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Planning a Safe Commercial Dive

The commercial diving industry offers numerous job opportunities. The oil industry needs divers for offshore exploration projects. Civil engineering projects involving construction on bridges, harbors, and dams all require commercial divers. Media outlets often employ commercial divers to obtain high quality underwater footage. Whatever the position, commercial diving can provide an excellent opportunity for employment, so long as appropriate safety precautions are taken prior to embarking on a dive. The International Association of Diving Contractors has established specific procedures to ensure that every commercial diver operation takes place without incident or injury. Prior to beginning a commercial dive, a Job Safety Analysis (JSA) must be conducted.

As part of the analysis, the individual(s) must evaluate the health and safety aspects of the following:

  • Mode of diving
  • Condition and or presence of hazards at surface and underwater
  • Breathing gas supply, including reserve tanks
  • Available thermal protection
  • Diving equipment and systems
  • Specific tasks assigned to each member of the diving team
  • Relative competency and health of all team members
  • Decompression and treatment procedures
  • Emergency procedures

Once a JSA has been completed, each member of the diving team must be briefed on their assigned tasks, the safety procedures appropriate to their diving method, any unusual conditions they are likely to encounter, and any deviations to be made to standard dive procedures based on situations unique to the upcoming dive. Upon completion of the dive, each diver's physical condition should be examined, and any signs of physical or psychological problems should be reported to the appropriate authorities. Each diver should also be made aware of post-dive activities, such as flying or travelling to high elevations that could negatively impact his or her health.

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As long as appropriate safety precautions are followed, barring any unforeseen conditions, most commercial dives should operate without incident. If, however, safety precautions such as those listed above are ignored or abandoned, serious injuries or even deaths can occur. If you or a loved one has been injured on a commercial dive, you may be entitled to compensation. It is in your best interests to get the involvement of a maritime lawyer at a time such as this to protect your legal rights. Contact a commercial diving accident attorney at Arnold & Itkin!

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