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Rules for Snorkelling
BobHalstead - 4/29/2013 8:50 AM
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Category: Educational
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Rules for SnorkellingBarry Andrewatha,
Editor, Dive Log
PO Box 167 Narre Warren, Vic. 3805

July 1996

Dear Barry,

I have just received my copy of the new Queensland Division of Workplace Health and Safety Draft Advisory Standard for Recreational Snorkelling at a Workplace of June 1996.

QDWH&SDASRSWJ96 for short.

There are some exciting and innovative ideas in this incredible document that I just have to share with you and your readers.

You see, in my ignorance, I thought the back of the toilet door was for the Playboy Centrefold. Silly me! But thank goodness for the intellectual giants at QDWH&S, and how gratifying to see that our tax money is so cleverly utilised. Clever Country, way to go!

I must admit I have always thought that the exposure to risk of injury or death while snorkelling to be about the same as mowing the lawn. But the QDWH&S, with its superior wisdom, knows that thousands of snorkellers are likely to die on the Great Barrier Reef every day. Although often foolishly mistaken for a wilderness area, the Great Barrier Reef is of course a “Workplace” because it is a part of Australia and there are still a few people in Australia who actually are not on welfare, nor in the public service, and go to work occasionally when there are no decent demonstrations to attend. The QDWH&S is concerned that innocent tourists are being lured to their deaths by unscrupulous dive operators who do not give their intended victims sufficient warnings of the dangers inherent in snorkelling.

To combat this disgraceful situation one of the QDWH&S suggestions is to display notices in, and I quote:- “CONSPICUOUS POSITIONS INCLUDING, FOR EXAMPLE, BEHIND TOILET DOORS”. The draft of the suggested notice includes a list of ten medical contraindications to snorkelling including “recent head injury or concussion”, and emphasises the importance of discussing this and other matters like not being able to swim, or having downed half a dozen stubbies, with a snorkelling supervisor before risking “injury or death”.

Barry the brilliance of this concept astounds me and I cannot figure out why we have not thought of this ourselves. Anyway now is the time to act. I propose a competition sponsored by Dive Log for the Best Toilet Door Notice. Entries should be sent to QDWH&S at GPO Box 69, Brisbane Q4001, preferably full sized and attached to a toilet door. Prizes could include a romantic dinner for two with the QDWH&S Diving Inspector of your choice.

And there is no need to stop at snorkelling – we can go a long way to solving ALL our Nation’s safety problems by getting the right Notices on Toilet Doors. Snorkelling is obviously the most important, but I believe we should also have notices listing the various hazards of Driving Cars, Playing Football, Jumping off Bridges, Combing Hair, Eating Ice Cream While Riding A Bicycle and so on. Perhaps the whole gun law problem could be solved if gun owners were simply required to place a warning notice behind their toilet doors? (eg. “Pointing a gun at a person and pulling the trigger could result in serious injury”). We could display other useful tips to improve every day safety such as remembering to wake up before going to the office in the morning – surely a must for all Government employees.

But perhaps toilet door notices are already in common use? I must admit to being a bit of a dinosaur in this regard, and not up to date with the latest safety techniques – but if so it could explain one of life’s little mysteries, namely why female life expectancy is longer than male. Obviously they get more exposure to health and safety propaganda than men do! To prevent sexual discrimination it is essential that the notices be plastered over the facing wall as well as the door.

And why stop at toilets? On our Barrier Reef Resorts we could chop down those scruffy trees which just encourage noisy and smelly birds to nest and replace them with giant bill boards with lists of possible hazards and safety reminders. After all what is more important, a few trees and birds or human lives!!!

Now I wish this was just a joke but unfortunately this is really happening and is the start of yet another round of stupidity from the QDWH&S. We have some of the most professional operators in the world in Queensland who have invested millions of dollars on excellent vessels and who provide an excellent service. It is unnecessary and insulting for these good people to have this nonsense inflicted upon them. The example above where the QDWH&S has seriously suggested displaying notices of the hazards of snorkelling behind toilet doors to improve “safety” amply indicates the intelligence of the bureaucrats involved, and is evidence that indeed the public service is in need of massive pruning.

Safety has NOT improved over the past 6 years that Queensland Government regulations have been in force. In fact their own Compliance Standard mentions diving deaths and injuries that have occurred SINCE regulation and uses them to promote more regulation when any logical person might suppose that this actually implies that regulations do not work.

The situation, to our great disappointment, appears to be getting worse rather than better with plans for more from QDWH&S. They want to limit what divers and snorkellers are allowed to do, and they are going to do this by intimidating the dive operators, and ignoring our own diver certification agencies.

If readers want to ensure that they will be able to enjoy diving and snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef in the future I suggest they write to the Queensland Minister for Training and Industrial Relations at PO Box 69, Brisbane 4001 and tell him that you are opposed to QDWH&S imposing any other standards on the recreational diving industry other than those voluntarily in place through our own training agencies such as NAUI, PADI, AUSI etc.

Keep the good work down.