One of the challenges in any reporting system is getting details of the incidents themselves so that others can learn from what happened and why things happened in the manner they did. This headline (from 29 June 14) is a classic example, it publishes the results of the post-mortem, but it doesn’t ‘reveal what happened’ in a manner which allows others to learn.
There are a number of reasons why fatality reports are not discussed in public forums (legal concerns, pride, privacy, professional reputation) but then again these are the reports which make the (social) media. Sometimes there is good reporting (http://www.helsinkitimes.fi/lifestyle/11212-deep.html – 27 August 14, report into the double fatality in the Plura Cave System, Norway) but in the majority of cases, the media do not understand and are simply looking for a news story rather than to improve safety.
Something I am considering, but have not yet made a decision on, is whether to make the fatality reports public and provide media links but not provide any analysis; I already don’t provide public analysis on fatalities because of the lack of data available. I would also look to include any public information which arises at a later date e.g. Fatal Accident Inquiry or Coroner’s Inquest reports; these could be added by the community as a submitted report to an established incident.
The reason for considering this is because the number of fatalities is very small compared to the numbers of dives undertaken (approximately 1-2:100 000 dives) and therefore it is hard to de-identify fatality reports. Furthermore, once that level of de-identification takes place, what are the chances of learning anything from the incident?
However, I am also conscious that this goes against what DISMS was setup to be – an online, open but confidential reporting system. Rest assured, public non-fatal reports would not have any media reports attached to them unless the reporter added them themselves – I do not want to compromise that confidentiality.
Therefore, I would be grateful for any feedback on the proposal because ultimately DISMS is a tool for the community and not for me, and I should be reacting to what would help safety in the wider context rather than just my views.
Thanks in advance