DM 1. Scope and general

1.1 - Introduction

Macquarie University conducts Occupational Scientific Diving as part of its research and teaching activities and therefore recognises its responsibilities under the NSW Work Health and Safety Act 2011. Macquarie University acknowledges the special work health and safety obligations associated with compressed gas diving. The purpose of this operations manual is to promote safe diving practices. This document is to be used in the context of Australian / New Zealand Standard 2299.2-2002 "Occupational diving operations: Part 2 Scientific diving". This manual ensures compliance to these documents but is not a substitute for understanding AS/NZS 2299.2 and the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011.Macquarie University recognises its responsibility as a PCBU (Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking) under the WHS Act and Regulation (2011).

The goal of this document is not to replicate the standard, but to provide an abbreviated extract of the portions especially relevant to Macquarie University divers, to help with the interpretation of the relevant legislation and to outline University specific procedures. It is expected that the University Diving and Boating Safety Committee (DBSC), University Dive Officer (UDO), and Dive Coordinators (DC) are familiar with the portions of the standard not specifically covered by this manual. Where this manual does not state specific procedures, those in AS2299.2 should be followed. If the manual and the standard are unclear or ambiguous the UDO and DBSC should be consulted for clarification.

Macquarie University is strongly committed to providing its staff, students, volunteers and visiting personnel a safe workplace as well an effective system for the management of all foreseeable risks associated with compressed air diving. This document outlines the minimum requirements for diving operations undertaken by all personnel involved in Macquarie University diving operations - notwithstanding any relevant changes or requirements that may be implied by other University procedures, policies and guidelines or relevant Australian standards and legislation.

1.2 - Scope

This document is the Macquarie University Diving Operations Manual. It is intended to provide information and guidance for all University employees, students, volunteers and visiting personnel involved in compressed gas diving operations conducted through the University. Variations to procedures may only be permitted by the UDO before diving, with detailed conditions set down in writing, which must be agreed to in writing by all parties involved and kept on file by the UDO.
At this time, the following activities are NOT permitted at any time and under any circumstance:

  1. Diving to depths greater than 30 meters;
  2. Diving with gas mixtures other than air or EANx (nitrox up to 40% O2 and at PPO2 less than 1.4ATA);
  3. Decompression diving.

1.3 - Obligations and legal responsibilities

The following points are designed to provide guidelines to divers and dive teams while operating in the field.

  1. Under 'Obligations', each person has a responsibility for their own health and safety, as well as for the health and safety of other personnel working within the same environment. Reporting unsafe practices or equipment is the responsibility of every team member as part of their duty of care;
  2. Diving is a hazardous activity; however education, training and team cooperation will reduce the risks. This manual is to be used as an operations manual as well as a risk management document. If all procedures are followed, risks to health and safety will be significantly reduced;
  3. Individuals or groups participating in compressed air diving operations under the auspices of Macquarie University must operate within these procedures, and comply with appropriate regulations, standards and legislation;
  4. It should be noted that individuals or groups who fail to follow safe diving practices as outlined by this manual, or as directed by the UDO or their delegate, may be found legally responsible and liable for their actions or inactions, as well as face internal disciplinary procedures;
  5. Dive Coordinators are responsible for the safety of the entire dive team during the period in which that dive team is under their control, however risk assessment and management is the responsibility of all team members. In the event that weather conditions, environmental factors, equipment or personnel are considered by any member of the team to create or contribute to an unsafe working situation, then the diving operation must not continue until the situation is corrected to the satisfaction of the entire team;
  6. All tasks undertaken must be within the experience and training of the personnel concerned, and the capacity of the equipment available.

1.4 - Definitions

Certain words in this document are used in instances where instructions or recommendations are given, and are to be interpreted as follows:
Must/shall– there are no circumstances under which this instruction can be ignored;
Will – other than in exceptional circumstances this recommendation is always to be followed;
Should – a recommendation that is to be followed in normal diving practice;
Can/may – the diver / diving operation may well benefit from employing this technique.
A glossary of dive-related terms has been included in Appendix 1.

1.5 - Referenced Material

The following publications are referred to in this manual and are available online through the Macquarie University library:

  • AS/NZ 2299.1:2007 Occupational Diving Operations: Standard Operating Practice
  • AS/NZS 2299.2:2002 Occupational Diving Operations: Scientific Diving
  • AS2815.1:2008 Training and Certification of Occupational Divers – Occupational Scuba diver
  • AS2815.2:2013 Training and Certification of Occupational Divers – Surface Supplied Diving to 30m
  • NSW Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011
  • Work Health and Safety Regulation Exemption No. 009/12

Macquarie University has an extensive list of Health & Safety Policies, Procedures and Risk Assessment Guidelines to cover foreseeable workplace situations. A full list of these can be found on the Macquarie University website at http://www.mq.edu.au/policy/. Various forms and registration documents are mentioned in this manual. To download the latest copy, please visit the Marine Science website at http://marinescience.mq.edu.au/diving/. Copies of all current Standards and forms are available from the UDO.

1.6 - Reporting safety concerns and accidents/incidents

1.6.1 Safety concerns

Everyone involved in diving must take their safety and the safety of other divers seriously. Should anyone have concerns about dive practices or operations that they feel are unsafe or could be made safer they should discuss the matter with the individuals involved and if they feel it is a broader or serious issue they should make their feelings known to the UDO and / or to a member of DBSC.

1.6.2 Incident / near-misses / accident reporting

All near-misses, incidents and accidents must be reported via the WHS online reporting system as well as in the Debrief section of corresponding trip on FieldFriendly. Additionally, all near-misses, accidents, incidents and injuries must be reported as soon as possible to the UDO who will assist the people involved in filling out an incident report form with ADAS. This is crucial in order to ensure that trends are identified and safety improved for everyone at Macquarie University as well as in the wider diving industry.
If requested by the UDO, all members of the dive team should write separate reports as soon as is reasonably practicable and send them to the UDO who will collate the information and present it to DBSC. Depending on the severity of the incident, the UDO in conjunction with Macquarie University Risk & Assurance (R&A) may decide to write an investigation report, which should include, as per section 7 of AS/NZS2299.2:

  1. A summary of all aspects of the event occasioning the injury (details of the victim/s including diving history and experience, date, time and location of the incident, full details of the incident including any possible contributing factors, nature of the injury, DC's recommendations and any paperwork related to the diving project in question);
  2. Full narrative statements from all members of the dive team;
  3. Medical reports if available;
  4. Full details on the type and condition of equipment used, included any maintenance records if the incident is linked to an equipment malfunction (in which case the equipment should be immediately sealed, tagged and isolated).

All documents regarding incidents must be kept on file by the UDO for a period of seven years after the date of the incident.

1.7 - Disciplinary Procedures

Should the UDO have concerns as to whether an individual has adhered to the procedures outlined in this Manual, relevant standards, and/or relevant legislation, the UDO should discuss their concerns with the individual in the first instance. Should the person not be able to provide evidence that the concerns are unfounded, the UDO should advise and discuss the concerns with the individual's academic or employment supervisor as well as DBSC.

The UDO and DBSC will then investigate the circumstances and refer the matter to R&A with a recommendation as to the appropriateness of suspension or cessation of diving operations for the individual concerned. DBSC and R&A will discuss the matter with the individual's supervisor and the relevant Head of Department prior to any formal action being taken.

The relevant Head of Department / R&A will then advise the employee in writing if suspension/cessation of diving is necessary, and of any other remedial action that may be required. If any disciplinary procedures are taken against any person or persons they shall have the right of review by the DBSC. The UDO has the authority to suspend any diving operation they view as unsafe until a proper investigation can be conducted.

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