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Occupational Health and Safety Act, 1993 (Act No. 85 of 1993)

Code of Practice

Diving Regulations, 2009

Code of Practice for Inshore Diving

3. Organisation

3.2 The Diving Contractor


On any diving project there must be one contractor in overall control for the diving operations (Regulation 4), This will normally be the company who employs the divers. If there is more than one company employing divers on a single diving project, then there must be a written agreement as to which of these companies is in overall control.


This company is the Diving Contractor in terms of the Regulations. The name of the diving contractor shall be clearly displayed at the worksite if persons not directly involved in the diving operation may be present, and all personnel, clients and others involved in the diving operation shall be aware who the diving contractor is.


The Diving Contractor is required to define the project management structure in writing, This shall include arrangements for handover of supervisory responsibilities at appropriate stages in the operation.


3.2.1 Responsibilities


The Diving Contractor's responsibilities include provisions to ensure that:

risk assessments have been carried out and signed by the required personnel.
a diving operations manual is compiled in consultation with employees.
the place from which operations are to be carried out is suitable and safe.
there are sufficient personnel of the required competences in the diving team (see minimum manning levels in the Diving Regulations)
the personnel are qualified and competent.
suitable plant and equipment is supplied
the plant and equipment is correctly certified and properly maintained.
a suitable diving project plan is prepared which includes relevant emergency and contingency plans adequate for the scope of reasonably foreseeable incidents. This should be signed and dated by the person/s preparing it.
suitable site-specific safety and familiarization training is provided to all members of the dive team.
project records are kept of all relevant details of the project, including all dives.
adequate arrangements exist for first aid and medical treatment of personnel, including consultation with the contracted Level 2 Designated Medical Practitioner.
there is a clear, documented, reporting and responsibility structure supervisors are appointed in writing and extent of their control documented.
all relevant regulations are complied with.
any person or company not directly involved in the diving project is informed of the diving project and their roles therein, whenever their work or practices may impact on the health and safety aspects of the diving project
the provincial office of the Department of Labour is notified whenever any diving project is taking place.
all the relevant aspects covered in the Regulations and this Code are complied with.


The level of detail or involvement required of the diving contractor, and information on how to meet the responsibilities is provided in greater detail in the relevant sections of this Code.


3.2.2 Employer - employee relationships


Any person who works fora or renders services to, the diving contractor, is presumed, until the contrary is proved, to be the employee of the diving contractor, regardless of the form of the contract (including when "freelance" services are provided), if any one or more of the following factors is present:

The manner in which the person works is subject to the control or direction of the diving contractor
The person's hours of work are subject to the control or direction of the diving contractor
In the case of the person working for a diving company, the person is part of the company
If the person has worked for the diving contractor for an average of at least 40 hours per month over the last three months
The person is economically dependent on the diving contractor for whom that person works or renders services
The person is provided with tools of trade or work equipment by the diving contractor. (Excluding specialised tools and equipment specific to the task, which would not normally be owned by a sub-contractor.)
The person only works for or renders services to one diving contractor


Whenever this employer-employee relationship exists between the diving contractor and divers, diving supervisors or other persons, the diving contractor must fulfil the duties of the employer as specified in the Act and the Regulations; and the divers, diving supervisors or other persons must fulfil the duties of employees as specified in the Act and the Regulations.


3.2.3 Diving Contractor and contracted Level 2 Diving Medical Practitioner relationship


The contracted designated medical practitioner shall be closely involved in the diving operation and provide appropriate medical support as needed.


The Diving Contractor contracts the medical assistance and advisory services of a level 2 DMP. The Diving Contractor however stays in overall control of the diving operation and the DMP may not take over the diving operation (e.g. during an emergency) or prescribe to the Diving Contractor which course of action to follow. The DMP is thus contracted in an advisory capacity only, unless other levels of responsibility and involvement in the diving operation are specified in the operations manual.


The Diving Contractor must carefully consider the advice provided by the Level 2 DMP and in particular consider how it impacts the health and safety of the diving operation as a whole before the advice is accepted or rejected. Conflicts of opinion should not take unnecessary time to resolve and therefore as much relevant procedural instruction as reasonably possible should be contained in the operations manual in an easily accessible format.


Whenever the Diving Contractor rejects the advice of the Level 2 DMP, the DMP may request that such refusal be provided in writing and this shall not be unreasonably refused by the Diving Contractor. The Level 2 DMP may not refuse to provide further medical advice and assistance for that specific diving operation. Further advice may be sought from other level 2 DMPs or other consultants with appropriate knowledge and/ or experience.


These provisions shall apply to all diving operations under the control of the diving contractor. However, whenever a diver is evacuated from the workplace for medical reasons and reaches a medical facility, the Diving Contractor shall not have control over the case any longer.


3.2.4 Co-operation between the Client or Diving Contractor's contracted Level 2 DMP and other DMPs


A close collaborative relationship is needed between the contracted Level 2 Designated Medical Practitioner performing the responsibilities listed in the Regulations and this Code and other Designated Medical Practitioners. A diver may have had his annual medical examination with one specific Designated Medical Practitioner and then goes diving with a number of different Diving Contractors in the course of the year, which means that a number of different level 2 Designated Medical Practitioners (each contracted with a different diving contractor) will also be involved. There is no need to perform a full medical examination on each occasion, as the medical examination performed by the initial Designated Medical Practitioner may still be valid. However, there may be a need to perform specific examinations (in collaboration with occupational health personnel) as a result of specific hazards being present in the workplace (e.g. diving in a contaminated environment), which is specific to a diving operation.


The Designated Medical Practitioner performing the initial diving medical examination must provide copies of the annual medical examination to the level 2 Designated Medical Practitioner responsible for the diver during a specific diving project. The written consent of the diver is still required in each case. If copies of the diving medical examination are provided to the diver, an additional original signature of the Designated Medical Practitioner and the original stamp of the Designated Medical Practitioner are required on each page as evidence of authenticity.