Checklists in Diving – Can We Learn from Medicine and Aviation?

At the Rebreather Forum 3 conference, held in Florida in May 2012, a number of presentations were made which advocated the use of checklists as a means to prevent diving incidents from occurring, or at least reducing the likelihood of occurrence. Consequently, there was a consensus opinion made at the end of the conference that checklists should be more actively promoted by both the manufacturer and the training agencies and should become the norm. Significantly, there should be overt use by senior members of the diving community in the same way that leading figures in snowboarding and skiing have changed the attitudes over the use of helmets, with the result that it is now ‘not cool’ to not wear a helmet. To further emphasise the endorsement of the use of checklists, at the 2014 TEKDive USA held in Miami, USA from 17-18 May 2014, PADI provided T-Type CCR checklists for all attendees in the delegates’ bags.

The reason why the presentations and consensus statement arrived at this position was because there is considerable evidence from aviation, medicine and other fields/disciplines that shows the proper use of checklists reduces the probability of incidents occurring. Simple examples of how checklists have improved safety include making sure the limb for amputation has been actively and correctly identified, positive confirmation of the dose and identity of the drugs being administered or making sure the correct engine is being shutdown in the event of an aircraft engine fire. Whilst these may appear to be really obvious situations which should not need an additional level of oversight, there are a considerable number of documented events where these things had gone wrong because the wrong selection or decision was made.

The above is an extract from an article I wrote for the latest edition of X-Ray Magazine (#61).  You can download the complete article for free from here.

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One response to “Checklists in Diving – Can We Learn from Medicine and Aviation?

  1. Pingback: Only 20% of surgeons would like to use a checklist in their operations… | Cognitas Incident Research & Management·

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