[abstract] THE HUMAN FACTORS CAUSES OF U.S. NAVY DIVING ACCIDENTS

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[abstract] THE HUMAN FACTORS CAUSES OF U.S. NAVY DIVING ACCIDENTS

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Title: [abstract] THE HUMAN FACTORS CAUSES OF U.S. NAVY DIVING ACCIDENTS
Author: O'Connor, PE
Abstract: INTRODUCTION: Safety research has shown that human performance problems most heavily shape risks in hazardous industries. Drawing on techniques used to investigate human error in other high reliability industries, this study's multifaceted approach identified the types and degrees of human factors errors that occur in Navy diving. METHODS: Three different methods were employed: (1) Diving accident data collected by the Naval Safety Center were examined. (2) The critical incident technique was used to collect qualitative data from divers about an accident or near miss in which they had been involved. (3) A diving version of the Cockpit Management Attitude Questionnaire, widely used to assess flight crew attitudes toward human factors issues, was adapted and distributed to Navy divers. RESULTS: An examination of 470 reportable mishaps from 1993 to 2003 showed that 25percent had a human factors cause. However, 68percent were classified as unknown causes. A total of 13 critical incident interviews were carried out. Scrutiny of the transcripts showed that stress, fatigue, situation awareness, decision making, communication, and poor leadership were significant factors in the accidents and near-misses discussed. Attitude questionnaire responses were obtained from 103 divers. There was recognition that human factors were the main cause of diving accidents, and there were differences in attitudes towards factors that are important to safe operations depending on the seniority of the respondents. CONCLUSION: This study has provided a better understanding of the human factors that cause diving accidents. This knowledge can help reduce the number of such accidents and improve their investigation as well as the training and evaluation of divers.
Description: Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society, Inc. (http://www.uhms.org )
URI: http://archive.rubicon-foundation.org/1523
Date: 2004

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