Company And Director Fined Over Dorset Diving Death

HSE Prosecution Over Fatal Incident Off Dorset Coast


A diving instructor and the company he acts for as a director have been fined following a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecution related to the death of an inexperienced diver from Bristol.

Janek Karon, 54, died after being allowed to take part in recreational and training dives with instructor Ian Johnson, director of Subaquaholics Ltd, in October 2008 off Portland in Dorset.

After being found unresponsive after surfacing from a dive, he was airlifted from the boat but pronounced dead at Dorset County Hospital. An inquest revealed he had died from drowning, with coronary artery disease a contributing factor.

A HSE investigation revealed that Subaquaholics could not produce medical screening forms which Mr Karon should have completed as a legal requirement before being allowed to dive. Filling out the forms would have ensured his medical conditions were flagged and would have ensured he was given a medical assessment before diving.

It was also found that Mr Karon had been allowed to go beyond a depth suited to an inexperienced diver. In addition, general concerns were raised about a lack of proper risk assessments for dives or diving logs for the weekend in question.

Sally Rissbrook, an expert in public liability claims at Irwin Mitchell, said: “This tragedy is a terrible reminder of why health and safety must always be considered a priority by companies involved in all kinds of activities.

“People undertaking activities like diving put their faith in the experts and companies to ensure that they get to enjoy experiences in the safest possible manner. Like many of the cases we are involved in, the failures identified should have been avoided and could have been made a huge difference in relation to what happened.

“Four years on from this incident, it is vital that lessons have been learned by the diving community as a whole which will ensure these terrible problems will not be seen again.”