As we pointed out in the spring 2013 edition of the Alert Diver, even being a dive buddy has potential legal implications. So, to bump this up a notch, what about the diver training organisations themselves? Where do they stand? How do they relate to South African law? Are they all considered the same under our legal system in spite of the differences in organisational structures and training programmes? How does this affect their respective instructors and trainee divers from a legal perspective? These are not exactly simple questions. It is certainly true that the respective training organisations differ in a number of ways. However, this does not imply that there are necessarily differential legal implications for each of them. In fact, under South African law, the legal principles are common in all matters. Therefore, if you suffer a loss and you (or your estate in the case of a fatality) wish to recover damages, the legal principles would be applied commonly; whether you are driving or diving. Although not a frequent occurrence, there have been quite a number of law suits associated with diving injuries and damages in South Africa. This is not surprising, as the occurrence of law suits is really a function of “numbers”. As training increases, so do the chances of injuries and, with it, the chances of legal recourse. So, it remains wise to insure yourself, your equipment or your business in a proper and effective way. But before getting back to the potential differences amongst the training agencies, let’s first explore the foundational legal principles on which any civil claim would be adjudicated: inherent risk, negligence and duty to take care.
FROM THE SAFETY STOP PERSPECTIVES SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE By Bill Ziefle For 35 years DAN® has been providing support to divers in need regardless of location, time of day, type of diving or nature of the problem. DAN is always available with expertise and resources to handle a wide variety of water-related emergencies. Whether a recreational diver shows signs of decompression sickness or a public safety diver sustains an injury during a rescue, DAN will help that diver get the medical care he or she needs. The body of knowledge and experience DAN has cultivated over the years is available to support the full spectrum of divers, including recreational, technical, breath-hold, scientific, public safety and even commercial and military divers. Divers today are going further than ever before. Recreational divers, empowered by new technologies and advanced training, are venturing into the world of technical diving. The population of technical divers is small but growing. These divers often experience extreme environmental conditions, diving beyond recreational boundaries and often outside welltested limits. Although these practices are becoming normalized with time, these divers face many questions that are not fully answered by current diving research. Recently, researchers and divers presented on known safety issues at Rebreather Forum 3, a meeting DAN co-sponsored. Recreational, professional and military rebreather divers discussed the latest developments and evolving best practices. Safety was the key theme, and participants learned about the most common causes of rebreather incidents and fatalities in hopes of reducing their future occurrence. Educational seminars explored incidents, forensics, equipment design and testing, advances in medicine and physiology, training and operations. Future workshops will continue to explore these issues. A resurgence of interest in freediving, both recreationally and competitively, can be seen in the astounding increases in diving depths and breath-hold times achieved. These changes in performance have far-reaching implications for human physiology and safety. DAN continues to monitor incidents and fatalities associated with breath-hold diving and has organized research studies to deal with the specialized nature of the sport. Scientific divers are another important segment of the diving community. Many scientific diving programs rely on DAN’s suite of first aid courses to train their divers. Developed by physicians and subject experts, DAN’s Diving Emergency Management Provider course provides training in first aid, CPR, neurological assessment, emergency oxygen administration and hazardous marine life injuries. Most recently, DAN has begun to explore ways to support the police officers, firefighters, emergency services personnel and volunteers who are our public safety divers. This diverse group of individuals handles emergencies in some of the most hostile conditions encountered by divers: inclement weather, zero visibility, high-velocity currents and waters polluted by chemicals and biohazards. While their emergencies may be different from those of recreational divers, they too suffer short-term and long-term effects from their diving activities. DAN is now collecting data from public safety diving incidents and using it to develop new initiatives to minimize health risks to those divers. Regardless of the type of diver you are, DAN is working to make the diving you do safer. Through innovative research designed to improve our understanding of diving injuries, improved dive-accident management protocols and enhanced insurance products to cover the cost of injuries, DAN is here for all divers. Last year alone DAN’s medical services department received 15,793 inquiries and managed 3,460 medical cases for injured divers. DAN is available to members and nonmembers alike. More than half the queries received via the DAN Emergency Hotline come from nonmembers, so if you know divers who are not DAN members, encourage them to join. AD 10 | SPRING 2016
Be Ready To Respond. DAN’s First-Aid Kits come fully stocked with an assortment of supplies, compartments and additional storage that makes them ideal for dive operators, active divers and travelers on the go. TRAUMA KIT DAN’s Trauma Kit is designed to handle major traumas and emergencies in remote locations. This kit includes a wide assortment of dressings, bandages, pads and other commonly used first-aid supplies. The waterproof Pelican 1500 case keeps the first-aid supplies protected in even the most severe marine environments. Accessories such as a blood pressure cuff or stethoscope can be added to make this the ultimate first-aid kit for professional use. 631-2800 DAN Trauma Kit $350.00 FIRST-AID BACKPACK The First-Aid Backpack is fully stocked with an assortment of first-aid essentials to handle a range of emergencies. Common medications, stop-bleeding wraps, wound-care bandages, fracture/sprain splints and burn-care supplies are included. Features ample storage compartments for all first-aid components as well as an open storage area for additional supplies. This durable First-Aid Backpack is designed for dive operators and other active individuals. 631-3000 First-Aid Backpack — Complete with Supplies $145.00 CPR AND LIFE SUPPORT TRAINING Basic Life Support: CPR and First Aid Course Includes a waterproof cover stored in bottom compartment of pack In this course, divers will learn life-saving skills such as how to perform CPR, use an automated external defibrillator (AED), recognize the signs and symptoms of heart attacks and other medical emergencies, manage shock, control bleeding and more. Learn more at DAN.org/TRAINING American Camp Association (ACA) Approved DAN.org/STORE
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