An ROV system can greatly enhance a diving operation if used effectively. In addition to ROV insurance, teams should focus on understanding various procedures and prevention measures when deploying these units around crewmembers. The International Marine Contractors Association features a guideline document about the different ways divers should be accounted for when ROV units are used.
Because a remote unit can be a powerful mechanical instrument with several connected components, it could pose an accidental hazard to divers working near and around it. Some of the problems they could cause range from things that interfere with a diver's senses, like light and noise from the ROV, to serious physical threats from crushing or electrocution if the unit is not verified as being up-to-date before the dive begins. Since ROV's can carry equipment down into depths, the way this limits diver performance can also be considered.
The fifth edition of the Association of Diving Contractors International's Consensus Standards For Commercial Diving And Underwater Operations from 2004 also addresses ROV safety issues. It advises caution and oversight to avoid harming divers, and lists some of the possible dangers that ROVs pose.
"When conducting ROV operations in the vicinity of diving operations certain hazards are introduced such as possible entanglement of umbilicals, physical contact, electrical hazards, and the fact that ROV propellers or thrusters can present a hazard. Close liaison between the ROV and Diving Supervisors is required," the report reads.
Depending on the amount of time that divers spend around remotely operated equipment, and what work they are expected to do, an operation may be exposing dive crew to physical peril. As a countermeasure, it's a good idea for diving overseers and team managers to make sure that everyone involved is both familiar with best practices and protected in case of an accident.