Commercial diving is a dangerous job, and, as Kyra Richter of the Divers Association International recently argued, adding SCUBA equipment could make it even worse. A document prepared by Richter and posted on the Divers Association website shows the high amount of fatalities related to SCUBA use in commercial diving activity.

Richter provided multiple graphs, including one showing the fatalities among inland divers and another concentrating on offshore ones. Fatalities in the former group were broken down into SCUBA, surface supplied air and "unspecified" sources. The offshore fatalities featured these same distinctions as well as an added "saturation" category.

In both cases, SCUBA is associated with the highest number of fatalities. It accounted for 35 of the 112 offshore deaths and 122 of the 249 inland deaths. Furthermore, Richter argued that the presence of SCUBA puts divers at risk, which is continued due to a lack of regulatory oversight. These figures are notable due to the usual perception of offshore diving as more dangerous

"When it comes to safety and protecting the lives of divers with improved regulations, we need to break free of the mindset that we're only looking at offshore safety revisions," Richter said. "Permitting SCUBA in regulations is an unspoken way of giving approval to untrained commercial divers to perform activities which cross the line into the realm of commercial diving."

Other Air Supply Options

Review the best safety practices for the more appropriate air supply methods.

Commercial divers may want to review best safety practices for more accepted air supply methods instead. While this does include verifying the equipment is in best possible condition, there are other concerns that affect how well commercial divers will be cared for on the job.

For example, an older OSHA document comments on the advanced risk that improperly managed surface-supply diving teams provide. This is particularly important for depths higher than 100 feet, because decompression isn't used, placing emphasis on the actions of the support crew. Professional divers can be subject to the same serious health risks no matter what industry or work they have to do, which include both drowning and non-fatal dangers like circulation difficulties.

OSHA also features descriptions of the requirements for both surface-supplied and mixed air dives. Some of these standards refer to backup or reserve equipment, such as extra breathing gas supplies or hoses for submerged divers. This method is only allowed for short dives at depths of 220 feet of seawater. Dives that last longer than 30 minutes need to be conducted at ocean depths of 190 feet and higher, as the organization states.

Finding the Best Policies

Securing insurance for commercial diving may leave companies in a better position as they continue performing dangerous work. The best provider may have experience in writing policies for multiple types of undersea work, from welding to salvage work.

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