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Commercial diving industry lacks regulation, putting divers at risk (2 of 2)

Welcome back. We are currently discussing the dangers that lurk within the commercial diving industry, which is centered in Houston, Texas. In 1996, a young commercial diver was killed in a in an oil-rig diving accident off the coast of Texas.

An initial investigation concluded that the young man had been at fault for the fatal accident, because he had forgotten to tighten the fittings on the diving helmet and panicked when water started leaking in. However, his father knew that his son died because of a bigger problem.

A lengthy investigation by the Coast Guard finally concluded that poor maintenance of a generator was actually to blame for the accident, and it had been destroyed as part of a cover up.

It turned out that a rag was used as a filter on the generator, and it had been sucked into the compressor and burned. This caused gases to enter the young man's diving helmet and he passed out, falling face first into the water that soon entered his helmet.

The young man's father was happy that the truth had finally come out, but he wasn't about to stop there. In the wake of the accident, the Coast Guard agreed to implement a five-day training program for commercial diving investigators and inspectors, and it recommended 24 specific actions that were needed to better-regulate diving.

Unfortunately, that was as far as the Coast Guard got and new regulations have yet to be imposed. The man said after 9/11, the Coast Guard was moved from a division of the United States Department of Transportation to a division of Homeland Security and all of the work that had been accomplished was gone.

Hopefully, the Coast Guard acts before many other commercial divers senselessly lose their lives because of lack of regulation in the industry.

Source:, "Deadly Dives - The push for commercial diving regulations," Linda Thomas, March 27, 2013

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