OverviewAustralian Standards and OH&S Legislation require an operational re-compression chamber to be available for all diving operations. Where diving is conducted at depths exceeding 30 meters, or where compulsory decompression is required, the chamber must be located on site. That chamber will be under the supervision of the diving supervisor however will be operated by the Chamber Operator.
Tasks Performed on the Job
The main tasks of a Chamber Operator are:
- Preparing the chamber
- Carrying out compression and decompression
- Monitoring gas quality
- Record keeping
- Responding to emergencies
- Running therapy tables as required and directed.
Responsibilities and Challenges
The Chamber Operator must be available to attend the chamber for the complete time of the decompression and ensure the decompression tables are run according to the dive supervisors direction. Record keeping is an ongoing responsibility and needs to be accurate and complete. Assisting the Dive Supervisor with diagnosis and neurological checks and communicating the findings to medical personnel falls within the role of the Chamber Operator as does managing a range of different chambers and being responsible for life support.
Highlights and Rewards
With responsibility comes reward. Responsibilities such as responding to emergencies and life support are weighty but when done successfully bring a great deal of personal satisfaction. Working as a part of a team on a project and being a part of the success of a job is also highly rewarding.
How to Become a Chamber Operator
Diving chamber operators are not trained in wound management or sterile conditions as required by clinical chamber operators nor are they trained in the tunneling aspects. Their training requires either diver training or a 4 day physics, physiology and tables top up prior to undertaking a 6 day chamber operators course. During that course they will be trained in diving surface decompression procedures, neurological assessment and general chamber operation. Chamber operator training can also be obtained through ADAS Part 3 training.
It is possible for diving Chamber Operators to be utilized in clinical situations in hospital based facilities and in hyperbaric tunneling provided they undergo equipment familiarization.
Thanks to Des Walters of Pressureworx for contributing to this web page.