Safety Alert

Occupational Diving

This Alert provides guidance about safe occupational diving operations. It has been prepared in response to a number of serious incidents where divers have sustained injuries during occupational diving operations.

Print or download a PDF version of this document Date Published: October 2017 Keycode: Division Author:

Recommended risk control measures:

  • create a diving operations manual and document safe operational procedures in it -  see AS/NZS 2299.1:2015 Occupational diving operations Part 1: Standard operational practice
  • ensure all employees have access to the diving operations manual
  • develop a dive plan or safe work method statement (SWMS) that incorporates a dive plan and review it if conditions and/or circumstances change during the planned diving operation
  • test breathing gas quality according to the relevant standard
  • ensure compression (recompression) chamber support is available
  • develop and implement diver emergency procedures
  • ensure specific requirements for scuba diving operations or Surface Supplied Breathing Apparatus (SSBA) diving operations are in place
  • ensure specific requirements for Enriched Air Nitrox (EAN) diving operations are in place
  • report and record all accidents, incidents and near misses
  • review and revise risk controls following accidents, incidents and near misses
  • ensure divers are medically assessed as fit to dive
  • use an adequate number of personnel in each diving operation
  • ensure divers have the relevant training and qualifications before carry out their work – see AS 2815, Training and certification of occupational divers.

See list of Australian/New Zealand Standards below for further information.

General duties 

Note: as an employer your duties, such as the ones provided as examples below, extend to contractors and any of their employees (ie sub-contractors). As an employer you also have a general duty to ensure that persons other than employees are not exposed to health and safety risks arising from your conduct.
For example, as an employer you must, so far as is reasonably practicable:

  • provide and maintain a working environment that is safe and without risks to health
  • provide and maintain plant or systems of work that are, so far as is reasonably practicable, safe and without risks to health
  • consult with all employees (including independent contractors and their employees) and if applicable health and safety representatives when developing safe operational procedures for diving operations
  • ensure you identify hazards in your workplace and implement, so far as is reasonably practicable, suitable risk control measures
  • provide employees (for example all persons involved in diving operations) with such information, instruction, training or supervision as is necessary to enable them to perform their work in a way that is safe and without risks to health.

Employers must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons other than employees of the employer are not exposed to risks to their health and safety arising from the conduct of the undertaking of the employer.

Further information:

Legislation:
Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004
Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2017

Australian/New Zealand Standards:

Australian/New Zealand Standard -- AS/NZS 2299 series

  • AS/NZS 2299.1:2015, Occupational diving operations Part 1: Standard operational practice
  • AS/NZS 2299.1 Sup 1:2015, Occupational diving operations Part 1: Standard operational practice – Supplement 1: AS/NZ 2299 diving medical examination forms
  • AS/NZS 2299.2:2002, Occupational diving operations – scientific diving
  • AS/NZS 2299.3:2003, Occupational diving operations – recreational industry diving and snorkelling operations
  • AS/NZS 2299.4:2005, Occupational diving operations – film and photographic diving

Australian/New Zealand Standard – AS/NZS 2815 series

  • AS 2815.1:2008, Training and certification of occupational divers – Occupational SCUBA diver – Standard
  • AS/NZS 2815.2:2013, Training and certification of occupational divers – Surface supplied diving to 30 m
  • AS 2815.3: 1992, Training and certification of occupational divers – Air diving to 50 m
  • AS 2815.4:1992, Training and certification of occupational divers – Bell diving
  • Australian/New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 2815.5:2013, Training and certification of occupational divers - Dive supervisor 
  • AS/NZS 2815.6:2013, Training and certification of occupational divers – Restricted occupational SCUBA diver

WorkSafe publications

Guide to the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004
Information on engaging a contractor (1st edition, 2005)

This Alert contains information following inquiries by WorkSafe Victoria (WorkSafe) into the incident at the date of this report. The information contained in this report does not necessarily reflect the final outcome of WorkSafe's action with respect to this incident. WorkSafe does not warrant the information in this report is complete or up-to-date, and does not accept any liability to any person for the information in this report, or its use.