic environment – after all it is a privilege to be able to explore its depths.

Rebecca Wastall | Quality Management Consultant, PADI Asia Pacific.

Email: qa@padi.com.au

October Tips from the PADI Asia Pacific Quality Management Team

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 Michelle Brunton, Manager Quality and Risk Management – PADI Asia Pacific.

Influencing Diving Behaviour

A dive store owner asked me the other day – “how can I get my instructors to be more conservative in the way they plan dives? I’ve told them to be more careful and we have it written in the employee handbook but I can’t seem to get them to change the way they do things when I‘m not looking”.

From a safety point of view store owners, instructors and training managers can assume a certain right and responsibility to try to minimise the risks of activities undertaken with their store. The underlying question to answer is “What drives human behaviour?” There are many models of human behaviour that we could consider but I think Plato summed it up when he wrote:

“Human behavior flows from three main sources: desire, emotion, and knowledge” Plato.

Whatever behaviour we are wanting to establish we need to find ways to link the behaviour to the desires and emotions of the people involved and we need to provide education about how to practice the new behaviour. There are three ways we can break this down. People will change their behaviour if they see the new behaviour as easy, rewarding and normal.

Make it easy: Make good diving behaviour easy logistically.

  • Give your staff the resources they need to make diving safe – are there sufficient surface marker buoys, compasses and dive computer or digitimers on training equipment?
  • Establish safe training sites that ensure divers can’t exceed planned dive parameters. Have a list of acceptable dive sites for each level of training and customer experience.
  • Have signs on the boat and in the store that explain the pre-dive safety briefing to help them remember and practice the steps.
  • Provide staff training opportunities to brush up on skills especially rescue skills, first aid and use of oxygen.
  • Have regular meetings about ‘near misses’ to discuss what happened and what can be learnt.

Make it rewarding: Link the new behaviour to something that creates pride for that person.

This is where behaviour connects to values; you have to show people how behaving in these new ways will support what they value.  For example, if someone deeply values having positive human interactions help them to see how behaving in a certain way toward customers will improve the interactions.

  • Notice and celebrate positive results with colleagues and staff. Recognise procedures you have put in place that have resulted in a safer experience for customers.
  • If customers give you positive feedback share it and celebrate it with each other.
  • The PADI membership recognition programme also notices and celebrates when PADI professionals get positive feedback through attaboys certificates and member of the month awards. Connect with this programme by sending positive customer feedback with us at qa@padi.com.au.
  • Have employee ‘Safe Diver of the Month’ awards for instructors and dive guides.

Normal: This is the way we always do it here

In order to change the way they behave, we need to feel that “people like me act this way, and people I admire act this way”. Human beings, for the most part, don’t want to be the odd person out. We are naturally wired to want to belong. Even people who consider themselves rebels tend to emulate rebels they admire!  If we want employees, colleagues or divers around us to behave differently, we have to give them some evidence that their peers (at least the ones they like) and their role models are behaving in those ways.

  • Make sure store owners, training managers and senior staff role model desired diving behaviours every time they dive.
  • Have visual clues around the store that support the message that safe diving practices are “just what we do”.
  • Establish keeping your mask in place and snorkel in your mouth on the surface as ‘normal’ diving behaviour (in the case of tech divers carrying a snorkel in the pocket).
  • Manage gas safely. If your lower gas returning limit is 70 bar make sure all your diving leaders follow this rule themselves.

Many psychologists would say the only behaviour we can control is our own. This is true but when we have a level of responsibility for the safety of others we need to ensure that we do what we can do to minimise the risks.

Whether it’s our student divers or our fellow dive leaders, if we are wanting to influence others to dive safely, understanding the underpinning motivators that drive behaviour will assist us in making diving at our dive store as safe as possible.

Michelle Brunton, Manager Quality and Risk Management – PADI Asia Pacific.

Email: qa@padi.com.au