Ten subsea companies have pledged £65,000 towards a medical research project which aims to determine the best procedure for resuscitation of divers in a diving bell.
Led by Philip Bryson, medical director of diving services of Iqarus, the joint industry project (JIP) will find out how resuscitation techniques should be delivered to a casualty in a diving bell at depth.
Divers at depth are exposed to a multitude of hazards that increase the risk of losing consciousness and requiring CPR. Divers are accompanied by a bellman who monitors the diver’s life support and stands by to administer first aid if required.
But diving bells present unique challenges to first aiders performing CPR as the confined space prevents casualties from lying flat so that traditional compressions can be administered.
Over the years Iqarus has provided support and advice to subsea companies in relation to diver health and well-being. Mr Bryson is one of the most qualified experts in this field.
He said: “Current procedure advises that once the diver has been recovered from the water into the bell they are hoisted upright by a pully system, a safe distance from the walls of the bell that are lined with equipment, and compressions should be administered either by the bellman’s head or knee.
“Although this procedure is widely adopted and taught in diving training establishments, there is currently no medical research to support its effectiveness or explore better methods. The JIP is therefore seeking to provide this evidence and to see if resuscitation techniques can be improved.
To date the JIP is being funded by Boskalis, DFS Diving, KD Marine, Kreuz Subsea, Rever, Shelf Subsea, Statoil, Technip and Total. A further £15,000 is still to be secured from the industry to complete the research.
Neil Gordon, chief executive of Subsea UK said: “Despite the increasing use of AUV and ROVs, divers are still required. As a former commercial diver, I’m fully aware of the risks involved and have the highest respect and admiration for the courage of saturation divers who are working in very challenging environments to maintain assets under our oceans.
“It’s great to see this JIP secure support from across the industry – even from those who don’t employ or require saturation divers but who recognise the role they play – and I hope that the research will give the industry added confidence in its resuscitation practices.”
Once delivered, the research will be shared with organisation from across the international diving industry, including the Diving Medical Advisory Committee, and hopes to shape the future of diver resuscitation training.