Safe & Productive Diving Ops (Digital Edition)

Diving Supervisor's Guide
U.S. Navy Diving Supervisors Guide to the non-technical skills required for Safe and Productive Diving Operations

Safety research has shown that human performance problems most heavily shape risks
in hazardous industries: the greatest cause of approximately 80% of aviation mishaps is
generally regarded as human error.

Although U.S. Navy diving is remarkably safe, because of the high-risk environment in which divers work, accidents and mishaps do occur. The Navy diving community is adept at identifying and mitigating technical problems; it is not as adept with the nontechnical or human factors that cause accidents. Little guidance to prevent or mitigate such accidents is available to its divers.

The purposes of this guide are to provide information on the nontechnical skills required
for safe and productive operations by U.S. Navy dive teams. Nontechnical skills are
required for safe and effective performance in a technical context but not directly related
to technical expertise. The nontechnical skills addressed in this guide include situation
awareness, decision making, teamworking/leadership, and mitigating the effects of
stress and fatigue. Communication is not included as a separate topic, since it
underpins every one of these skills.

The information provided is based on an analysis of 455 diving mishaps, 5 reports
investigating fatal mishaps, 15 interviews with Navy Divers, and 272 U.S. Navy Diver
responses to an attitude questionnaire.

The complete framework of nontechnical skills required for safe, effective diving operations from this research is in Appendix A.

Information has also been drawn from other high-risk industries (e.g., aviation, nuclear
power production, offshore oil production) relevant to Navy dive teams. Furthermore,
real-world diving incidents in which failures in nontechnical skills were evident have
been included.

June 2005
39 pages

Author: Paul E. O’Connor, LT, USNR, MSC
  • Brand: US Navy

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