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Steven M. Lee, PC

What's Causing Commercial Diving Accidents?

Working any time for a maritime-related job can be dangerous, but some individuals—commercial divers—take the risk factor one step farther by doing most of their work under water. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), commercial divers are dying at a rate that is 40 percent greater than all other workers. However, because divers are considered to be a "non-hazardous" work group, they are not bound by any formal regulations.

What is causing these horrific diving accidents? There are many situations that can play a part, but in general, here are a few of the major causes of commercial diving accidents:

1. Inexperience and Lack of Training: Just like in any industry, there are going to be employees that do not have a lot of experience or may not have been trained properly. If you work in advertising, this may just mean that an employee creates copy a client isn't happy with. It doesn't make the company or employee look very good, but no physical harm is done. Unfortunately, when a new employee makes a mistake while diving, the results can be fatal.

2. Equipment Has Not Been Maintained: The equipment a commercial diver uses to go below the surface is key to their safety and survival. Each piece of equipment works hard to ensure the diver is protected while he goes under water to do his job. If certain equipment is old, broken, or has not been maintained properly or replaced, a diver can get seriously injured.

3. Moving to the Surface Too Quickly: When divers complete their work and begin to make their way up to the surface, they can get hurt if they move too fast. They need to decompress slowly to avoid what is called decompression sickness.

4. Using Tools That Start Fires: Underwater burns are common in the maritime industry because when divers use tools like torches, they can cause electrocutions, explosions, and sudden fires.

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