Commercial diving is an inherently dangerous profession and as a result commercial diving accidents do occur. However, commercial diving accidents are preventable if divers are properly trained and qualified, safety protocol is followed, and equipment is maintained. Some common causes of commercial diving accidents are discussed in detail below.
Poorly Maintained Equipment
Poorly maintained equipment is a leading cause of commercial diving accidents. It is the employer’s responsibility to maintain its equipment in proper working order and to maintain logs and records reflecting when the equipment was tested or when maintenance was performed on the equipment. Certain equipment is essential to diver safety including a diver’s helmet, compressors, seals on dry suits, hose connections, and fittings. If this equipment is allowed to deteriorate, devastating accidents can occur.
Lack of Proper Employee Training
Lack of proper employee training is another reason that commercial diving accidents occur. Different types of commercial diving jobs involve different types and levels of training; however, safety training is necessary for all types of commercial diving. Untrained divers not only put themselves at risk, but also put the team of divers they are working with at risk. You should never dive with an untrained diver, and you should not be afraid to speak up if your employer is asking you to dive with divers who are not qualified. It is your employer’s responsibility to hire divers who are qualified and properly trained or to provide proper training to the divers.
Pressure hazards are probably the some of the most recognizable dangers associated with commercial diving and diving of any sort. Pressure hazards occur when the pressure differential that exists between the water pressure on one side of a structure (ex. a pipeline) and the other side of the structure is too great. Serious injuries can occur because of pressure differentials.
Underwater fire is a hazard associated with commercial diving, especially for those who work offshore in the oil and gas industry near oil and gas platforms and wells. However, any type of underwater burning, including welding, can cause fire. Divers have been severely injured and killed because of explosions due to underwater fire.
General Job Hazards/Risks
There are many general risks and hazards associated with any type of diving and especially all types of commercial diving.
If you are a commercial diver you should be aware of the risks and hazards associated with the job. Safety and training are of the utmost importance in this dangerous field. It is your employer’s responsibility to maintain safety protocol and precautions and to make sure that all employees are qualified and properly trained. Unfortunately, employers do not always do so.