Posted by ptf on October 23, 2001 at 07:17:44:
By Dave Moran
If you dive with a scuba tank, itís in your interest to read pages 53-55. In this issue we look at
some of the concerns that scuba filling stations have about certain aluminium scuba cylinders.
The number of cylinders in use worldwide is in the tens of millions. The number of cylinders that develop
structural weaknesses are a minute percentage of this. You could compare it to the number of cars on the
road and the number that are involved in fatal accidents - itís an absolutely minute percentage. This
doesnít deter us from driving our cars, especially if we have no personal association with the person in
the accident. In fact, it could be said that the majority of drivers on the road hardly give a second thought
to the reports of yet another road death.
Itís a sad indictment of our acceptance that some people will always die on our roads. This is because,
over the years, we have come to expect deaths on the road as part of everyday life. The dive industry
does not want that same acceptance to creep into the mindset of divers for fatalities associated with
diving. The issue of safety is at the very cornerstone of diver training.
To dive, we all use cylinders that contain gases at high pressure. There is currently increasing concern for
how safe these cylinders really are. It is a fact that ever since man first compressed air into a cylinder, he
knew he was creating a potential bomb. But as with explosives, if you know what you are doing and how
to store them, they are super safe. In theory, there is virtually no chance of a cylinder exploding. But in my
discussions with people within the industry and OSH (Occupational Safety and Health) inspectors, it
became apparent that testing procedures and operator testing skills vary a great deal. The dive industry
canít prevent divers from being careless with their tanks - but the dive industry can, if it desires, make
damn sure that a tank is tested properly so that when it leaves their premises it is safe to use.
I suggest this is not the status quo at the moment. OSH is on our side. They want to remove the
slackness that has developed within some businessesí test procedures and the staffsí attitude to testing
tanks. The cylinder manufacturers are seriously addressing any chance of inherent faults within the
cylinder at the point of manufacture. Now is the time to clean up our act within the dive industry. We all
want to be sure the tanks on our backs are uncompromisingly safe.
Winter diving is fantastic. The visibility is always better than during summer, get out there and enjoy it. We
wish you safe and exciting diving.
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