A diving school in Devon, (UK) have been fined thousands of pounds after pleading guilty to using potentially life-threatening equipment.
The Health and Safety Executive started investigating Jurassic Coast Diving after the death of a man on an expedition.
in July 2005, a man named Tom Young went missing at sea while on a diving expedition to the wreck of First World War ship The Bretagne, nearly five miles off Hope’s Nose, Torquay. The 24-year-old man got into difficulties with his air supply and, after surfacing, sank 28 metres to the seabed.
The diving school, based at Royal Avenue, Exmouth, was fined a total of £6,000 and ordered to pay costs of £6,200 at Exeter Magistrates’ Court after pleading guilty to breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
The charges related to the care and maintenance of divers’ life support equipment, as the HSE investigation revealed that breathing systems used by the company were assembled incorrectly and put divers’ lives at risk.
A female instructor and student were also involved in the expedition where Mr Young died. They were winched aboard a rescue helicopter from HMS Bulwark, which was in the area, and flown to Plymouth’s Derriford Hospital dive chamber for treatment for the bends.
The HSE commented on their concern that recreational diving providers adequately maintain and service such equipment and we have undertaken targeted inspections to raise this issue with them.
They also said that trainee divers are not able to know if the equipment rented to them is up to standard and serviced correctly, and dive centres are responsible for overseeing the quality of their equipment.