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WorkSafe Western Australia

WorkSafe is a division of the Department of Consumer and Employment Protection, the Western Australian State Government agency responsible for the administration of the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984.

The principal objective of the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984 is to promote and secure the safety and health of persons in the workplace.

Recreational Scuba Diving Fatalities — Expert Opinion


In December 1998 two fatalities occurred off the Western Australian coast during two separate scuba diving charters. Due to the circumstances surrounding each incident WorkSafe Western Australia contracted Ringshaw Consulting to provide expert opinion and advice in relation to each case.


Neil Ringshaw was a (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) PADI Course Director for over 10 years and had owned an operated his own Scuba Diving Stores/PADI 5 Star Instructor Development Training Facilities.

Neil was instrumental in the establishment of and a member of the Australian Scuba Council, he also contributed to the development of the Australian Standard for Entry Level Recreational Diver Training.

Due to Neil's participation in the scuba diving industry and intimate working knowledge of the agency standards he was able to review the accident investigation report provided by WorkSafe WA and give expert opinion in relation to how the events of each situation should have occurred according to agency and industry standards.

The cases were reviewed, the appropriate certifying agency was consulted, agency standards were reviewed, the Bureau of Meteorology was contacted to identify weather conditions on the days in question. A number of Diving Instructors in current teaching status were interviewed as were a number of charter boat operators, to ascertain current industry practice.

The report to WorkSafe Western Australia provided the answers to their specific questions and recommendations for actions were made as a result.