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Health under pressure

The industry has been commissioned by the PSA to develop a common system for the whole North Sea to monitor the medical condition of divers and its development over time.

No deaths have occurred on the NCS during saturation diving since 1987, with only four cases of decompression sickness (the bends) reported after 1990.

Given that few serious diving incidents have been reported over the past two decades, current working conditions for divers in the Norwegian petroleum sector are regarded as acceptable.

This conclusion, reached by a joint company, union and government working party established under the Safety Forum, also builds on fi ndings presented at an international conference on hyperbaric medicine in Bergen during 2005.

Attention has been directed in recent years at the risk of delayed physical damage from diving, and at health monitoring in that connection.  Diving is an international business, and many of the people in it work on a number of continental shelves.  Few divers are permanent employees, which complicates long-term medical observation.

Both the authorities and the industry accept that an international system for monitoring diver health over time is lacking, and needs to be established.

As the ultimate employer, the industry has a special responsibility to establish a unifi ed international solution for carrying out such checks. So the PSA has asked the OLF to contribute to a multinational system for monitoring divers in the Norwegian, British, Danish and Dutch sectors.