ABSTRACT

The Diving Inspectorate's aim, over many years, has been to collect data on incidents involving the diving operations for the off shore industry and, most recently, develop techniques to enable the assessment of safety. This paper examines, with examples, how this is being achieved and, furthermore, explains how feedback to the industry could be achieved in the future.

1. INTRODUCTION

1.1 Making an assessment of the safety of diving operations is an essential aspect of the monitoring and assurance of appropriate standards within the Offshore Diving Industry.

1.2 The foundations of such an approach are:

  • Data available to describe the performance of current operations (historical data).

  • Regulations, guidance notes, and operating manuals for current and new diving methods.

  • Standard techniques available for carrying out assessments.

1.3 The Inspectorate's aim over many years has been to collect data and, most recently, develop techniques to enable the assessment of safety.

This paper examines, with examples, how this has been achieved, and, furthermore, explains how feedback to the Industry could be achieved in the future.

2. REGULATIONS AND GUIDANCE

2.1 The Diving Inspectorate has been tackling the control of diving operations via the issue of regulations and diving safety memorandum and appropriate training. These have been generated since 1974 and are used as the basis of any operational safety assessment made by the Department.

2.2 In addition to this, the diving Industry has issued its own guidance documentation via the Association of Offshore Diving Contractors.

3. DATA

3.1 Since 1978 data has been collected on incidents involving the diving operations for the offshore industry. The data has been carefully sorted and assessed by the Diving Inspectorate's own Inspectors. In addition, the data has been coded and entered onto a computer controlled data base system so that up to 175 different item of information on any one incident can be retrieved. Thus the data has a high level of integrity and is quickly accessible to carry out day to day enquiries for reactive monitoring and control. It also enables more detailed searches to establish long term trends, and effectiveness of guidance and regulation, and perhaps, more importantly, to carry out formal safety assessments.

3.2 It is possible to use the data to provide a common basis for the measurement of risk associated with specific types of diving operations and for the caparison of alternative diving techniques. Whilst it is acknowledged that such data can never tell the whole story, it can be used very effectively in the corporative mode eg it can establish that one operation is 10 times more at risk than other operations.

4. TECHNIQUES

4.1 Many techniques have been developed over the years for systematic assessment of safety. Witkin the Diving Inspectorate, several of these have been investigated, ranging from the practical assessment of methods, materials and equipment, through to the more analytical methods associated with risk analysis.

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