Task loading

Task loading

Task loading in Scuba diving is a term used to refer to a multiplicity of responsibilities leading to an increased risk failure on the part of the diver to undertake some key basic function which would normally be routine for safety underwater. [cite journal |author=Blumenberg, MA |title=Human Factors in Diving. |journal=CALIFORNIA UNIV BERKELEY |issue=ADA322423 |date=1996 |url=http://archive.rubicon-foundation.org/6474 |accessdate=2008-07-05 ] [cite journal |author=Lorenz J, Lorenz B, Heineke M |title=Effect of mental task load on fronto-central theta activity in a deep saturation dive to 450 msw |journal=Undersea Biomed Res |volume=19 |issue=4 |pages=243–62 |year=1992 |month=July |pmid=1353926 |doi= |url=http://archive.rubicon-foundation.org/4089 |accessdate=2008-07-05]

Common examples

Common examples of activities which can cause task loading are:
* underwater photography or videography
* underwater search and recovery
* underwater mapping
* diving in environments requiring use lights or guide reels (such as night diving, wreck diving and cave diving) or other additional equipment
* use of drysuits
* driving a Diver Propulsion Vehicle (DPV)
* diving in cold water [cite journal |author=Vaughan WS |title=Distraction effect of cold water on performance of higher-order tasks |journal=Undersea Biomed Res |volume=4 |issue=2 |pages=103–16 |year=1977 |month=June |pmid=878066 |doi= |url=http://archive.rubicon-foundation.org/2798 |accessdate=2008-07-05]
* breathing narcotic gas mixture [cite journal |author=Biersner, RJ and Cameron, BJ |title=Cognitive Performance during a 1000-Foot Helium Dive. |journal=US Naval Experimental Diving Unit Technical Report |issue=NEDU-RR-10-70 |date=1970 |url=http://archive.rubicon-foundation.org/4089 |accessdate=2008-07-05 ]
* using rebreathersIt has been suggested that divers using of rebreathers are 900 times more likely to suffer a fatal diving accident than divers using open circuit: cite web|url= http://www.deeplife.co.uk/files/How_Rebreathers_Kill_People.pdf|title=How Rebreathers Kill People|accessdate=2008-07-17 Although the basis of that calculation is not set out, task loading could only ever partly explain such an anomaly. Rebreathers are, characteristically, used by more experienced divers on more difficult and dangerous dives.]

Task loading represents an elevated risk when a new activity is undertaken by an inexperienced diver. A diver learning how to use a drysuit, or starting underwater photography, will need to dedicate considerably more attention to the proper functioning of the new and unfamiliar piece of equipment which leads to the elevated risk of neglect of other responsibilities. Those risks will naturally diminish with time and experience.

Common examples of routine functions that can be overlooked as a result of task loading are:
* monitoring air supply properly
* maintaining buddy contact
* maintaining proper bouyancyThis is identified is most training courses as a common failing amongst new underwater photographers and underwater videographers]
* monitoring depth and time (no-decompression limits)

Task loading is often identified as a key component in diving accidents, although statistically it is difficult to monitor because divers of differing levels of experience can cope with a more complex array of tasks and equipment. [cite journal |author=O'Connor PE |title=The nontechnical causes of diving accidents: can U.S. Navy divers learn from other industries? |journal=Undersea Hyperb Med |volume=34 |issue=1 |pages=51–9 |year=2007 |pmid=17393939 |doi= |url=http://archive.rubicon-foundation.org/5513 |accessdate=2008-07-05] Whilst simply getting used to using a drysuit can call for great levels of attention in an inexperienced diver, it would be a routine piece of equipment for an experienced technical diver to use, whilst carrying a camera and also penetrating a cave or wreck at depth or using a DPV.

See also

Cognitive load



External links

* [http://www.scubadivingsafety.com/home/SafeteyTips.aspx?sTip=3 Scuba diving safety - task loading]

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