Deakin University

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Chain of events analysis for a scuba diving fatality

journal contribution
posted on 2017-09-01, 00:00 authored by John Maxwell Lippmann, Christopher StevensonChristopher Stevenson, DMcD Taylor, Jo WilliamsJo Williams, Mohammadreza MohebbiMohammadreza Mohebbi
INTRODUCTION: A scuba diving fatality usually involves a series of related events culminating in death. Several studies have utilised a chain of events-type analysis (CEA) to isolate and better understand the accident sequence in order to facilitate the creation of relevant countermeasures. The aim of this research was to further develop and better define a process for performing a CEA to reduce potential subjectivity and increase consistency between analysts. METHODOLOGY: To develop more comprehensive and better-defined criteria, existing criteria were modified and a template was created and tested using a CEA. Modifications comprised addition of a category for pre-disposing factors, expansion of criteria for the triggers and disabling agents present during the incident, and more specific inclusion criteria to better encompass a dataset of 56 fatalities. Four investigators (raters) used both the previous criteria and this template, in randomly assigned order, to examine a sample of 13 scuba diver deaths. Individual results were scored against the group consensus for the CEA. Raters' agreement consistency was compared using the Index of Concordance and intra-class correlation coefficients (ICC). RESULTS: The template is presented. The index of concordance between the raters increased from 62% (194⁄312) using the previous criteria to 82% (257⁄312) with use of this template indicating a substantially higher inter-rater agreement when allocating criteria. The agreement in scoring with and without template use was also quantified by ICC which were generally graded as low, illustrating a substantial change in consistency of scoring before and after template use. CONCLUSION: The template for a CEA for a scuba diving fatality improves consistency of interpretation between users and may improve comparability of diving fatality reports.



Diving and hyperbaric medicine






144 - 154


South Pacific Medicine Underwater Society and the European Underwater and Baromedical Society


[Melbourne, Vic.]





Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal; C Journal article

Copyright notice

2017, South Pacific Medicine Underwater Society and the European Underwater and Baromedical Society