Netherlands Offshore Diving Regulations

The Dutch made important changes to their offshore diving regulations which came into force in January this year by amalgamating the two previously separate regimes for offshore and all other types of diving. All diving activities now come under the Dutch working conditions legislation 'Arbeidsomstandighedenwetgeving' or shortened to 'Arbowet'!

A number of new articles, specific to offshore diving have been added to this legislation. These are summarised below:

Article 6.14 a Medical Examination Of Divers:

· All people carrying out any operations underwater (or under pressure) now need an annual medical examination
· The medical examination must be carried out by an authorised doctor-Duikerarts (approved Dutch doctor)
· Those doctors are authorised by the Minister of Social Affairs (Ministerie van Sociale Zaken en Werkgelegenheid) (SZW)

NB Any diver working in the Netherlands must hold a valid in-date medical certificate. For any diver whose medical certificate of fitness to dive has been renewed since I January 2003 - to be able to work in the Dutch sector the diver will need to have a new certificate issued by an approved Dutch doctor.
All divers with in-date medicals from 2002 are able to work in the Dutch sector until their medical expires.

Article 6.14 b Doctors Authorised to Carry Out Medical Examinations of Divers

There are two categories of doctors

· Category A - certified to conduct annual re-examinations
· Category B - certified to conduct annual re-examinations and initial examinations
· Doctors approved by SZW through their appointed agent - the Netherlands Diving Centre.

Attached at Appendix I is a list of approved doctors.

Article 6.1 5 a Certification of Diving systems

· Diving systems, including support equipment, after any construction, modification or repair, or following initial use, needs to be inspected and tested annually
· Inspections and tests to be carried out by Dutch Authorities or a recognised certifying institute appointed by the Dutch authorities
· After inspection and testing, a report is to be prepared . The Minister or certifying institute will issue a Certificate of Acceptance including the report once the institute has confirmed that the system and support spread is in compliance with the criteria laid down by the Dutch regulations
· A copy of the certificate should be retained at the working site . The certifying institute will be appointed by the Minister of Social Affairs
· A panel of experts have set up criteria for standards for these certifying institutes
· There will be minimum requirements for diving equipment
· The Accreditation Council will be involved

Article 6.15 Working Instructions

· The Diving Permit no longer exists
· Working Instructions to be submitted to the State Supervision of Mines (SSM) for review
" This is a one-off exercise, but the State Supervision of Mines (SSM) is to be informed if content has changed from previous submissions
" Confirmation that manuals and documents sent to State Department of Mines in the past for issuing permits are still applicable
NB The minimum content of the Working Instructions is provided in Appendix 2.

Article 6.17 Notification of Diving

" Notification five days before commencement of diving activities to be sent to SSM
" Need to fill in the 'Notification before Commencement of Diving Activities' form (available from SSM)
" Special attention regarding the health and safety risks at the diving location - a site specific task risk assessment to be carried out

Article 6.16 Diving Supervisor

" All supervisors will be required to have a valid supervisor certificate
" These are issued by the Dutch Minister or by his appointed designated institute - the Netherlands Diving Centre
" There is a transitional period of I year, ending on 31 December 2003

NB Information received this week from the NDC on the 'assessment of certificates for commercial diving, diving supervisor and diving medical assistance - general information' is provided at Appendix 3. At Appendix 4 is the specific information relating to supervisors - assessment criteria diving supervisor certificate. IMCA will be entering into dialogue with NDC regarding their request for 'mutual acceptance' of diving supervisor certificates.

Article 6.16 Divers

" All divers need to be in possession of a valid diving certificate
" These are issued by the National Diving Centre (NDC)
" There is a transitional period of I year, ending 31 December 2003

NB Information on the criteria for 'Assessment of Diving Certificates' is attached at Appendix 5.

The legislation mentions 3 types of diver first aid certificates:

" The diver first aid certificate - for 2 man diving teams only
" Medical Aspects of Diving A (MAD-A) for all air diving
" Medical Aspects of Diving B (MAD-B) for mixed gas/bell diving
Appendix 3 provides some information on the these certificates.

Although offshore diving legislation now comes under the Ministry of Social Affairs, enforcement of the legislation remains with the State Supervision of Mines.

Appendix 1. List of approved doctors.

Appendix 2. Notification of diving, including working instructions.

Appendix 3. Assessment of certificates.

Appendix 4. Assessment criteria - diving supervisor certificate.

Appendix 5. Criteria for assessment of diving certificates.