There are times when the work I am doing certainly appears to two steps back for every one step forward, and I think “why bother when human nature is the way it is, nothing will change”, and then you get an email which contains
“Your work inspired me, among other background work, to believe that openness is needed now…[however] Maybe we just have to believe that getting rid of the experienced divers’ immortal mindset is a long range target.”
from someone who had recently written an article that highlighted their diving career-wide mistakes and failures relevant to a specific fatality where they knew the deceased, an article which was shared widely amongst the local community. Unfortunately this is a community where incidents are not discussed in an open manner and anyone who criticises the status quo is shunned or quickly runs out of buddies.
Hopefully the fact that these issues were publicly aired, they made a difference to those who read the article and they changed their personal practices as a consequence. However, knowing human nature as it is, the uptake would probably have been limited. BUT, it would have been more limited if the article hadn’t been written and published! It takes considerable courage to discuss your mistakes in a public forum, especially when those mistakes are obvious or contrary to best practice or you are an instructor or someone who holds a prominent position in the industry. How many instructors have made mistakes that others could have learned from but didn’t publicise it because of either professional or personal criticism?
A Just Culture which improves safety by creating the environment whereby lessons can be learned, good or bad, is not the role of a single person or organisation, it is the community’s. Next time you see something not go to plan, think about whether someone else could learn from that and how it could be done better in the future the next time. Then think about reporting it detailing what happened and why, and what could be to prevent it. Just writing what happened doesn’t necessarily help improve the situation.
There are a number of reporting systems out there; BSAC, DAN America, DAN Europe, DAN AP amongst others, and the one which I am responsible for DISMS