Procedures

Diving Safety - Procedures

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1.0 Purpose and Scope

This procedure outlines The University of Queensland's requirements for general diving work as part of the Health, Safety and Wellness Policy. The purpose is to ensure the health, safety and well-being of divers and compliance with relevant legislative requirements.

This procedure applies to all workers participating in general diving work and staff including supervisors and senior officers who have responsibilities to ensure the health and safety of the workers and those exposed to their activities.  Undertaking diving work exposes workers and other persons to particular risks which must be adequately controlled.

The objectives of this procedure are to:

  • outline responsibilities of senior officers, supervisors and diving work participants,
  • ensure adequate planning and OHS risk management of general diving work,
  • ensure adequate information is provided to all stakeholders for approval and emergency preparedness and response,
  • ensure the risk management process for general diving work adequately identifies hazards and controls, and is documented and recorded, and
  • ensure that the university holds adequate records of any general diving work being undertaken by its workers.

 

2.0 Process and Key Controls

Supervisors and senior officers must ensure the following processes are completed before undertaking general diving work:

  • ensure the university holds current competency and medical fitness records for all divers,
  • complete a work off-campus plan as per PPL 2.30.09 including the dive plan, risk management and emergency procedures, and
  • assign duties to workers competent to undertake the role.

Supervisors and senior officers must ensure the following processes are completed during general diving work:

  • conduct the diving work in accordance with the dive plan and risk assessments, and
  • complete the dive record as soon as practicable.

Supervisors and senior officers must ensure the following processes are completed after undertaking general diving work:

  • submit dive records to relevant diving officer.

To ensure the safety of workers and other persons, the following controls must be considered in the planning and conduct of general diving work:

  • annual medical screening of all divers against fitness criteria given in AS 2299.1 Occupational Diving Operations Part 1: Standard Operation Practice,
  • minimum competency standards for all divers,
  • supervision of diving work,
  • adequate resourcing of diving work,
  • dive plan and risk assessments,
  • first aid personnel and equipment onsite including oxygen resuscitation equipment,
  • effective emergency procedures including evacuation to a recompression chamber,
  • breathing apparatus and equipment preventative maintenance schedules including checks of gauge accuracy, and
  • breathing gas testing.

 

3.0 Key Requirements

3.1 Registration of workers undertaking diving work

All individuals seeking to engage in diving work under the auspices of the university must apply to a diving officer, forwarding the following:

  • a completed Diver Registration Form,
  • copies of their relevant diving qualifications,
  • copies of their diving logbooks sufficient to demonstrate current competency,
  • a copy of their current certificate of medical fitness to dive, and
  • a copy of their current First Aid and Oxygen Administration qualifications (if held).

All persons undertaking diving activities under the auspices of the university must complete an induction at an interval of no more than 5 years.

Dive supervisors who have completed the university's in-house training for dive supervisors may provide induction for divers.

All persons undertaking diving work must be at least 18 years of age.

Competency records should be uploaded to the UQSafe – Certifications module when the system has been implemented and linked to UQ Safe - Field.

   3.1.1 Certificates of Medical Fitness

All individuals engaged in diving work must provide to a dive officer a current certificate of medical fitness to dive.

The certificate must:

  • be issued by a registered medical practitioner with training in underwater medicine, and
  • state the following—
    • the name of the person to whom it is issued,
    • its date of issue and its expiry date,
    • whether or not the person to whom it is issued is, in accordance with the fitness criteria of AS/NZS 2299.1 (2007) Appendix M, medically fit to carry out diving work, and
    • any conditions in relation to the type of diving work the person to whom it is issued is fit to carry out, or the circumstances in which the person is fit to carry out general diving work.

In addition, the certificate must:

  • be issued within the past 12 months, and
  • have not expired or been revoked.

See Diving Safety Guideline 3.3.1 for further detail.

   3.1.2 Competency Requirements for Diving Work

      3.1.2.1 Divers

         3.1.2.1.1 Scientific Scuba Diver

  • Hold a current ADAS Part 1 restricted or higher certification, OR hold a certification under the Australian Qualifications Framework that is relevant in a substantial way to the work, OR hold a certificate for general diving work that is equivalent to the knowledge and skills of a recreational dive supervisor and has provided to the Diving Officer proof of the knowledge and skills of how to safely conduct the work being undertaken (see PPL 2.30.08c Diving Safety Guidelines s3.1.2 for further guidance on acceptable forms of proof).

         3.1.2.1.2 Limited Scientific Scuba Diver

  • Hold at least ‘Rescue’ diver certification with a recognised diver training organization, and
  • Have verified relevant experience of at least 15 hours of diving using the breathing apparatus to be used of which 500 minutes were spent within 10 metres of the working depth or deeper.

         3.1.2.1.3 SSBA Diver

  • Hold a current ADAS Part 2 Restricted or higher qualification.

         3.1.2.1.4 Scientific CCR Diver

  • Hold a current ADAS Part 1 restricted or higher certification, OR hold a certification under the Australian Qualifications Framework that is relevant in a substantial way to the work, OR hold a certificate for general diving work that is equivalent to the knowledge and skills of a recreational dive supervisor and has provided to the Diving Officer proof of the knowledge and skills of how to safely conduct the work being undertaken (see PPL 2.30.08c Diving Safety Guidelines s3.1.2 for guidance on acceptable forms of proof), and
  • Hold at least a certification from a recognised diver training organisation as a diver for the type of CCR proposed to be used, and
  • Have verified relevant experience of at least 30 hours of diving using the CCR to be used of which 1000 minutes were spent within 10m of the work depth or deeper.

         3.1.2.1.5 Visiting Scientific divers

  • Be not resident in Australia, and
  • Hold at least open water diver certification (ISO 24801.2 (2014)) from a recognised diver training organization, and
  • Have verified relevant experience of at least 60 hours of scientific diving using the breathing apparatus to be used of which 500 minutes were spent within 10 metres of the working depth or deeper, and
  • Provide a letter from the diver's employer verifying competency as a scientific diver to at least the level required in the diver's current country of residence.

Note: Visiting scientific divers may also demonstrate competency by 3.1.2.1.1, 3.1.2.1.3 or 3.1.2.1.4 above. 

      3.1.2.2 Dive supervisors

  • Persons qualified to dive under 3.1.2.1.2 may not act as dive supervisors.
  • Persons appointed to supervise diving must be competent to undertake the diving work, and sufficiently experienced to manage the risks.
  • Dive supervisors must have at least 15 hours experience as a scientific diver.
  • Dive supervisors must attend an induction by a diving officer prior to commencing work in the role or at least every 5 years.
  • Supervisors must ensure any diver they appoint as a dive supervisor has sufficient knowledge and skills in the diving work and risk management.

      3.1.2.3 Diver's attendants

Diver's attendants must:

  • be competent in first aid, CPR, and the provision of oxygen as per UQ PPL 2.60.20c,
  • have a working knowledge of the requirements of the underwater work,
  • have a working knowledge of the signals in use,
  • have a working knowledge of the decompression procedures in use, and
  • have a working knowledge of the diving plant and equipment in use.

Where the diver's attendant is the sole person remaining at the surface, the diver's attendant must also be:

  • competent to recognise and manage diving accidents to at least the level of 3.1.2.1.1 Scientific Scuba Diver, 3.1.2.1.5 Visiting Scientific Diver or 'Rescue Diver'.

      3.1.2.4 Nitrox or Oxygen Enriched Air

Dive supervisors and divers using nitrox or oxygen enriched air must:

  • hold at least a certification from a recognised diver training agency as a nitrox or oxygen enriched air diver.

Persons undertaking filling of gas cylinders with nitrox or oxygen must be trained to a minimum of ISO 13293:2012 Recreational Diving Services - Requirements for gas blender training programs.

   3.1.3 First aid and Emergency readiness

Supervisors and dive supervisors must ensure that sufficient first aid resources and trained personnel are available at the dive site.  The dive plan should identify the minimum level of first aid equipment, quantity of oxygen and levels of trained personnel in accordance with PPL 2.60.20c First Aid Guideline.  As a minimum, at least 2 persons on site must hold current certificates for first aid, CPR, and the provision of oxygen equivalent to HLTAID003, HLTAID001, and HLTAID007.  Where practicable, all members of the dive team should hold current certificates to at least this level.

 

3.2 Personnel Required

At every diving operation there must be sufficient personnel to ensure that diving is performed safely.  The minimum number and designations of personnel required for various types of compressed gas diving operations are set out in 3.2.1 to 3.2.3. The provision of extra personnel should always be considered as a means to reduce risk, particularly in dives involving particular hazards, those involving unusual underwater tasks, or for planned dive durations greater than one hour.  Sufficient personnel competent with first aid and oxygen administration as set out in 3.1.3 must be present.

Where dives are not being conducted in low visibility, and neither diver has a decompression requirement, two divers may act as an in-water standby diver to each other, ie a buddy team.

   3.2.1 Scuba

      3.2.1.1 Free-swimming scuba operations in open water

The following personnel must be present:

  • one dive supervisor,
  • two divers, each acting as in-water standby diver for the other diver, and
  • one diver's attendant.

The dive supervisor may act as either a diver or diver's attendant. The minimum team is therefore three persons.  If the dive supervisor is acting as a diver, the supervisor's surface duties must be delegated to the attendant.

One diver's attendant may attend to more than one pair of divers if:

  • supported by a documented risk assessment,
  • the divers are working in the same immediate vicinity, and
  • the dive team's ability to respond to an emergency is not compromised.

      3.2.1.2 Scuba operations in water depths up to 1.5m

The following personnel must be present:

  • one dive supervisor,
  • one diver, 
  • one diver's attendant.

The dive supervisor may act as either a diver or diver's attendant if:

  • supported by a documented risk assessment,
  • the dive team's ability to respond to an emergency is not compromised,
  • the diving work does not involve:
    • poor visibility,
    • danger to the diver from currents either natural or associated with man-made structures such as dams, weirs, inlets, outlets or sluices,
    • risk of entrapment of the diver or entanglement and provides unimpeded access to the surface, or
    • a situation in which third party assistance is not readily available in an emergency.

If a dive team of two is used, the attendant must maintain visual contact with the diver and must be capable of removing the diver from the water in an emergency or if the diver requests assistance. The minimum team is therefore two persons. 

      3.2.1.3 Scuba operations in aquarium tanks, swimming pools or in sheltered open water

The following personnel must be present:

  • one dive supervisor,
  • two divers, each acting as in-water standby diver for the other diver,
  • one diver's attendant.

The dive supervisor may act as either a diver or diver's attendant. The minimum team is therefore three persons.  If the dive supervisor is acting as a diver, the supervisor's surface duties must be delegated to the attendant.

In exceptional circumstances, where minimal risk is present, the supervisor and Head of School or Organisational Unit may authorise a minimum team of two divers if:

  • supported by a documented risk assessment,
  • the dive team's ability to respond to an emergency is not compromised,
  • the diving work does not involve:
    • poor visibility,
    • danger to the diver from currents either natural or associated with man-made structures such as dams, weirs, inlets, outlets or sluices,
    • risk of entrapment of the diver or entanglement and provides unimpeded access to the surface, or
    • a situation in which third party assistance is not readily available in an emergency.

If a dive team of two is used, each diver must maintain visual contact with the diver and must be capable of removing the diver from the water in an emergency or if the diver requests assistance. The minimum team in exceptional circumstances is therefore two persons. 

      3.2.1.4 Scuba operations utilising lifelines

The following personnel must be present:

  • one dive supervisor,
  • one diver,
  • one diver's attendant,
  • one standby diver.

The dive must be controlled by a dive supervisor on the surface.  Where supported by a documented comprehensive risk assessment, the supervisor may act as the diver's attendant providing this does not compromise the team's ability to respond to an emergency.  The dive supervisor must not be nominated as a diver or standby diver. The minimum team is therefore three persons.

   3.2.2 SSBA

      3.2.2.1 SSBA operations in water depths up to 1.5m

The following personnel must be present:

  • one dive supervisor,
  • one diver,
  • one diver's attendant.

The dive supervisor may act as either a diver or diver's attendant if:

  • supported by a documented risk assessment,
  • the dive team's ability to respond to an emergency is not compromised,
  • the diving work does not involve:
    • poor visibility,
    • danger to the diver from currents either natural or associated with man-made structures such as dams, weirs, inlets, outlets or sluices,
    • risk of entrapment of the diver or entanglement and provides unimpeded access to the surface, or
    • a situation in which third party assistance is not readily available in an emergency.

If a dive team of two is used, the attendant must maintain visual contact with the diver and must be capable of removing the diver from the water in an emergency or if the diver requests assistance. The minimum team is therefore two persons.

      3.2.2.2 SSBA Operations to 20m

The following personnel must be present:

  1. one dive supervisor,
  2. one diver,
  3. one diver's attendant,
  4. one standby diver.

The dive must be controlled by a dive supervisor on the surface.  Where supported by a documented comprehensive risk assessment, the supervisor may act as the diver's attendant providing this does not compromise the team's ability to respond to an emergency.  The dive supervisor must not be nominated as a diver or standby diver. The minimum team is therefore three persons.

      3.2.2.3 SSBA operations in 20 to 30m depth

The following personnel must be present:

  • one dive supervisor,
  • one diver,
  • one diver's attendant,
  • one standby diver,
  • one standby diver’s attendant.

The dive must be controlled by a dive supervisor on the surface.  Where supported by a documented comprehensive risk assessment, the supervisor may act as the diver's attendant providing this does not compromise the team's ability to respond to an emergency.  The dive supervisor must not be nominated as a diver or standby diver. The minimum team is therefore four persons.

      3.2.2.4 SSBA operations to greater than 30m depth

The following personnel must be present:

  • one dive supervisor,
  • one diver,
  • one diver's attendant,
  •  one standby diver,
  • one standby diver’s attendant.

The dive must be controlled by a dive supervisor on the surface. The minimum team is therefore five persons.

   3.2.3 CCR

      3.2.3.1 Free-swimming CCR operations in open water

The following personnel must be present:

  • one dive supervisor,
  • two divers, each acting as in-water standby diver for the other diver,
  • one diver's attendant.

The dive supervisor may act as either a diver or diver's attendant. The minimum team is therefore three persons.  If the dive supervisor is acting as a diver, the supervisor's surface duties must be delegated to the attendant.

One dive attendant may attend to more than one pair of divers if:

  • supported by a documented risk assessment,
  • the divers are working in the same immediate vicinity, and
  • the dive team's ability to respond to an emergency is not compromised.

      3.2.3.2 CCR operations in water depths up to 1.5m

The following personnel must be present:

  • one dive supervisor,
  • one diver,
  • one diver's attendant.

The dive supervisor may act as either a diver or diver's attendant if:

  • supported by a documented risk assessment,
  • the dive team's ability to respond to an emergency is not compromised,
  • the diving operation does not involve:
    • poor visibility,
    • danger to the diver from currents either natural or associated with man-made structures such as dams, weirs, inlets, outlets or sluices,
    • risk of entrapment of the diver or entanglement and provides unimpeded access to the surface, or
    • a situation in which third party assistance is not readily available in an emergency.

If a dive team of two is used, the attendant must maintain visual contact with the diver and must be capable of removing the diver from the water in an emergency or if the diver requests assistance. The minimum team is therefore two persons.

 

3.3 Diving Procedures

   3.3.1 Dive plan

A written dive plan on the approved form must be:

  • completed by the nominated dive supervisor,
  • submitted to the relevant dive officer with sufficient time to adopt any changes advised,
  • approved by the supervisor prior to diving work commencing.

Dive plans should be attached to the UQSafe – Field work off campus plan.  Approval of an attached dive plan by the supervisor is completed by approving the field work plan.

   3.3.2 Emergency Preparedness

Emergency plans must be developed in writing and provide details of the procedures for:

  • a diver to be recovered to the dive tender or shore or place where first aid can be effectively provided,
  • the minimum number of persons with first aid training, and the minimum level of first aid training of those persons,
  • the minimum volume of medical grade oxygen to be onsite,
  • transfer of an injured diver to the emergency services,
  • transfer of an injured diver to a recompression facility,
  • transfer of an injured diver to medical aid, and
  • lost or overdue diver/s.

Where practicable, emergency plans should be attached to the work off-campus plan in UQSafe – Field.

   3.3.3 Risk assessment

A risk assessment must be prepared by a person competent as a dive supervisor under these procedures for all diving work in accordance with UQ PPL 2.30.01 Occupational Health and Safety Risk Management. 

In circumstances where the UQ Risk Management Database is not accessible to the entire dive team, alternative methodologies that comply with the How to Manage Work Health and Safety Risks Code of Practice [QLD] 2011 may be utilised.  These methodologies may be used to implement more effective controls in the event of variation in the previously identified hazards in supervisor approved assessment.  

The hazard identification checklist in the approved dive plan should be used to assist in identifying the potential hazards.  

The dive supervisor must ensure that:

  • all workers are consulted regarding the risk assessment prior to diving work commencing, and
  • all of the controls nominated in the risk assessment have been implemented.

   3.3.4 Record of dive

A record of dives undertaken must be made on an approved form.  The record must show for each diver:

  • the name of the diver,
  • the name of any co-diver (buddy or standby diver),
  • the name of the dive supervisor supervising the dive,
  • the date and location of the dive,
  • the time the diver left surface,
  • the time the diver returned to surface,
  • the maximum depth the diver reached,
  • the information relevant to the dive tables in use (surface interval, repetitive factor, bottom time, effective bottom time, repetitive group), and
  • any incident, difficulty, discomfort or injury that occurred during the dive.

Where nitrox is being used, the dive record must also show for each diver:

  • the fraction of oxygen in each gas being used, and
  • the maximum operating depth of each gas being used.

The dive record must be completed and signed by the diver and dive supervisor as soon as practicable.  Where diving is undertaken from a vessel the dive record must be signed before the vessel departs the dive site.

 

3.4 Risk management of hazards specific to diving work

   3.4.1 Management of risk of decompression sickness

Risk of decompression sickness should be primarily managed by use of recognised decompression procedures that are at least as conservative as the Department of Civil and Environmental Medicine Air Decompression Procedures and Tables (1992).

Where it is not practicable to apply a tabulated decompression table such as diving using closed circuit rebreathers, a diving computer may be used to track a diver's decompression requirement.  The dive supervisor must ensure divers do not exceed 80% of the stated no-decompression limit for any dive as per 3.4.1.1.

      3.4.1.1 Modifications of dive times depending on level of recompression chamber support

Depending on the availability of emergency recompression, diving must be limited as follows:

(a) Dive duration limits where recompression is available within two hours:

Where recompression is available within two hours of the dive site, the maximum bottom time for any single dive must be the no-decompression limit (NDL) times for the decompression tables and procedures in use, providing that the maximum time in the water for any one dive does not exceed the maximum dive time listed in Table 3.4.1 for the appropriate depth.

(b) Dive duration limits where recompression availability exceeds two hours:

Where recompression availability exceeds two hours travel from the dive site, the maximum bottom time for any single dive must be 80% of the no-decompression limit (NDL) times for the decompression tables and procedures in use, provided that the maximum time in the water for any one dive does not exceed the maximum dive time listed in Table 3.4.2 for the appropriate depth.

Maximum dive depth
m

Maximum daily dive time (minutes)

 

One dive only

Multiple dives

 

6

480

360

 

9

240

190

 

>9

150

120

 

Table 3.4.1 Maximum time limits for divers undertaken where recompression chamber support is available within 2 hours

 

 

Maximum dive depth
m

Maximum daily dive time (minutes)

 

One dive only

Multiple dives 

 

6

300

240

 

9

180

150

 

>9

120

90

 

Table 3.4.2 Maximum time limits for divers undertaken where recompression chamber support is available in more than 2 hours

 
 

Note: All repetitive dives undertaken without a recompression chamber onsite should be undertaken with an increased level of caution.

      3.4.1.2 Exposure to altitude following diving

Exposure to altitude after diving has been shown to increase risk of decompression sickness.  The minimum delays are set out in Table 3.4.3.  These delays are for divers who find themselves in good health following diving.  The times are based on minimal evidence and should be applied conservatively.  If any signs or symptoms are present, individualised medical advice from a doctor trained in hyperbaric medicine must be obtained before any exposure to altitude.

Altitude (m)

Minimum delay before travel to altitude (h)

 

Category of dive (see legend)

 

1

2

3

 

0-150

Nil

Nil

2

 

150-600

Nil

2

12

 

600-2400

12

24

48

 

Greater than 2400

24

48

72

 

Table 3.4.3 Minimum delay before exposure to altitude

 

Category 1: A single dive to <50% of the DCIEM no-decompression limit, or two short dives within 18h with a total, combined bottom time of <50% of the no-decompression limit for the depth of the deeper dive. No decompression dives or repetitive dives to have been performed in the preceding few days.

Category 2: Dives exceeding category 1 but not included in Category 3, e.g. one or more dives to >50% of the no-decompression limits, or a single decompression dive in a day.

Category 3: Repetitive deep diving over multiple days, multiple decompression dives on one day, extreme exposures, omitted decompression, or other adverse events.

Note that the altitude referred to is the effective altitude.  In pressurized aircraft is usually 2400m, but may exceed this is some circumstances.

   3.4.2 Management of risk from non-associated vessel traffic

On navigable waters a dive flag in compliance with local regulation should be flown in a way to maximise visibility.  In most waters, this is the international code of signals Code A flag.

Where diving operations are conducted from vessels at night the vessel must display Restricted in ability to manoeuvre lights in accordance with Rule 27 of the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea 1972.

   3.4.3 Management of risk from the breathing apparatus

Closed circuit rebreathers must not be used where it is reasonably practicable to obtain an equivalent outcome by substituting a lower risk type of breathing apparatus such as SSBA or SCUBA.

   3.4.4 Management of risk from buoyant lifting devices

Where objects are being moved by buoyant lifting devices, the objects buoyant weight must be limited to less than 50kg unless SSBA is being utilised and AS 2299.1 diving procedures are being followed.

 

3.5 Plant and Equipment Requirements

   3.5.1 Compulsory equipment for all divers

The following equipment must be used or carried by each diver on every dive unless special dispensation has been granted by their Boating and Diving Officer or delegate:

  • exposure protection (wetsuit, drysuit, coverall) appropriate to the prevailing environmental conditions,
  • mask, fins, and a diver’s knife or cutting implement. The knife must be worn in such a way that it will not foul any discarded equipment (e.g. released weights),
  • a buoyancy control device (BCD) with oral and SCUBA-feed inflators. A BCD must be used with both wetsuits and drysuits,
  • a weight belt, or a buoyancy control device incorporating an integrated weight system with quick-release and weights (if required for buoyancy control).

The following equipment must be onsite and available to the diver's attendant:

  • where divers are operating in free-swimming SCUBA or Rebreather mode, a means to recall the divers to the surface,
  • an adequate means of immediate communication in the event of an accident or emergency,
  • oxygen resuscitation equipment capable of delivering 100% oxygen to a minimum of two divers simultaneously.

Consideration should be given as to the need for an automatic external defibrillator to be available to the dive attendant on site.

      3.5.1.1 Scuba mouth held demand

  • A SCUBA cylinder and valve designed in accordance with AS 2030.
  • A SCUBA regulator and alternative air source or air supply, such as a pony bottle or octopus regulator.
  • An air cylinder pressure gauge, depth gauge and timing device, e.g. watch or dive computer.
  • Emergency signalling equipment including:
    • a high visibility signalling device, for example, a safety sausage,
    • an audible signalling device, for example, a whistle,
    • a lighted signalling device, for example, a glow stick, if diving is to take place close to dusk or after dark.

      3.5.1.2 Scuba Full face mask

  • A SCUBA cylinder and valve designed in accordance with AS 2030.
  • A SCUBA regulator including a full face mask and alternative second stage regulator.
  • An air cylinder pressure gauge, depth gauge and timing device, e.g. watch or dive computer.
  • Emergency signalling equipment including:
    • a high visibility signalling device, for example, a safety sausage,
    • an audible signalling device, for example, a whistle,
    • a lighted signalling device, for example, a glow stick, if diving is to take place close to dusk or after dark.

      3.5.1.3 SSBA

  • Either an incompressible helmet OR a full-face mask.
  • An emergency gas supply of sufficient volume to make a safe ascent including any decompression required.
  • A mechanism by which the diver can access the emergency gas supply without removing the helmet or full face mask.
  • An air cylinder pressure gauge, depth gauge and timing device, e.g. watch or dive computer.
  • A diver's hose complying with AS 2299.1.
  • A harness.
  • A lifeline.
  • Two way voice communications to the surface.
  • A gas control panel.
  • A primary air source which may be compressed gas cylinders complying with AS 2030 or a low pressure breathing air compressor.
  • A secondary gas source which must be sourced from compressed gas cylinders complying with AS 2030.

      3.5.1.4 CCR

  • A closed circuit rebreather, which is both EN14143:2013 approved, and approved by the UQ Boating and Diving Officer.
  • An air cylinder pressure gauge, depth gauge and timing device, e.g. watch or dive computer.
  • A redundant open circuit gas supply.
  • Emergency signalling equipment including:
    • a high visibility signalling device, for example, a safety sausage,
    • an audible signalling device, for example, a whistle,
    • a lighted signalling device, for example, a glow stick, if diving is to take place close to dusk or after dark.

      3.5.1.5 Tethered diving

In addition to the equipment listed above, divers may utilise lifelines in limited visibility. 

  • A harness.
  • A lifeline which may incorporate communications, gas supply.

Where practicable, a diver should carry an alternate gas supply such as a bailout cylinder.

Emergency signalling devices need not be carried during tethered dives, unless there is a residual risk of current.

   3.5.2   Maintenance requirements

Scuba, SSBA and CCR equipment including BCDs must be maintained as per the manufacturer's recommendations.  Where the manufacturer's recommended service interval is greater than 12 months, the equipment must be inspected for correct function by a competent person every 12 months.  A competent person in this case would be a person who has completed the manufacturer's service training or equivalent.

Divers and dive supervisors are encouraged to plan ahead in order that equipment can be maintained in time however if, due to operational circumstances, maintenance can not be completed within the prescribed period then an extension of up to a maximum of 30 days can be issued if the dive supervisor operating the equipment confirms, in writing, that it is operating satisfactorily and appears in good condition. Where there is one or more qualified equipment technicians, whose duties include maintaining this equipment, then they should also all confirm the equipment is satisfactory before such an extension is issued.

      3.5.2.1 Gauge accuracy

Diver's depth gauges and submersible contents gauges must be checked for accuracy at least every twelve months.  Accuracy should be at least to the manufactured standard.  Gauges experiencing rough or heavy use should be tested at more frequent intervals not exceeding 6 months.

   3.5.3 Breathing gas quality and testing

The dive supervisor must ensure that the source of the breathing gas used has been tested against the below criteria within the last 3 months.

      3.5.3.1 Air

Breathing air must meet the following requirements:

  • have no objectionable or nauseous odour,
  • contain not less than 20% and not more than 22% by volume of oxygen,
  • contain not more than 5 ppm by volume of carbon monoxide,
  • contain not more than 600 ppm by volume of carbon dioxide,
  • contain not more than 0.5 mg of oil per cubic metre, and
  • contain not more than 50mg of water vapour per cubic metre for cylinders filled to 225 bar, and contain not more than 30 mg of water vapour per cubic metre for cylinders filled to 225-300 bar.

      3.5.3.2 Nitrox

Nitrox used for diving operations must meet the following requirements:

  • have no objectionable or nauseous odour,
  • contain oxygen at a stated fraction >20% to within 1%,
  • contain not more than 5 ppm by volume of carbon monoxide,
  • contain not more than 600 ppm by volume of carbon dioxide,
  • contain not more than 0.5 mg of oil per cubic metre, and
  • contain not more than 50mg of water vapour per cubic metre for cylinders filled to 225 bar, and contain not more than 30 mg of water vapour per cubic metre for cylinders filled to 225-300 bar.

Oxygen compatible breathing air must meet the following requirements:

  • have no objectionable or nauseous odour,
  • contain not less than 20% and not more than 22% by volume of oxygen,
  • contain not more than 5 ppm by volume of carbon monoxide,
  • contain not more than 600 ppm by volume of carbon dioxide,
  • contain not more than 0.1 mg of oil per cubic metre, and
  • contain not more than 30 mg of water vapour per cubic metre.

 

4.0 Roles, Responsibilities and Accountabilities

Staff at all levels at The University of Queensland have specific responsibilities for ensuring occupational health and safety. Senior Officers, managers, and supervisors have duties under relevant legislation to exercise due diligence to ensure the health and safety of persons engaged in diving work.

Persons conducting diving work have duties relating to workers under relevant legislation to take reasonable care for their own health and safety, and for the health and safety of other persons.

 

4.1 Senior Officers

Senior Officers have the following additional responsibilities:

  • Acquire and keep up-to-date knowledge of work health and safety matters in relation to diving work.
  • Ensure adequate resources have been allocated for carrying out the work in accordance with approved WOC Plans and OHS Risk Assessment pertaining to diving work.
  • Ensure appropriate processes are in place for receiving and considering information regarding incidents, hazards and risks and responding in a timely way to that information.
  • Ensure that appropriate approvals have been granted, and records maintained, relating to diving work.

 

4.2 Supervisors

Supervisors have the following additional responsibilities:

  • Ensure that diving operations are conducted according to these procedures.
  • Ensuring that workers are adequately trained, experienced, and inducted for diving work. 
  • Ensuring that diving operations are effectively supervised onsite by appointing an appropriate dive supervisor.
  • Supervise the development of work off-campus plans including dive plans and OHS risk assessment for general diving work.
  • Ensure dive plans and OHS risk assessments are relevant to the work being undertaken.
  • Approve the work off-campus plans including dive plans and OHS Risk Assessment for general diving work.
  • Ensure adequate information is provided to all stakeholders for review and emergency preparedness and response.
  • Ensure that appropriate emergency procedures and equipment are in place for work off-campus.
  • Ensure that work off-campus plans, dive plans and OHS risk assessment are updated if the nature of the work changes and new OHS risks are introduced or a work off-campus plan proves inappropriate.
  • Ensure that plant and equipment including PPE and emergency equipment is provided and adequately maintained.
  • Ensure that timely reporting and appropriate corrective action is taken for all incidents involving diving work.

Supervisors who are not dive supervisors should seek advice from the OHS Division Boating and Diving Advisor or a dive officer.

 

4.3 Workers

Workers must:

  • ensure that they take reasonable care for their own and others' health and safety, 
  • comply with these procedures when participating in diving operations, and
  • co-operate with any reasonable request with regard to these diving procedures.

   4.3.1 Dive Supervisors

Dive supervisors are responsible for all aspects of diving safety whilst onsite.  The dive supervisor nominated in a dive plan must be onsite during diving operations, or delegate their duties to another dive supervisor identified in the dive plan.

In addition to the responsibilities in section 4.3, the dive supervisor is responsible for:

  • ensuring a dive plan has been completed and approved by the supervisor and submitted to the relevant dive officer,
  • ensuring the relevant dive officer holds proof of competency and copies of current certificates of medical fitness for all divers,
  • ensuring the diving work is performed in accordance with the dive plan as far as is practicable, or notifying the supervisor and dive officer of any changes that may be required,
  • ensuring a risk assessment as per PPL 2.30.01 has been completed for the diving work,
  • ensuring the controls identified in the risk assessment are implemented,
  • briefing all persons involved in the diving operation, including the diver's attendants and tender master (as applicable), on their role,
  • ensuring all divers are fit to dive at the time diving commences,
  • ensuring the dive record is completed as soon as practicable for every dive,
  • submitting all dive records to the relevant dive officer within an acceptable timeframe (typically five working days from completion of the diving work),
  • monitoring decompression safety for each diver,
  • ensuring each diver has the equipment required and the diving equipment in use is maintained as per the manufacturer's standards,
  • ensuring equipment failures are noted in the dive record,
  • ensuring any illness, injury or near miss is reported to the university as soon as practicable as per PPL 2.10.07 Workplace Injury, Illness and Incident Reporting,
  • ensuring breathing gas quality has been tested as per Breathing Gas Quality and Testing.

   4.3.2 Divers

Safe diving requires all participants in the diving team to be mindful of their safety and the safety of others in the team.

Divers are responsible for:

  • providing to the university all and any records required for the university to comply with the Work Health and Safety Regulation QLD 2011 and any other relevant legislation (see Section 3.1 above and 2.30.08c Diving Safety Guideline section 3.1),
  • ensuring they are fit to dive for each dive,
  • ensuring they are competent to undertake the dive and the diving work,
  • complying with control measures indicated in the risk assessment and in these procedures,
  • giving their full attention to dive supervisor's brief,
  • monitoring gas supply and return to surface with an adequate reserve,
  • reporting equipment failures to dive supervisor,
  • signing the dive record,
  • maintaining a verified logbook of their diving activity,
  • ensuring any illness, injury or near miss is reported to the university as soon as practicable.

In addition, Limited Divers are responsible for:

  • ensuring the work undertaken is limited diving work, and
  • ensuring they dive on no more than 28 days in any six month period.

   4.3.3   Dive attendants

Dive attendants are present onsite to assist the divers, monitor the safety of any diver, and provide support in emergencies.  Dive attendants must not be engaged in any other activity while divers they are attending are underwater.

Dive attendants are responsible for:

  • having a complete working knowledge of the dive plan, and associated tasks,
  • complying with control measures indicated in risk assessment and these procedures,
  • giving their full attention to dive supervisor's brief,
  • promptly and accurately filling in the dive record as required,
  • assisting with the deployment and recovery of divers, samples and equipment as required,
  • establishing and maintaining a constant look-out over any divers in the water, and
  • participating in any emergency as per the emergency plan.

   4.3.4 Dive Tender Master

The dive tender master is a key member of the dive team.  Operations of the dive tender can have significant effects on divers working from or near the vessel.

The dive tender master is responsible for:

  • ensuring the vessel is operated in a manner to minimise risk to any divers, and
  • ensuring the appropriate signals are shown by the vessel whilst engaged in diving operations.

The dive tender master may suspend or recall diving operations at their discretion.

See PPL 2.30.07 Boating safety for further information.

   4.3.5 Dive Officer

A Dive Officer must be a suitably qualified and experienced occupational diver. 

The Dive Officer is responsible for:

  • providing advice for compliance and safety for diving operations,
  • assisting supervisors and dive supervisors to complete dive plans, emergency plans and risk assessments,
  • maintaining the University's required records for diving operations, and
  • auditing of compliance of the University's diving operations.

 

5.0 Monitoring, Review and Assurance

As the first line of defence, senior officers will monitor and review operational activities, risks and controls associated with general diving work. Monitoring and reviews performed at this level will be facilitated by OHS staff and is generally embedded in the routine processes, procedures and activities of front line operating management. 

The HSW Division will monitor and review the compliance practices and health and safety management performance across the University to ensure the ongoing effectiveness of the related controls associated with general diving work.

Where a work off-campus plan that includes a dive plan is in development prior to supervisor approval, the relevant diving officer should be invited to conduct a peer review of the dive plan and relevant risk assessments.

Diving Officers must conduct regular desk top audits of dive records to ensure that records are complete and the diving work undertaken is within the scope of the approved dive plan.

 

6.0 Recording and Reporting

Copies of certificates of fitness for diving work must be held by the university for at least ten years after the diving work is completed.

Copies of competency must be held by the university for at least three years after the diving work is completed.  The custodian of the certificates must be the relevant diving officer.

Supervisors must ensure that dive plans are attached to work off-campus approvals in UQSafe – Field. Where practicable, emergency procedures should also be attached to the work off campus approval.

Dive records must be completed as soon as practicable by the dive supervisor and/or attendant, and submitted to the relevant diving officer within an acceptable timeframe (typically five working days from completion of the diving work).

Divers should maintain as separate diver’s logbook for their own records.

Incidents must be noted on the dive record and full details reported as soon as practicable using UQSafe – Incident.

 

7.0 Appendix

7.1 Definitions, Terms, Acronyms

CCR - closed circuit rebreather.

Dive officer - a person appointed in writing to perform the duties of a dive officer.

Dive Supervisor - the person competent for general diving work that is appointed in writing within the dive plan to ensure safety and compliance with the Work Health and Safety Act (Qld) 2011.

Dive tender - a vessel used to support diving operations.

Diving work - work conducted in or under water or other liquid whilst breathing compressed gas.

General diving work - work conducted in or under water or other liquid whilst breathing compressed gas that is not high risk diving work.

High risk diving work - diving work that involves one or more of the following -

  • any work carried out in connection with the construction, alteration, conversion, fitting-out, commissioning, renovation, repair, maintenance, refurbishment, demolition, decommissioning or dismantling of a structure,
  • testing, maintenance or repair work of a minor nature carried out in connection with a structure,
  • inspection of a structure, or
  • the recovery or salvage of a large structure or large item of plant,
  • but excludes minor work that involves cleaning, inspecting, maintaining or searching for a vessel or mooring.

Note: General diving work can be high risk without necessarily meeting the definition of high risk diving work.

Incidental Diving work - diving work that is not high risk diving work that -

  • is incidental to the conduct of the business or undertaking in which the diving work is carried out, and
  • involves limited diving, and
  • is carried out while being accompanied and supervised by a person who is competent for diving work.

Limited Diving - diving that does not involve any of the following -

  • diving to a depth below 30m,
  • the need for a decompression stop,
  • the use of mechanical lifting equipment or a buoyancy lifting device,
  • diving beneath anything that would require the diver to move sideways before being able  to ascend,
  • the use of plant that is powered from the surface,
  • diving for more than 28 days during a period of 6 months.

Navigable waters - all waters that are from time to time capable of navigation and are open to or used by the public for navigation, whether on payment of a fee or otherwise.

PCBU - person conducting a business or undertaking.

Scientific Diving – diving performed for the purpose of professional scientific research, natural resource management or scientific research as an educational activity.

Scuba open-circuit self-contained breathing apparatus.

SSBA - surface supplied breathing apparatus.

Structure - anything that is constructed, whether fixed or moveable, temporary or permanent and includes -

  • buildings, masts, towers, framework, pipelines, transport infrastructure and underground works (shafts or tunnels), and
  • any component of a structure, and
  • part of a structure.

Items of plant, such as minor experimental installations, are typically not structures.

Custodians
Director, Occupational Health and Safety Mr Jim Carmichael

Guidelines

Diving Safety - Guidelines

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1.0  Purpose and Objectives

This guideline provides advice regarding The University of Queensland's requirements for general diving work as part of the Health Safety and Wellness Policy. The purpose is to provide further information to 2.30.08b Diving Safety Procedures

This guideline applies to all workers participating in general diving work and staff, including supervisors and senior officers, who have responsibilities to ensure the health and safety of the workers and those exposed to their activities.  Undertaking diving work exposes workers and other persons to particular risks which must be adequately controlled.

The objectives of this guideline are to:

  • Provide information for duty holders where UQ is not the sole person in charge of a business or undertaking (PCBU).

  • Provide further information regarding certificates of medical fitness and competency requirements.

  • Provide further information regarding risk management for diving work.

  • Give guidance as to acceptable timeframes for record keeping.

2.0  Diving work where UQ is not the sole PCBU

2.1 Diving work from UQ owned vessels or sites which involve no UQ personnel

Prior to diving work commencing, UQ should ensure that the PCBU conducting the diving work is undertaking the work in compliance with their obligations under Part 4.8 of the Work Health and Safety Regulation (QLD) 2011.

UQ may demonstrate reasonable diligence by requesting a letter of authority to dive from the PCBU or an officer of the PCBU stating that:

  • the PCBU  holds evidence that persons undertaking diving work are:

    • Medically fit according to the criteria of Paragraph M4 of AS 2299.1 ;

    • competent to do the proposed work as per the requirements of the Work Health and Safety Regulation (QLD) 2011;

  • a person competent to complete the diving work has been appointed as the dive supervisor;

  • a dive plan and risk assessment have been prepared for the diving work by a person competent for diving work;

  • dive records will be lodged with the PCBU and retained for at least one year.

Where the PCBU has a diving procedures manual, diving should be conducted as per the manual's procedures or guidelines.

The PCBU and its workers shall comply with any reasonable request made by UQ in its capacity as the vessel owner.

2.2 Diving work from UQ owned vessels or sites where a UQ worker is acting as the diver's attendant and/or dive tender master

In addition to the requirements of 5.1 above, UQ should ensure that:

  • the PCBU engages the diver's attendant or dive tender master in accordance with PPL 2.30.08b s4.4.3 and 4.4.4 respectively; and

  • the divers and dive supervisor understand and are competent to perform their role in an emergency.

The PCBU and its workers shall comply with any reasonable request made by UQ in its capacity as the vessel owner.

2.3 Diving work with other PCBUs where UQ workers are acting as divers

Where a UQ worker is acting as a diver in a team of divers from another PCBU, the supervisor should ensure that:

  • a competent person has been appointed to supervise the diving work;

  • UQ workers undertaking diving work are competent to do so and have provided the relevant documentation as per PPL 2.30.08b s3.1;

  • the dive team consists of sufficient competent persons as per PPL 2.30.08b s3.2; and 

  • dive plans, emergency plans, risk assessments and dive records are completed and submitted as per PPL 2.30.08b s3.3.

Where UQ and non-UQ divers are working in the same vicinity in unrelated tasks, the supervisor should ensure that:

  • all dive teams' risk assessments consider the risk that each task might present to other persons; 

  • the other PCBU provides sufficient information to comply with 5.1 and 5.2 above (if relevant).

3.0 Key Requirements

3.1 Registration of workers undertaking diving work

3.1.1 Certificates of medical fitness

Where it is not reasonably practicable for a diver to obtain a certificate of medical fitness as per the diving procedures 3.1.1, a diver may utilise a certificate of medical fitness for occupational diving if the certificate:

  • is no more than 1 year old;

  • was issued by a person with training in hyperbaric medicine and is registered to practice medicine in the country of issue;

  • the fitness criteria are provided and are equivalent to AS 2299.1 (2007) Appendix M4.

Examples of certificates of medical fitness with equivalent medical criteria include a UK HSE occupational diving medical and a US NOAA diving medical.

3.1.2 Acceptable evidence of competency and experience

3.1.2.1 Qualifications under the Australian Qualifications Framework

Australian Qualifications Framework statements of attainment for diving work should, as a minimum, meet the training requirements of AS 2815.6 (2013).

3.1.2.2 Certificates equivalent to recreational diving supervisor

Where evidence of training equivalent to a recreational diving supervisor is used as the primary evidence of competency, and the dive task being undertaken is outside the scope of the training provided, a diver shall also provide evidence to the University that the diver is competent to undertake the work.  This evidence may be provided in the form of logbooks, other qualifications, or evidence of other training.

3.1.2.3 Buoyant lifting devices

Buoyant lifting devices regardless of size have the potential to create a rapid ascent for the diver operating them.  Supervisors shall ensure that the University holds evidence of competency through training for any diver using buoyant lifting devices.  The training should be to the level of competency required by AS 2815.2. 

3.1.2.4 Pneumatic tools for coring or taking of minor samples

Supervisors shall ensure that the University holds evidence of competency through training for any diver using tools powered other than by hand.  The training should be to the level of competency required by the relevant section of AS 2815.2. Examples of such training include the ADAS Scientific Scuba to 30m undertaken at UQ from 2008-2016, ADAS Part 2, ADAS Occupational SSBA diver to 30m.

3.1.2.5 Other tools powered from surface or by compressed air

Supervisors shall ensure that the University holds evidence of competency through training for any diver using tools powered other than by hand.  The training should be to the level of competency required by the relevant section of AS 2815.2.

3.1.2.6 Diver propulsion vehicles

Supervisors shall ensure that the University holds evidence of competency for any diver utilising diver propulsion vehicles.  This evidence may be in be form of formal training under a recreational training agency, or in-house training provided by a person competent to utilise the diver propulsion vehicle to be used.

3.1.2.7 Acceptable evidence of experience

Where the diving procedures require evidence of diving experience to be held by the University, the evidence should take the form of a diver's or employer's record of dive, signed by the diving supervisor and stamped by the employer for verification.  Where divers have not maintained a diver's logbook to this standard or cannot obtain employer's records of dives, a diver may make a statutory declaration verifying that dive records in any other form are a true and accurate record of their diving experience.

3.1.3 Conditions for Limited Scientific Scuba Divers

Wherever practicable, divers using scuba should meet the minimum competency requirements of the Diving Procedures section 3.1.2.1.1.  Divers who do not meet this competency requirement may dive under the direct in-water supervision of a diver who is competent under Diving Procedures s3.1.2.1.1 if they meet the requirements of the Diving Procedures section 3.1.2.1.2.  

Supervisors must ensure that if limited scientific scuba divers are undertaking diving work, the dive task and environmental factors must be low risk and be limited diving.  

Limited scientific scuba divers shall not participate in any dive using a tool other than one powered by hand, or dives utilising buoyant or mechanical lifting equipment.

Volunteers who are engaged to make up a dive team should meet the minimum competency requirements of the Diving Procedures section 3.1.2.1.1.

3.1.4 Divers without currency of dive experience (less than 10 dives or 200 minutes in last 2 years)

Divers without recent diving experience should only engage in limited diving work until such time as sufficient time underwater has been logged.

3.2. Personnel required

Refer to the UQ PPL 2.30.08b Diving Safety - Procedures s3.2.

3.3. Risk management

3.3.1 Hyperbaric and physiological factors

3.3.1.1 Conservative use of decompression tables for dives with increased risk of DCS

In the event that one or more significant identifiable risk factor/s are present before, during or after a dive (e.g. cold water, fatigue, hard work, post dive exercise, etc.), the Dive Supervisor must ensure that allowance is made for these and that if at all possible details of this are communicated to all divers BEFORE the dive.

Such allowance shall be implemented by reducing the available time for the dive, with the amount of time reduction to be determined as follows:

  • where the dive is to deeper than 12 m - moving one or two time or depth increments, depending on the level of the risk factor/s, up the DCIEM tables; or

  • where the dive is to 12 m or less - moving one or two time or depth increments, depending on the level of the risk factor/s, across the Diving Procedures Table 3.4.1 and 3.4.2.

For all dives of greater than 9 metres in depth, or between 7 m and 9 m in depth where a dive is for longer than 180 minutes duration, divers should perform a safety stop at between 3 to 5 metres depth for at least 3 to 5 minutes except where the conduct of a safety stop increases the risk from other hazards.

3.3.1.2 Recompression chamber support of diving

The requirements of this section have been adapted from Australian Standard AS2299.1:2015 – Occupational Diving Operations: Standard Operational Practice, which should be referred to for further information.

Availability of Recompression Chamber Support

Dive planning for dives must take account of the availability of emergency recompression chamber support. This may involve a chamber being on or remote to the site, and the chamber may or may not be dedicated to support of the diving work.

For on-site chambers and chambers dedicated for dive support, the specifications of the chamber, its staffing and operation, the treatment of decompression illness and the qualifications of its operators shall comply with the requirements in AS/NZS2299.1. Other chambers considered for dive support shall be multiplace, twin lock chambers within medical facilities which have operational capability and availability to provide emergency diver treatment.

Operations Requiring an On-site Recompression Chamber

An operational recompression chamber shall be located on-site for a diving work at any time when:

  • decompression diving is undertaken;

  • free or buoyant ascent training is being conducted;

  • any shallow diving work exceeds the depth/time limits given in Diving Procedures section 3.4.1.1;

  • no-decompression diving is undertaken to depths of greater than 30 m for bottom times in excess of the 80% of the no-decompression limits of the table in use;

  • the nature of any work being conducted results in a significant risk of extended bottom time, entrapment or uncontrolled ascent; and

  • where the nature of plant or equipment being used during the dive or on the dive site can be reasonably foreseen to result in a substantial increase in risk.

3.3.1.3 Dive profiles

Some types of dive profiles are associated with higher risks of decompression sickness than others. A dive profile which attains maximum depth early in the dive and gradually ascends to shallower depths is recommended. Dives that incorporate "rectangular", "reverse" or “saw tooth" profiles are known to expose divers to a higher risks of decompression sickness and should be avoided.

3.3.1.4 Ascent rates

The maximum ascent rate should be NO faster than 18 metres per minute with an optimal rate of 10 metres per minute or slower. Since the ascent is part of the decompression process, a faster-than-normal ascent (or emergency ascent) shall be reported to the Dive Supervisor as soon as possible.

Time of delay in ascent should be added to bottom time when using ascent rates slower than the minimum ascent rate proscribed by the decompression table in use.

3.3.1.5 Multiple ascents

Multiple ascents should be avoided wherever practicable.  Where multiple ascents are required, particular care should be made to ensure that divers do not exceed the decompression table’s ascent rate, and where practicable maintain an ascent rate of 10m per minute or less.

3.3.1.6 Multiday repetitive diving

Divers performing successive multi-day repetitive dives must use a decompression schedule at least as conservative as the DCIEM dive tables for calculating their no decompression limits on each dive.

Particular consideration should be given to fatigue management during multi-day repetitive diving programs.  Dive supervisors should ensure all divers have adequate opportunity for rest and off-gassing. 

3.3.1.7 Long dive times

Excessive dive duration is a potent predisposing factor to decompression illness, particularly when coupled with multiple ascents and multi-day diving works. For this reason, all dive plans should keep the amount of time divers spend in the water on any given day to a minimum. Dive supervisors should plan all diving works with this aim in mind.

3.3.1.8 Free-diving in conjunction with compressed gas diving

Free diving prior to compressed gas diving can add to a diver's gas load.  Dive supervisors should consider the time spent underwater as bottom time. 

After any compressed gas dive, free diving should be avoided until the diver's repetitive factor has reduced to 1.0.

3.3.1.9 Other risk factors for DCS

Dehydration

Dehydration is considered to be a major contributing factor to DCS.  Divers should ensure they remain adequately hydrated throughout diving works.  Dive supervisors should ensure that sufficient drinking water is available on the dive site.

Exercise during and after diving

Exercise during and after diving may contribute to an increased risk of DCS.  Exercise rates that produce a sustained heart rate in excess of 160 bpm should be avoided during and after the dive.  If exercise rates of this nature are unavoidable during the dive, the dive should be treated as hard work as per s3.4.1.1.

Alcohol and intoxicating drugs

Alcohol shall not be consumed within 12 hours prior to diving.

Other drugs and medication

Divers should ensure that any drugs or medication being taken do not interfere with safe decompression, judgement or levels of consciousness.  Advice should be sought from a diving doctor for any long term prescription medication being taken.  Advice from a pharmacist should be sought as to the effects of any other medication being taken.

Recent illness

Divers should ensure that they are sufficiently recovered from any recent illness prior to undertaking diving work.  Where doubt exists, advice should be sought from a physician with training in hyperbaric medicine.

Lack of recent diving

Dive supervisors should ensure that dives undertaken to more than 80% of the no-decompression limits of the table in use should be preceded by a series of work up dives at shallower depths and shorter durations.  Work up dives within the preceding few days have been shown to reduce decompression stress.

3.3.1.10 Cardiovascular fitness of diver and ability to swim

Supervisors should ensure that divers for any proposed operation are competent swimmers and are sufficiently cardiovascularly fit to undertake the diving work.  It should be noted that environmental factors such as sea state, current and water visibility, and task related factors such as high drag loads and emergencies can increase stress and discomfort in the water.  A substantial number of diving fatalities occur due to cardiovascular disease and a lack of exercise tolerance.

A simple swimming assessment shall be conducted for all divers as follows:

  • Swim 200 metres nonstop without the use of swim aids, in less than 5 minutes, and

  • Fin 800 metres in less than 18 minutes.

If the supervisor is not satisfied by a simple swimming assessment, cardiovascular fitness to dive can be further demonstrated by the candidate diver scoring 14 or more points when completing the following 5 exercises.

 

Exercise 1: The candidate must swim underwater 200 metres/yards without stopping whilst using scuba equipment including suitable fins.

If a candidate stops, the exercise is incomplete and must be repeated.

200 metres

 

Time

Points

Under 2’15"

5

2’15 to 2’45”

4

2’45” to 3’20”

3

3’20” to 4’10”

2

Over 4’10”

1

stopped

incomplete

 

Exercise 2: The candidate must swim 400 metres/yards without stopping using no swimming aids and using any stroke or combination of strokes desired.

If a candidate stops, the exercise is incomplete and must be repeated.

400 metres

 

Time

Points

under 6 min, 30 sec

5

6 min, 30 sec to 8 min, 40 sec

4

8 min, 40 sec to 11 min

3

11 to 13 min

2

more than 13 min

1

stopped

incomplete

 

Exercise 3: 15 Minute Tread

Using no aids and wearing only a swimsuit, the candidate will stay afloat by treading water, drown proofing, bobbing or floating for 15 minutes, with hands (not arms) out of the water during the last 2 minutes. A candidate with a physical challenge that makes it difficult/impossible to hold hands out of the water is exempt from that portion of the exercise with no effect on the score.

Criteria

Points

Performed satisfactorily

5

Stayed afloat, but hands not out of water entire 2 minutes

3

Used side/bottom for momentary support no more than twice

1

Used side/bottom for support more than twice

incomplete

 

Exercise 4: 800 Metre Snorkel Swim

Using a mask, fins, snorkel and swimsuit only (no buoyancy control device (BCD) or flotation aids) and swimming with the face in the water, the candidate must swim nonstop for 800 metres. The candidate may not use arms to swim, unless the candidate has a physical challenge that limits leg use and arm-swimming is the individual’s normal swimming method while diving. If a candidate stops, the exercise is incomplete and must be repeated.

800 metres

 

Time

Points

under 14 min

5

14 to 16 min, 30 sec

4

16 min, 30 sec to 18 min, 30 sec

3

18 min, 30 sec to 21 min

2

more than 21 min

1

stopped

incomplete

 

Exercise 5: 100 Metres Inert Diver Tow

Wearing full scuba equipment, the candidate must push or tow an inert diver in full scuba at the surface 100 metres nonstop without assistance. Note that this is a swimming power evaluation (speed-against-drag) not a rescue evaluation. If a candidate stops, the exercise is incomplete and must be repeated.

100 metres

 

Time

Points

under 2 min, 10 sec

5

2 min, 10 sec to 3 min, 15 sec

4

3 min, 15 sec to 4 min, 20 sec

3

4 min, 20 sec to 5 min, 30 sec

2

more than 5 min, 30 sec

1

 stopped

 incomplete

 

3.3.1.10 Fatigue

Supervisors and dive supervisors should ensure that diving and any other associated planned work activity provides sufficient rest periods so that workers engaged in these activities do not become affected by fatigue.

3.3.1.11 Noise

Exposure to noise should be managed as per PPL 2.60.04 Hearing conservation.

3.3.1.12 Thermal stress

Supervisors and dive supervisors should ensure that divers have adequate thermal protection for the water temperatures likely to be encountered.  Thermal protection may include the provision of wetsuits, drysuits, hot water suits or other suitable thermal protection.

Supervisors and dive supervisors should also consider adequate thermal protection for surface teams and divers while they are on the surface.  This may include wet weather gear, suitable clothing or shade.

3.3.1.13 Oxygen toxicity

Dive supervisors should ensure that divers are not exposed to a partial pressure of oxygen exceeding 1.4 ata whilst in the water.

Dive supervisors should ensure that the maximum partial pressure divers undertaking heavy work are exposed to does not exceed 1.2 ata whilst in the water.

NOAA oxygen exposure limits for central nervous system oxygen toxicity (Table 9.1) should not be exceeded.  Decompression diving and dives undertaken with CCR may require additional controls to manage oxygen toxicity.

PO2 (atm)

Maximum Single Dive Limit (min)

Maximum Daily Limit (min)

1.4

150

180

1.3

180

210

1.2

210

240

1.1

240

270

1.0

300

300

0.9

360

360

0.8

450

450

0.7

570

570

0.6

720

720

Table 9.1 NOAA Oxygen Exposure limits

 

3.3.1.14 Gas duration

Dive supervisors shall ensure a system is implemented to ensure divers have adequate gas supplies.  This may be monitoring of pressure gauges and returning to surface with an adequate margin of safety, or reserve gas supplies from an independent source such as a bailout or stage cylinder.

Dive supervisors should estimate required gas volumes to be carried by the diver to ensure the diver can return to surface with an adequate margin of safety. Calculations can be made using the diver's likely depth, breathing rate and anticipated time of return.

3.3.2 Environmental factors

3.3.2.1 Weather including sea state and strength and direction of wind

Dive supervisors shall make an assessment of likely weather conditions prior to commencement of diving works.  Diving should not proceed where sea state and direction and strength of the wind is likely to adversely affect diver safety and the emergency response capability. Dive supervisors should also consider that weather conditions can increase the additional time emergency response resources might take to reach the dive site.

At times when strong winds are likely to be present at a site, diving should only be conducted where the site is situated in a sheltered location (e.g. on the lee side of an island or headland). At the time of departure for the site the dive supervisor must reassess conditions at the site, as well as the sea conditions that will need to be negotiated to reach the site and return from the site.

Dive supervisors should consider the effects on safety of reduced surface visibility such as heavy rain or fog.  The risks to be considered are the

  • safety of surface personnel;

  • rescue of a diver who surfaces in an emergency;

  •  safety of the surface vessel; and

  • effect on the emergency response and access to medical assistance.

Diving without the use of lifelines and attendants should not be undertaken in conditions of restricted visibility, e.g. heavy rain, fog.

Divers not utilising lifelines should tow a surface marker buoy in any sea state exceeding half the observation height of the observing surface attendant.

3.3.2.2 Current and tide

Diving in currents stronger than a diver can easily swim against is strongly discouraged. If permitted by the supervisor, all divers involved must be experienced in this type of diving and be tethered from the boat or use a surface float so that their location is always known. An experienced boat handler with knowledge of local conditions must be in charge of the vessel.

3.3.2.3 Biological and chemical contaminants

Diving in contaminated water requires specific procedures and equipment to reduce the risk of exposure of the diver to the contaminant.  Sites in proximity of sewerage and stormwater outfalls and pipelines, marinas, and enclosed bodies of water should be considered to be potentially contaminated and addition precautions such as water testing, SSBA helmets, dry suits or contaminated water suits be considered as appropriate to the concentration of the contaminant.

3.3.2.4 Remoteness of dive site

Supervisors should ensure that emergency preparedness for diving works at remote sites are adequately resourced.  This may require additional first aid training and personnel, medical personnel or support, first aid and medical equipment, communication equipment, transport, and or recompression facilities.

3.3.2.5 Time of day

Dives commencing within 30 minutes of sunrise or 60 minutes of sunset should be considered as night dives.

Supervisors and dive supervisors considering diving works at night should consider the following risk mitigation:

  • the exit point should be appropriately lit for the ability of the divers to locate it and make a safe exit;

  • each diver must have at least 1 torch (preferably 2) and a cyalume stick or light which is visible in a 360° arc;

  • the vessel (if used) should display the appropriate signal for restricted in ability to manouoevre.

Night dives to depths of greater than 18 m must have compelling justification. For these dives, special control measures may need to be implemented.

Working live or drift diving must not be carried out at night.

Night diving should only be conducted in low risk conditions.

3.3.2.6 Depth at worksite

A safe work method statement or similar safe work process should be developed for any dive where the water depth at the site greatly exceeds the working depth.  The safe work method statement should include the procedures for ensuring that divers' depths are monitored and safe working depths and durations are not exceeded.

3.3.2.7 Entrapment hazards

Substitution of SSBA for scuba should be considered for any dive where there is residual risk of entrapment of a diver.

3.3.2.8 Underwater visibility

Low visibility diving is deemed to exist when the visibility in a horizontal direction is less than one (1) metre. In low visibility conditions, all diving must be carried out in tethered mode. Consideration will be given to the experience of the dive team in these types of dives and to the additional control measures that are used.   A reserve system other than a gauge indicating low pressure should be adopted wherever practicable or when visibility does not permit easily reading gauges.

Diving in zero visibility conditions other than in training in controlled conditions should only be undertaken on SSBA.

3.3.3 Task related hazards

Supervisors should ensure that risk assessments pertaining to diving work adequately address the hazards pertaining to the task being undertaken in addition to the hyperbaric, physiological, and environmental hazards.

3.3.4 Other hazards

3.3.4.1 Dangerous marine animals

Dive supervisors should consider the risk from all dangerous marine animals reasonably foreseeably encountered in their area of work.  For example sharks, crocodiles, jellyfish, and leopard seals.

Divers working with dangerous marine animals must indicate this on their ‘Dive Plan’ form. They must also document the most appropriate first aid procedures for injuries associated with such animals and provide said documentation to the relevant diving officer and any persons in their dive team. This is especially important for marine injuries requiring specialised treatment.

Divers collecting or working with venomous marine animals should refer to PPL 2.40.08 for guidance.

Divers whose tasks may attract dangerous marine animals, or who are diving at sites frequented by them, should inform the relevant dive officer of this situation, and must have in place procedures and equipment to minimise risks to divers and to deal with any emergency that may occur.  Risk is increased at dawn and dusk, in turbid low visibility waters and during prolonged periods in mid-water or at the surface.

At sites where significant populations of high risk sharks exist, a detailed risk assessment shall be conducted, and hazard controls such as cages or electronic shark deterrent devices shall be implemented.  Where shark deterrent devices are utilised, they shall be utilised in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

3.3.4.2 Shipping movements

Diving in shipping channels and ports should not be undertaken without direct consultation with the relevant harbour master, to ensure shipping movements do not endanger divers working on or in proximity to ships.

3.3.4.3 Water inlets and discharges

Divers are vulnerable to suction or turbulence caused by water intakes and discharges as well as discharge products.  If there are any intakes or discharges, suitable measures will need to be taken to ensure that these cannot operate while divers are in the water unless the divers are protected with a suitable physical guard.  Such measures will need to be part of a work control system such as a permit to work system, and could include mechanical isolation.  The Boating and Diving Advisor should be consulted for further information.

3.3.4.4 Electrical current

Impressed current systems may be installed on subsea installations for prevention of corrosion by means of electrically supplied anodes.  Dive supervisors carrying out diving works in the vicinity of an impressed current system should ensure that the risk from the system is assessed, and if necessary, the system shut down.  The Boating and Diving Advisor should be consulted for further information.

3.3.4.5 Diver propulsion vehicles

Supervisors shall ensure that the location of divers using diver propulsion vehicles can be adequately tracked by the surface attendants in the surface conditions likely to be experienced.

Dive supervisors shall ensure that the surface attendants can remain in the vicinity of divers using diver propulsion vehicles.  This may require diving from a vessel which is underway.

3.3.4.6 Diving from vessels that are underway

Supervisors shall ensure that, when diving works are being undertaken from a vessel which is underway, risks from the vessel and its propellers are adequately controlled. 

For free swimming operations this may require additional surface personnel with a clear method of communication to the vessel master to monitor the position of the divers relative to the vessel.  Guarding of propellers may be necessary if line of sight from the vessel control position to the divers or an adequate means of communication to the vessel control position from a person with line of sight to the divers cannot be maintained.

Divers should utilise float lines when working from vessels that are underway.

For tethered diving works this would typically require the guarding of propellers, or substitution of the propeller for a propulsion system that is unable to injure a diver.

3.3.4.7 Pneumatic tool use and buoyant lifting devices

Gas for pneumatic tools or lift bag inflation should not be drawn from a diver’s breathing supply.

Buoyant lifting devices used shall be fit for purpose.  Diver surface marker lift bags intended to support a diver during staged decompression should not be utilised as a buoyant lifting device for anything other than a diver and the diver’s breathing apparatus.

3.3.4.8 Closed circuit rebreathers (CCR)

Risk management for diving would preclude the use of CCR as the breathing apparatus itself has been demonstrated to have a ten-fold increase in relative risk compared to twin manifolded cylinders for extended duration dives.

Supervisors of diving works utilising closed circuit rebreathers must adequately demonstrate that the work is not reasonably practicable to undertake using open circuit scuba or SSBA.  An example of work that is not reasonably practicable using open circuit or SSBA would be close behavioural observations of animals which respond to the noise of the breathing apparatus.

4.0 Roles, Responsibilities and Accountabilities

Refer to the UQ PPL 2.30.08b Diving Safety - Procedures section 4.0.

5.0 Monitoring, Review and Assurance

Refer to the UQ PPL 2.30.08b Diving Safety - Procedures section 5.0.

6.0 Record keeping

Dive supervisors should ensure that divers' records of competency and currency, dive plans, risk assessments and emergency plans have been received by the Boating and Diving Officer at least five (5) working days prior to commencement of work.

Dive records should be submitted to the Boating and Diving Officer as soon as practicable after completion of the dive trip.  A period of five (5) working days would be considered reasonably practicable.

7.0 Appendix

7.1 Definitions, Terms, Acronyms

CCR - closed circuit rebreather.

DCS - decompression sickness.

Dive Supervisor - the person competent for general diving work that is appointed in writing to ensure safety and compliance with the Work Health and Safety Act (Qld) 2011.

Dive tender - a vessel used to support diving works.

Diving Procedures - The University of Queensland Diving Safety - Procedures as defined by the UQ Policy and Procedures Library.

Diving work - work conducted in or under water or other liquid whilst breathing compressed gas.

General diving work - work conducted in or under water or other liquid whilst breathing compressed gas that is not high risk diving work.

High risk diving work - diving work that involves one or more of the following:

  • any work carried out in connection with the construction, alteration, conversion, fitting-out, commissioning, renovation, repair, maintenance, refurbishment, demolition, decommissioning or dismantling of a structure;

  • testing, maintenance or repair work of a minor nature carried out in connection with a structure;

  • inspection of a structure; or

  • the recovery or salvage of a large structure or large item of plant;

  • but excludes minor work that involves cleaning, inspecting, maintaining or searching for a vessel or mooring.

Incidental Diving work - diving work that is not high risk diving work that:

  • is incidental to the conduct of the business or undertaking in which the diving work is carried out; and

  • involves limited diving; and

  • is carried out while being accompanied and supervised by a person who is competent for diving work.

Limited Diving - diving that does not involve any of the following:

  1. diving to a depth below 30m;

  2. the need for a decompression stop;

  3. the use of mechanical lifting equipment or a buoyancy lifting device;

  4. diving beneath anything that would require the diver to move sideways before being able to ascend;

  5. the use of plant that is powered from the surface;

  6. diving for more than 28 days during a period of 6 months.

PCBU - person conducting a business or undertaking.

Scientific Diving – diving performed for the purpose of professional scientific research, natural resource management or scientific research as an educational activity.

Scuba - open-circuit self-contained breathing apparatus.

SSBA - surface supplied breathing apparatus.

Structure - anything that is constructed, whether fixed or moveable, temporary or permanent and includes:

  1. buildings, masts, towers, framework, pipelines, transport infrastructure and underground works (shafts or tunnels); and

  2. any component of a structure; and

  3. part of a structure.

Custodians
Director, Occupational Health and Safety Mr Jim Carmichael

Forms

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Dive Plan

Dive Plan

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This form to be used in conjunction with PPL 2.30.08b Diving Safety - Procedure.

Attached File: 
Custodians
Director, Occupational Health and Safety Mr Jim Carmichael
Dive Record - Air

Dive Record - Air

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Description: 

This form to be used in conjunction with PPL 2.30.08b Diving Safety - Procedure.

Attached File: 
Custodians
Director, Occupational Health and Safety Mr Jim Carmichael
Dive Record - EANX

Dive Record - EANX

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Body
Description: 

This form to be used in conjunction with PPL 2.30.08b Diving Safety - Procedure.

Attached File: 
Custodians
Director, Occupational Health and Safety Mr Jim Carmichael
Diver Registration Form

Diver Registration Form

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Body
Description: 

This form to be used in conjunction with PPL 2.30.08b Diving Safety - Procedure.

Attached File: 
Custodians
Director, Occupational Health and Safety Mr Jim Carmichael
Custodians
Director, Occupational Health and Safety Mr Jim Carmichael
Custodians
Director, Occupational Health and Safety Mr Jim Carmichael