Work Health and Safety Qld -- Amendments following Dive Safety Reference Group recommendations

Amendments have been made to the Safety in Recreational Water Activities Regulation 2011 (PDF, 360 kB) (SRWA Regulation 2011) and theRecreational Diving, Recreational Technical Diving and Snorkelling Code of Practice (Diving and Snorkelling Code of Practice) as a result of recommendations made by the Dive Safety Reference Group.

The Dive Safety Reference Group was established in 2011 to conduct a review of the recreational diving and snorkelling industry to ensure Queensland continues to have Australia's most comprehensive dive industry safety regime.

The review involved significant public and industry consultation processes including invitations for written submissions on the information paper and final report; and five public forums held across the state in Cairns, Townsville, Airlie Beach, the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast.

Three recommendations of the Dive Safety Reference Group have been accepted and resulted in the following amendments to SRWA Regulation 2011 and the Diving and Snorkelling Code of Practice:

1.

Improved head count procedures - The dive reference group identified that an enhanced system of cross checks using a combination of active and passive systems would further minimise the risk of a person being left behind.

The SRWA Regulation has been amended to require at least two crew members to conduct independent counts of all people on board whenever a count is required to be conducted and to compare those counts. Where there is only one person representing the operator on the vessel then the count must be conducted twice using both a passive and an active count.

2.

Restricting the requirement for dive medicals for entry-level dive participants to people in the following at-risk categories:

  • those with an at risk medical condition
  • over 45 years of age
  • has a body mass index over 30 and a waist circumference greater than 102 centimetres for males and 88 centimetres for females.

The amendments to the SRWA Regulation 2011 require dive operators to:

  • obtain a medical declaration from all entry-level dive candidates prior to allowing them to dive
  • view a fitness to dive medical certificate if a person identifies on the medical declaration that they are in one of the 'at risk' categories.
3. The Diving Code of Practice has been amended to provide information and guidance to operators and users on emergency signalling equipment. This will assist dive operators to determine the most appropriate emergency signalling equipment for unguided certified dives. Information is also included on how to ensure a certificated diver understands how and when to use the emergency signalling equipment and also information on maintaining and testing emergency signalling equipment.

The amendments take effect from 28 June 2013 have been made to ensure Queensland maintains its high standards of safety in the recreational water activities.