As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt our lives, many commercial divers are finding it…
A vital safety aspect of occupational diving is that all dive team members hold current occupational dive medicals, which is mandated by AS/NZS 2299.1 Standard. While it can be a confusing area to navigate, there are ways to ensure that the medical you undertake meets Standards requirements.
According to the AS/NZS 2299.1 Standard, an occupational diver medical is required to be undertaken every 12 months with a doctor who is suitably qualified in hyperbaric medicine and is authorised to conduct occupational diving medicals.
The South Pacific Underwater Medicine Society (SPUMS) provides a database of doctors who have been approved to conduct occupational diving medicals. You can perform a search on the SPUMS website to find a suitable diving doctor in your area. The International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA) Diver Medicals page also provides guidance on identifying appropriate doctors to conduct occupational diving medicals.
When your medical is completed, it is important that the diving doctor provides you with a Diver Medical Fitness certificate (or similar) which clearly states that you are “fit to dive”. This certificate must also show the diving doctors full name and signature, and is ideal to also show a stamp showing the doctors details. Australian and New Zealand diving medical certificates must also state that the medical has been conducted in accordance with the AS/NZS 2299.1 Standard.
ADAS receives diving medical certificates from all over the world and undertakes validity checks for each medical that is submitted. This includes not only the validity of the certificate itself, but also the qualifications of the doctors who conducted the medical. If the medical certificate or the doctor’s qualifications do not meet Standards criteria, divers will be asked to undertake another medical with a properly qualified doctor.
To assist you in determining if the diving doctor you go to, and the medical provided, are acceptable, follow the below guidelines:
- Conduct a search on the SPUMS website to find an occupational diving doctor
- Check that the diving doctor is appropriately trained (see details below)
- Complete the Medical Questionnaire before your doctor’s appointment
- Ensure that the certificate includes the wording “fit to dive” and, if issued in Australia or New Zealand, also states that it is in compliance with the AS/NZS 2299.1 Standard
Diving Doctor Training
If your doctor is not listed on SPUMS they may still be approved to undertake occupational dive medicals, but it can be difficult to know if they are suitably qualified. The Scott Haldane Foundation Courses page on the SPUMS website shows international courses approved for diving doctors, and the IMCA Diving Medicals page may also be helpful as it includes guidance on recognising approved diving doctors in other regions of the world.
More information about commercial diving medical can be found on the Medical Fitness page of the ADAS website