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    John Joly
    Firstly, I want to wish each of you health and prosperity through the Holidays, whichever you celebrate, and in the future!
    PLEASE respond if you see the advisability of attempting to consolidate all authority over Commercial diving operations (in the USA and its territories) under the mission of the U.S. Coast Guard. The confusion and inadequate auditing/investigation/prosecution of diving operations will never be acceptable until this is done, in my opinion and that of many others with whom I have discussed this move.
    The USCG recently introduced a rate for USCG Diver - a rating which heretofore did not exist. This development will create career divers in the USCG and that will result in well-trained personnel who will be proficient in diving operations and safety. These personnel will be obvious candidates to undertake audits and investigations. Consolidating authority will eliminate the grey areas of oversight and expedite desirable improvements. "Bessie" is only interested in scientific and archeological diving and OSHA has a shown a lack of effectiveness, even interest in proactive involvement in enforcement of existing regulations. Injured divers and the survivors of divers killed at work have little backup and the attorneys they engage have to fight uphill in almost every instance.
    Active pursuit of the consolidation of authority will require some proactive effort by divers, support personnel, Contractors and law firms. This will not happen unless the first steps are taken. Details can be worked out. The Lawmakers who control appropriations must be educated in the need for such responsibility to be added to the USCG mission as it will require additional funding. The costs will be offset by reducing loss of life and injuries which become a financial burden to the government and diving contractors will save money because of reduced costs in assuring compliance and in legal fees. Attorney Bobby Delise has said more than once that he would like to be put out of the diving lawsuit business and he has made a fine career out of handling legal actions which result from injuries and fatalities to divers!
    I urge you to endorse this effort and too pitch in when it starts! Your FIRST act needs to be stating that you approve the effort to Consolidate Authority...
    The following letter has been sent by the wife of Luke Rupping in the hope of getting closure for herself and her daughter. She has asked that the Divers Association publish the letter and Annexures.
    The letter has not been edited or corrected in any way.   
    On the afternoon of January 23, 1991, the Amuriyah, an 82,000-tonne Iraqi oil tanker sunk near Bubiyan Island off the coast of Iraq during Operation Desert Storm. In 2014 it was decided the tanker needed to be removed because it was within the tanker turning circle of a proposed mooring point at Iraq’s Al Basrah Oil Terminal, through which 97percent of Iraq’s crude oil is exported. The sunken vessel is blocking construction of a vital mooring point for the export of crude oil from SMP-5. Oil sales make up 95 percent of Iraqi government revenues, so anything – such as a sunken ship – that blocks additional oil exports must be removed. On the afternoon of January 23, 1991, the Amuriyah, an 82,000-tonne Iraqi oil tanker sunk near Bubiyan Island off the coast of Iraq during Operation Desert Storm. In 2014 it was decided the tanker needed to be removed. To remove the tanker, the 285 meter long hull needed to be cut up into manageable pieces.
    To view more, go to: http://www.thediversassociation.com/index.php?/forums/topic/753-luke-rupping-kuwait-2014/
    NOW is the time to speak up! NOW is when you can help yourself and your colleagues. Use the listed contact information below to demand immediate action by the Coast Guard to implement the updated CFRS for Diving. They have all the necessary information and have had two comment periods for the public and the industry to contribute.
    DECADES, years or months are all too long to wait for responsible action. It has been decades since revision of the CFRs pertaining to Diving activities. Years have passed since the NOSAC committee submitted its proposed changes to the CFRs. Months later, after a second period for comments by the industry and the public, the United States Coast Guard has not released the updated CFRs.
    The Divers Association urges every interested person to contact the Coast Guard, their governmental representatives and every active company in the Diving industry. The anticipated changes won’t revolutionize anything. All of the proposals are already accepted or exceeded by the professional associations in the United States and IMCA.
    Too many lives have been lost or seriously affected by the lack of implementation of more stringent safety measures. Until such measures have the force of law behind them options remain which are chosen for economic reasons or corners are cut so that contractors can remain in business while taking unnecessary chances with the lives of divers. Union and non-union contractors alike want to be as safe as possible. Client companies have varying levels of understanding as to what is safe and what is not. Too often clients see what appears to be excessive personnel and equipment to support what, from their perspective, is simple work. Simple until pressure differential, rigging failure, sea conditions or other factors create an emergency! Dynamic Positioning Systems fail, unseen flaws in rigging or materials cause crushing and trapping incidents and the seafloor or load shifts in unpredictable ways which can injure or trap a diver.
    If a dive team member has not seen such emergencies that person has likely not been diving or supporting dive operations for very long. The clients need to be educated regarding the cost in dollars of incidents which can be prevented by having sufficient manning levels, equipment and training which cost less than the aftermath of “accidents” The proposed changes to the CFRs can help. There should be other, more strident changes made also. NOW we can only push for what is prepared and move to the next level. To push for enactment of the proposed changes made by the NOSAC Dive Safety Subcommittee we must contact as many influential people as possible to endorse expediting the approval by the USCG. Below, you will find the Director of Commercial Regulations & Standards and The Project Manager. for Proposed Rule-making (ANPRM) ID: USCG-1998-3785-0115. Mailing and E-mail address are below: Let them know what you think!
    Mr. Jeffery G. Lantz
    Director of Commercial Regulations & Standards (CG-5PS)
    U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters
    2703 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave SE, STOP 7126
    Washington, DC 20593-7126
    202-372-1351 E-Mail Jeffry G. Lantz <Jeffrey.G.Lantz@uscg.mil>
    Mr. Ken Smith Project Manager
    Department of Homeland Security
    U.S. Coast Guard
    Commandant (CG-OES-2), 2703 Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE.,
    STOP 7509, Washington, DC 20593-7509
    Phone: 202 372-1413
    E-Mail: ken.a.smith@uscg.mil
    If you have suggestions for refinements or additional regulations contact the Divers Association, International Marine Contractors Association, the International Oil & Gas Producers, The Association of Diving Contractors International, your Union and every Diving Contractor.
    Action breeds action. Act! Let those in charge know what you think. You will find all information from1998 tell the present poster here,
    Commercial Diving Operations - Advanced Notice of Proposed Rule-making (ANPRM)
    No result in more then 18 years!

    My Coast Guard Leter.pdf

    John Joly has been working with Fisk Marine Insurance International on a method for dive personnel to have their own Insurance. These include medical, life, disability, dental and vision insurances.

    Follow the link to: "Individual Benefits. This classification refers to the application of these privileges on an individual level, across medical, life, disability, dental and vision insurances."

    For many parts of our Commercial Diving World this is a big deal so the Divers Association want to thank both Fisk Marine Insurance International and our board member John Joly for their hard work in putting this together!
    John Joly

    Gary Young shared a plea on Facebook regarding the plight of Eric Pomponi, who has a MAJOR medical problem. There is a link to a fund raising site. PLEASE contribute on the GoFundMe site!

    This and other divers' situations prompts me to again put forward the suggestion that ALL of us should be protecting our futures. Too often a person cannot have the financial assets to meet emergency needs. As a profession, we can amass a Fund which can at least help when one of our colleagues must deal with health issues.

    PLEASE speak out in favor of a monthly contribution to such a fund with the DA. We CAN make a difference! If YOU were stricken by accident or disease tomorrow could you cover all the expenses? Even with good insurance coverage it can be a real burden for the afflicted and their dependents.
    There has been little response endorsing the idea of such monthly contributions and I am inclined to think that we tend to be focused on our personal goals. Divers helping divers is the best shot at GETTING help when need arises... so RISE UP! Make known your willingness to make a small contribution monthly. With 1000 members putting $10 / month into such a fund, we can help many in need!

    The 2016 Underwater Intervention has come and gone, but this was a year for a first. There was a panel discussions which took place involving Dive Personal: Project Managers, Dive Supervisors/Superintendents, Saturation Technician, Life Support Supervisor, Life Support Technician and Divers, with those that write and enforce regulation.


    Kyra Richter

    Divers Association Board Member

    Held on Tuesday February 23rd, The Coast Guard Regulation Changes and BSEE & USCG after incident investigation Panel Discussion took place at the Hyatt Place Hotel. This effort was spearheaded by JCRoat Subject Mater Services and Fisk Marine Insurance.
    On the Panel were Dennis Farr; from the USCG, who has been instrumental in working with the industry during the notice of proposed rule making (NPRM) and has been listening closely to our recommendations. Robert Carroll; from the regional N.O. office of the BSEE (Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement). Thomas Garret; SME/Consultant BP. Mike Ehlers; owner Saturation Services LLC. Peter Sieniewicz; Technical Adviser Diving IMCA; with 14 years of experience in UK HSE as a Specialist Diving Inspector. Allan Palmer; VP of Subsea Operations at Bisso Marine. Vic Merritt; HR & HSE Compliance. Rick Walker; Consultant for Subsea Marine Construction.
    The purpose of this panel was to inform on upcoming regulatory changes, how future audits by BSEE might change and how these may impact the commercial diving industry. More importantly, this was a discussion meant to gain our commitment to safety and get the audience to understand that we can impact how these changes take place by speaking up, and asking questions before and not after the changes have been made.
    John Roat made a presentation on the importance of internal auditing. He discussed the two main players in an internal audit, the USCG regulations and the BSEE regulations. BSEE “enforces compliance with regulations and periodically updates rules to reflect advancements in technology and new information.” But what this boils down to is a simple message which Roat says is: “Do what you say you are going to do.” Currently, under the USCG, the supervisor holds all responsibility; but under BSEE regulation it is the operator’s responsibility to follow regulations. This means a company can be fined for non-compliance if the BSEE finds a violation. What does this mean to you?

    Do what you say you do.
    Keep all your paperwork in order (cross your ‘T’s” and dot your “I’s”). As painful as that can be, being meticulous about your paperwork can mean the difference between compliance and non-compliance. And for you, the difference between a raise or promotion or potentially losing your job because now the company you work for has to pay a fine because you thought “paperwork schmakerwork”.
    Ensure your procedures are not contradicting each other and are meeting the intent of the law.

    Next up, Dennis Farr mentioned that the many comments and recommendations received by the USCG concerning the NPRM are still being reviewed. They have currently reviewed 50% of the comments and are approximately 70% complete in their review of each section. It appears that the USCG is seriously considering incorporating IMCA Guidelines by reference.
    Will there be another opportunity to comment? Apparently, yes! It seems participation during the comment periods have been so tremendous, that the USCG may re-open for further comments. There was a question from the audience regarding where to read these proposed changes. If you visit this site you know we have periodically posted the link, but it is here, yet again. The USCG provides full disclosure of the proposed changes as well as the comments. You are free to read through them and provide your own recommendations, and we encourage you to do so. Do not wait for others to speak for you in hopes that they will fix what you believe needs fixing.
    Allan Palmer clarified, yet again, where the USCG has jurisdiction. Remember this, when in doubt: the USCG will have jurisdiction on a USCG certified vessel, whether inland or offshore.
    Rob Carroll’s presentation dealt with the audit process of the BSEE. He revisited the BSEE’s mission statement which is: “The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) works to promote safety, protect the environment, and conserve resources offshore through vigorous regulatory oversight and enforcement.” He stressed the word “vigorous.” He then explained the history of SEMS (safety and Environmental Management Systems). If this seems a little distant from diving, it is not. Carroll explained what a diver should be aware of regarding what can apply to a diver. Check out their webpage to get a more complete picture of what the BSEE can do for you.
    Remember this: Neither regulation nor regulatory enforcement agency can do much or can stand to improve anything if we DON’T REPORT!! And we’re not just talking about incidents. Don’t wait until the proverbial shit has hit the fan. The BSEE (and the DA as well) want to know about near misses. These are the events which can help us prevent recurrence if we know about and learn from them. The DA site is one place to report concerns as well, but don’t miss out on the BSEE near miss reporting capabilities either.
    From SEMS (borrowing from the Macondo event) comes the Ultimate Work Authority. Perhaps you didn’t know but any time you’re on a job, you and everyone should know who has the Ultimate Work Authority. This means who has the authority to allow work to recommence when someone has called an All Stop. And remember this: EVERYONE has the authority to call and All Stop. That means you. You the tender, or the diver the supervisor.
    The meat of the Panel centered on a fantastic discussion by Peter Sieniewicz on the history of the development of diving regulations and their enforcement in the UK. Mr. Sieniewicz went into some detail on how UK legislation works, and how the regulatory regime overarching and how it works; and specifically diving regulations and guidance, and inspections and enforcement. As many may know, the UK has a sordid history in commercial diving in the North Sea from late 60’s, early 70’s and into the 80’s. Yes, Peter said, the HSE has been rather draconian in its enforcement of regulations. But have results been commensurate with that enforcement approach? The UK has not had a commercial diving fatality since 2000. What do you think?
    This couldn’t be better proof not only that it is not just about regulation, but also bout enforcing the regulations. Sieniewicz noted that the UK has on average 3-5 diving related prosecutions per year. And the UK will not hesitate to levy fines and/or jail time. For example, not speaking to the inspector during an investigation is a criminal offense. That means there is no hiding behind the “I didn’t see or hear,” or “I don’t know. I can’t say.” as is often the case on this side of the pond.
    Regarding regulations themselves, formal prescriptive diving regulations came about in 1981. They were black and white and backed up with “very very strong regulatory enforcement”. In the UK you end up with a criminal record if you break HSE law, you can go to jail and in Crown Court the fines are unlimited. If you decide that you want to run away and close up your company, the government has the power to reopen your company so they can go after you.
    The UK regulatory regime reaches both inland and offshore. It is covered by the HSE which is aquango or department and this means inspectors are warranted and have powers to go with those warrants; such as allowing them to enter a worksite at any time, we can enter any premises where they believe a breach of health and/or safety has occurred and they can compel individuals to speak. The Health and Safety at Work Act was put together in 1974, and it covers all people while they are at work. Everyone has a duty and a responsibility. Underneath that are the diving regulations of 1997. They are made up 17 regulations and they cover diving anywhere. If you’re diving inland or offshore, you’re diving. The details are in the Approved Code of Practice (ACOP). The ACOPs are what provide the guidance for diving within a specific sector. The regulatory authority within the diving regulations covers military diving, covers the police, recreational diving, scientists, archeologists, anybody at work, who dives. And the ACOPs are used together with industry guidance as well. They are expected to be followed to make the dive as safe a reasonably practicable. What does reasonably practicable mean? The HSE evaluates this using a cost benefit analysis. Where the cost or benefit to the improvement to safety outweighs the cost of tragedy. Regulations are legal duties that are placed on contractors, there are two types of regulations that are enshrined in the UK health and safety law the first one is goal setting. Goal setting is “as safe as reasonably practical. The other is absolute, or prescriptive in the UK diving regulation there are only two which are absolutely prescriptive; and they are 1) you must have a diving medical and 2) must have a qualification for the work activity you are undertaking.
    The only drawback with the UK goal setting regulation approach is that there is no defined line. So it’s a judgment decision between you and the regulator, and worst case, if and incident led to a prosecution, it is up to the court to decide whether the actions you took at that time were safe or not safe. To overcome this problem, the ACOPs step in. If you comply with the requirements of ACOP you are deemed to be compliant with the law. The interesting part is: you don’t have to comply with the ACOP, but you do have to comply with the law. Guidance is seen as “best practice” but you don’t have to comply with it. Regulations are law and you must comply.
    In the UK, all deaths at work are initially treated as a murder. It is for this reason that initially the police will also be involved. Usually, rather quickly it is downgraded to manslaughter. And when the HSE comes in they will look at the breaches in regulation which may have occurred. The death is also investigated by the coroners, they look at the cause of death without apportioning blame. They just want to know how the individual died. What is of major importance to the HSE investigator is the autopsy, because if the inspector is going to prosecute somebody, the regulatory breach has to be tied to the death; the death becomes an aggrevating factor and this means that the penalties are more severe. An HSE inspectors have a number of “powers” available to them such as: a verbal advice, stop work authority, formal letter (which will require you to address), formal enforcement notice like an improvement notice or a prohibition notice. Failure to comply is a criminal offence and can be punished with two years in jail.
    The biggest difference between the UK and the US at the moment, is that our legal approach and concerns cause companies to be very closed up when it comes to providing and sharing information after an event or injury has occurred. We need to get past this fear of perceived weakness and stigmatization and for be more forthcoming. We are losing our lessons learned when we do not have disclosure. We are potentially placing other lives at risk when we do not share what could be life saving lessons. The information is only as good as what we get, and we’re often getting very skewed and meager information if we’re getting any at all
    Now, it is not all a rose garden. Sieniewicz noted that because there has not been a single DCS case in the UK or Norway for many years now, the downside is that many less experienced supervisors and dive crew do not recognize the symptoms or may not recognize them when they see them. Why is this a concern if the fatality rate has been zero for so long? Because after the economic downturn such as the one the oil and gas industry had had, there is a money crunch driving safety standards down combined with an influx of new and inexperienced divers and thus a rising trend of smaller incidents. This is a “perfect storm” build up for a more serious, if not fatal, incident to occur. This hasn’t just happened overseas, it’s happening in our own backyard, so to speak. Are we ready for this?
    This tied in very well with the last part of the panel discussion which was on JHAs.
    Canned vs. Fresh, was the question.
    On the table was the debate over the benefit of a tried and true JHA and a JHA which is prepared prior to every task. When is the JHA written, when is it updated, and what is covered? All these questions were asked by the audience and the recommendations/reminders from the panel were:
    The JHA is a legal document.
    Don’t focus on the process but instead the outcome. Ask yourself,
    How does this JHA help manage when things are not happening as planned?
    Did you not only identify the hazards but also made sure to document how you mitigated them or can mitigate them?
    Are you familiar with the process of Management of Change (MOC) in your company?
    Is everyone in your crew actually reading the JHA?

    So when to pull back when things are not going as planned? How to handle MOC?
    Stop Work- when and where do I pull back?
    Ultimate Work Authority
    Management of Change (should be well outlined in procedures).
    Not all decisions can be made on the boat, some need to go back to shore for decision making.

    A panel member mentioned, once again, the importance of reporting incidents. While investigating the Bibby incident, it was noted that there had been a similar prior event which had not been captured in a shareable lessons learned. Would knowing this have prevented the Bibby incident? Who knows, he said, but that does not mean for a second that information should not be put out there and shared. What was admirable was the disclosure of information following the incident. He showed great frustration, noting that 1-2 divers die due to delta P every year.
    This was a good moment to ask the audience if they are familiar with the IMCA Safety Flashes. Probably the widest read documentation IMCA produces. The key with these is to remember that they are only as good as the information they get. This is guidance put together with input from the industry. The guidance is out there, it’s available, it’s free, and it’s up to us to use it.
    With this, the panel discussion came to a close. This was a very informative session, and well worth sharing with those of you who couldn’t be there.
    John Joly

    Brian Gilgeous, owner of a Diving Service in the UK, posted this on a FB page. His willingness to operate safely - which no doubt reduces his profit - is admirable. Here is his post (WITH his permission)

    As a diver, when regulations began to be enforced more rigorously by the HSE in the 80's I and a lot of divers were skeptical and thought it was time wasting, and unnecessary and regarded it with a big ego and little true understanding as like all young guys we felt bullet proof. The companies (especially small inshore firms) had areas within which they fell short of the regulations, some turned a blind eye, others hid things, quite often the divers were complicit in this. As years passed a lot of these bad practices were dropped and it became unusual for a company to have bad kit or practices. When i did work for a "bad" company i would often bring my own hat or bailout system often selling it to the company when I left!! I once even brought an air panel to work!!Things got better in the UK and as i matured and gained experience I saw the value of regulations and codes of practice. As I moved into owning my own diving business, I took it as a point of pride to work towards having the best kit, systems and procedures that I could afford to buy or build, a slow process!!
    Nowadays I Price a job based as much on having the right kit, right team, right procedures, with no corners cut. The Diving At Work Regulations ensure a relatively even playing field when tendering as "shortcuts" to lower the price are often against regulations and bearing in mind the regulations stipulations of the clients "duty of care" fewer "bad companies" benefit (but of course there are always the odd exceptions). To my mind this is the benefit of regulations, codes of practice, proper risk assessments etc. It brings safer dives, and everyone gets to go home!
    My current area I'm working to improve is in the area of the standby diver, not only is he ready to go when needed (we already have that down well) but i am trying to educate my clients and teams that a safety exercise in diver casualty/ emergency recovery is included in a project plan & risk assessment and is repeatable with new team members, new site, changing conditions, new systems etc. I have had mixed success: the divers are happy to do it ( if paid) and some of the clients (enlightened ones) see the value of their compliance with duty of care and it does involve them in the project more (this has often been good for my business as the client knows I've got their back and we are reducing risk as much as possible.
    Some clients are not keen to see it on their jobs but we turn up as a better team because of our ethos. It is better for my lads to turn up as a practiced, efficient team rather than a divided group of individuals chasing the day rate (and im willing to pay to get that!). Inexperience, economic fears, and peer pressure at all levels in clients, dive teams and company management cause small (and large) areas of cutting corners and unnecessary risk. But there is a different route, that just requires a clear focus on regulations ( or getting them), getting the right kit, team and procedures in place... then selling it to the client... not easy.... but not as hard as you would think.... certainly easier than explaining in a court to a judge and a grieving family WHY the diver died. All this is my own humble opinion and I accept eveyrone has a different situation and economy... whatever you do brothers do it as safe as you can...
    Hal Lomax

    Why do all of these diving accidents keep happening?



    There is one unfortunate constant in the diving industry: accidents. Scarcely a week goes by that we do not hear of a diver dying in an accident. This week it may be offshore, next week it may be in a harbor; it seems to happen in every country on this earth where divers are working. To someone new to the industry, it would appear that all of these accidents are different and unrelated. But to those of us who have been around for any length of time, the sickening reality is that they are all the same – we keep making the same mistakes over and over, and young divers are dying because we are making these mistakes.


    How human beings learn lessons
    As children, most of us were taught that we learn by our mistakes. Discipline for small children is quite simple: when they do wrong they are disciplined, when they do right they are not. Children soon learn to do what is right. In school, our examination papers are given back to us after they are marked so that we can see exactly what we did wrong; learn the proper answer and the method to get that answer. As humans mature, they take this learning by mistakes process with them through life and apply it (quite often subconsciously) to every aspect of their life, from relationships with other humans, to sports such as football and hockey, then on into their careers as adults. Most people in this world learn by their own mistakes, the smarter people learn by the mistakes of others.
    Learning lessons in the workplace
    In order to complete the Transcontinental Railway in Canada, a bridge was required to be built across the Saint Lawrence River in Quebec. During construction in 1900 the bridge collapsed, killing 75 construction workers. Later when they were rebuilding the same bridge, the center span collapsed killing 10 more. The subsequent investigation found mistakes in calculations and poor choices in materials. To this day every civil engineer in the United States and Canada is given an iron ring to wear to remind them of these bridge collapses, and what can happen when mistakes and poor material choices are made. This is the earliest example I have found of trying to use the lessons learned from an incident to avoid future tragedy.
    During project safety meetings offshore, we are often told of incidents on other jobsites involving injury or death, followed by a lessons learned session, where we can apply the knowledge gained to our own site and hopefully avoid a repeat of the same (or a similar) incident. This lessons learned process is utilized by almost all of the major oil companies, and actively encouraged by both IMCA and IOGP. That is not to say that every accident on an IMCA or IOGP project sees full disclosure; but at least they encourage disclosure of the facts: the events leading up to the incident, what exactly happened in the incident, and what exactly the consequences were for those involved in the incident.
    The oil companies, IMCA, and IOGP deserve credit for their efforts to reduce workplace accidents. But with divers also working on construction projects, salvage jobs, power plants, shipyards, wind farms and other alternative energy projects, why do we not see the incident reports with lessons learned resulting from the incidents that keep occurring on these projects? Why do government regulatory agencies not provide details of incidents involving death or injury to divers? How can we be expected to learn from our mistakes when the information is not passed along? What hope is there of stopping this deadly cycle of repeating the mistakes of the past if we do not educate others?
    The only way that we can stop this cycle of the same accidents happening the same way year after year is by learning from our mistakes and not repeating them. And the only way that we are going to learn from our mistakes is if we can convince all of the players (governments, contractors and clients) that it is in their best interest to pass on all of the information from each and every incident.
    Investigating accidents: finding the lessons
    Unless a proper investigation is performed, we will never know the true facts surrounding any incident, and therefore we will never learn the lessons we should from that incident. A proper accident investigation requires knowledge of all of the machinery, equipment and tools used when the incident occurred, all of the environmental conditions prevailing when the incident occurred, the training and physical fitness of the personnel involved in the incident, and all of the mitigation and recovery methods available during and after the incident.
    Most countries today have dedicated organizations for investigating incidents involving aircraft. Canada and the United States both call theirs the 'Transportation Safety Board'. The TSB does not use railroad experts to investigate aircraft incidents; they use aircraft experts. Likewise, when they are investigating railroad incidents, they do not use aircraft experts. The reason for this is that the forces at play in aircraft incidents as opposed to railway incidents are vastly different, and understanding what lead to or what happened during any given incident requires an investigator with knowledge of the forces involved.
    Knowing this, why would government regulatory bodies ever think that an expert in surface construction, jobsite safety, or engineering would be even remotely qualified to investigate an incident occurring in the underwater environment, regardless of the circumstances? Why would they think that an emergency room physician or standard pathologist could comment on the medical aspects of a diving incident?
    The only way that a diving-related workplace accident can be properly investigated is if it is investigated by people who are well experienced in working underwater. Until this is realized, we will never have proper investigations of the accidents, we will not learn the lessons we should and we will not prevent these accidents from recurring in the future.
    Regulating the workplace
    Regulations are like guardrails on the edge of the roadway that help to keep you from driving into the ditch; regulations will never guarantee a safe workplace. Workplace safety requires a firm commitment by both the employer and the employees to develop and maintain a safety culture. That, along with the guidance of proper regulation and enforcement, will help to guarantee a safe workplace.
    Poor regulations are sometimes worse than no regulations at all. Sadly there are contractors (and clients) out there that would think nothing of risking an employees life to get the job done. This is where good regulations really will help, provided that there is proper enforcement of those regulations, and proper penalties in place when the regulations are ignored. But even with proper regulations, we need proper enforcement, proper investigation of accidents, and we need to share the lessons learned after accidents, incidents, and near-misses. Then we will have the complete package that will ensure a safer workplace going forward, and stop this never ending cycle of repeated incidents.
    Safety regulations will never guarantee a safe workplace. A safe workplace requires a safety culture, proper regulation and enforcement, proper accident investigation, and learning from our past mistakes.
    John Joly

    John Joly

    Decade after decade we hear diving stories. We hear constant bitching about low wages, crappy conditions, heartless management and clients who only care about the bottom line. Some areas have managed to get divers covered under Union agreements. Then the complaints vary somewhat, but they go on.

    A few improvements are made in equipment, some of the Operators realize that improving safety is less costly than paying court ordered settlements and there are always voices, usually in the background, calling for improved safety procedures. In most instances, it takes multiple incidents of a similar nature to get attention. IMCA has improved diving safety in many areas and the ADCI has also. There is a LOT yet to improve.
    It took many years to get the ball rolling with a rewrite of CFRs pertaining to diving and that still isn't official. The confusing overlap of OSHA and USCG authority and the failure to address the various situations divers work in has improvements at a snail's pace. European authorities are struggling with complexities also. The relatively small number of people in the industry and the lack of understanding by politicians and the public make it very difficult to even get attention for the issues related to diving safety.
    ONE improvement, I believe, would be to consolidate authority over ALL diving operations under the mission of the USCG. OSHA has been ineffective. To be fair, OSHA has regulatory obligations in almost EVERY job classification/industry in the USA and it should be a welcome reduction in their work load. MONEY is a major issue for a change such as I endorse. The USCG has a shrinking budget and oversight of diving operations will require more people and more administrative work and that costs money.
    If you see the sense in this, WRITE YOUR REPRESENTATIVES in Congress. Get them asking about this among themselves. I'm trying to get a "Bill" composed to put the issue on the agenda in D.C. even though it will be prioritized somewhere below squirrel studies or another obscure consideration. IF you care, DO something! If divers don't TRY to improve the safety in the industry, WHO WILL?
    If you've been in diving for any length of time, you know divers who have died or been seriously injured in preventable incidents. WHY SHOULD IT GO ON?
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  • Latest Incident Follow Up Posts

    • If Mrs. Rupping has engaged Delise  - or any other attorney - she has a good chance of getting her answers. The timing will be a negative aspect, I'm sure, although she has had SOME monies sent to her. I smell a rat when the Supervisor says it was his personal money he sent. This sounds very much like Mammoet is trying to insert a layer of plausible denial into the situation...
    • I am not 100% sure on this, but I believe I heard just recently that Mamoet had ceased operations. If that is indeed the case, there unfortunately may be no further information to be obtained, unless we can persuade the diver's "friends" to come forward and tell the truth. This looks to me like a huge ass-covering exercise. This diver should never have been sent in to cut (with Broco or any other exothermic cutting gear) until the compartment was thoroughly ventilated and purged of possible accumulated hydrogen gas. As far as I am concerned, the company and the supervisor demonstrated gross incompetence, and should be legally liable for damages.    
    • The following letter has been sent by the wife of Luke Rupping in the hope of getting closure for herself and her daughter. She has asked that the Divers Association publish the letter and Annexures.   The letter has not been edited or corrected in any way.       With the letter were the following attachments, listed as Annexes:   Annex 1.pdf Annex 2-3.pdf Annex 4-6.pdf Annex 7-9.pdf Annex 10-12.pdf Annex 13-14.pdf Annex 15.pdf Annex 16.pdf Annex 17.pdf
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