As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt our lives, many commercial divers are finding it…
The Australian model Work Health and Safety Regulations for diving work are currently under review and Safe Work Australia is now taking submissions of public comment.
Since the decision to conduct the review in 2015, Safe Work has distributed a questionnaire to industry representatives and received 30 responses from a variety of stakeholders including government, commercial, research and education and recreational businesses, organisations and associations. In April 2016, an industry workshop was held to gather more detailed information on the issues raised in the questionnaire responses. The Australian Chamber, the Australian Industry Group and the Australian Council of Trade Unions were represented at the workshop.
The proposed options to address problems identified with the model WHS Regulations for diving work are to:
- Amend the regulations to simplify and clarify diving categories, introduce a minimum competency standard for general diving work and clarify arrangements for supervision, medical certificates and the application of Australian and International Standards to diving work
- Replace the current regulations for general diving with high-level risk management provisions that would allow a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBUs) to determine the controls that best suit the diving work being carried out. High risk diving work, redefined as ‘specified diving’, would need to be carried out in accordance with AS/NZS 2299.1:2015.
Last week, Safe Work Australia published a Consultation Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) for public comment. The Consultation RIS, titled: Consultation Regulation Impact Statement for Review of the model Work Health and Safety Regulations for diving work, was prepared to gather written submissions on options for reviewing the model Work Health and Safety (WHS) Regulations for diving work (Part 4.8). It received input from divers, training providers, industry associations, unions and WHS regulators. The Consultation RIS summarises the problems duty holders have reported experiencing with the diving regulations and presents three options to address these problems. It also assesses and compares the impact of the options using available data.
It is essential that the stance of the commercial diving industry is properly heard during the public comment period in order to ensure your continued safety, and the safety of all dive teams, is maintained to the level that we’ve all wroked hard to achieve.
ADAS urges you to take the time to make a submission to Safe Work Australia and have your voice heard. ADAS is currently working on its own submission which will be made available to all ADAS members in the very near future. It is our view that there are several aspects in the current proposals that may be of concern to existing occupational divers and employers alike. The view of ADAS is that we are fortunate in Australia to have such wonderful guidance documents as the AS/NZS 2299 series for Standard operational practices and the AS/NZS 2815 for the training and certification of occupational divers. We should be encouraging greater use of these Standards rather than reducing the likelihood of their use. They were developed for all occupational divers from recreational charter companies to offshore closed bell work.
Make your submission through the Safe Work Australia public submissions website before 5.30 pm EST, Friday 30 September 2016.