The legislation applicable to all diving work in the UK and its territorial waters are the Diving Operations at Work Regulations 1981 No SI 399 The legislation applies to all work inside docks, harbours, canals, inland waters, territorial waters, civil engineering sites, etc and is enforced by the Health and Safety Executive with the Department of Energy Diving Inspectorate only advising as necessary (Depths exceeding 50 m, DP vessels, etc)


In addition to specific duties placed on individuals by the various regulations, every person who to any extent is responsible for, has control over, or is engaged in the diving operation has a duty to ensure the regulations are complied with In addition to the diving contractor, owners, and proposed owners of undersea cables and sewer pipelines, managers of civil engineering sites and inland waterways, harbour masters and all persons responsible for anything that effects the diving operations such as controlling water flow by means of sluices must also ensure compliance These responsibilities continue through the contractual train from the ultimate client or owner to the diver and his attendant


All divers working in the civil engineering industry are required to have valid certificates of training and medical fitness These would normally be either HSE Part I or III, but due to the wide variety of work available they should also have the necessary competence to carry out safely the work which they are called upon to perform Additional training and qualifications are also encouraged, and often required, for example Certificate for Weldment Inspection Personnel (CSWIP) 3 1U/3 2U certificates for underwater inspection.


Civil engineering by its very nature offers an extremely wide variety of working conditions together with their own particular difficulties and hazards Poor access, poor visibility, strong river and tidal currents, debris, and heavy constructional plant and materials all present problems that require considerable experience and planning to ensure an efficient and safe operation Particular care has to be taken in works associated with areas where differences in hydrostatic pressure could occur for example suction discharge/discharge culverts, penstocks and sluice valves


The number of persons in a diving team will vary with the type of underwater operation, the depth of water, the actual site and complexity of the operation The minimum recommended team size would be a four-man team comprising diving supervisor, diver, standby diver, and tender The use of a three-man team should only be used for short shallow diving operations in favourable water temperature, current and weather conditions, carried out primarily for search survey and inspection purposes The diving supervisor should ensure that there is always a sufficient number of properly qualified divers and competent persons present to carry out the operation safely.

This content is only available via PDF.
You can access this article if you purchase or spend a download.