No person shall engage in scientific diving operations under the auspices of the U of I Scientific Diving Program unless he/she holds a current certificate recognized by the Diving Control Board.
Scientific diving shall not be conducted unless procedures have been established for emergency evacuation of the diver(s) to a hyperbaric chamber or appropriate medical facility.
The purpose of these scientific diving standards is to ensure that all scientific diving under the auspices of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), is conducted in a manner that will maximize protection of scientific divers from accidental injury and/or illness. Fulfillment of these purposes shall be consistent with the furtherance of research and safety.
In adopting the policies set forth in this manual, University of Illinois assumes no liability not otherwise imposed by law.
U of I Scientific Diving Manual
The purpose of the scientific diving manual is to provide for the implementation of policies and procedures that will enable us to meet requirements of local environments and conditions.The U of I Scientific Diving Manual shall include:
1. For each diving mode engaged in: (i.e. snorkel, SCUBA, surface supply, etc.)
- Safety procedures for the diving operation;
- Responsibilities of the dive team members;
- Equipment use and maintenance procedures;
- Emergency procedures.
2. Emergency evacuation and medical treatment procedures: For each diving location a procedure shall be established to locate and transport a diver to an operational hyperbaric chamber when dive conditions could allow for saturation diving. All dive applications will include the name, address, and route to the nearest medical facility. This information is to be carried by the diving party. The Divers Alert Network (aka DAN) at Duke University Medical Center may be of help in determining the location and current status of recompression chambers. Phone (919) 684-8111.
Review of Standards
An annual report and review of diving activities shall be prepared by the Diving Control Board and submitted to the Vice Chancellor for Research.
Scientific Diving Defined
All diving performed by individuals necessary to and part of a scientific, research, or educational activity, in conjunction with a project or study under the jurisdiction of any public or private organization, department or group.
Campus Auspices Defined
For the purpose of these standards the auspices of the University includes any scientific diving operation in which the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign is connected because of ownership of any equipment used, locations selected or relationship with the individual(s) concerned. This includes all cases involving the operations of employees of UIUC and affiliated State Agencies, where such employees are acting within the scope of their employment, and the operations of other persons, including students, who are engaged in scientific diving of U of I or affiliated State Agencies.
The U of I requires that no person shall engage in scientific diving unless that person holds a valid diving certificate issued by a recognized diver certification agency. Examples of such recognized agencies are:
- NAUI: National Association of Underwater Instructors
P. O. Box 14650
Montclair, CA 91763
- PADI: Professional Association of Diving Instructors
P. O. Box 25010
Santa Ana, CA 92799-5010
- YMCA: Underwater Headquarters\
P. O. Box 1547
Key West, FL 33040
Other certification agencies will be considered by the Diving Control Board.
All diving equipment used by certified scientific divers and trainees, regardless of ownership, shall conform to the standards set forth in this manual.
The regulations herein shall be observed at all locations where scientific diving is conducted.
Diving Control Board
The Vice Chancellor for Research shall appoint a Diving Control Board (DCB) to review all proposed scientific diving expeditions performed under campus auspices.
- The majority of the voting members of the DCB shall be active, certified divers, who are also research scientists.
- Others may be appointed to the DCB, with or without voting privileges, who can bring to it special areas of expertise.
- The DCB shall have absolute authority to disapprove a proposed scientific diving expedition for reasons it deems sufficient.
- DCB approval of any scientific diving expedition will be advisory to the Vice Chancellor for Research, who has the ultimate authority for the UIUC scientific diving program.
- The DCB shall initially develop and recommend to the Vice Chancellor for Research, a UIUC Scientific Diving Safety Manual, and later recommend any changes it deems useful to that manual.
- The DCB shall recommend to the Vice Chancellor for Research the suspension of any diving program that it considers unsafe or unwise.
- The DCB shall sit as a Board of Investigation to inquire into the nature and cause of diving accidents or violations of the UIUC Scientific Diving Safety Manual.
All certified divers shall have passed a medical examination within the 12 months preceding any scientific diving expedition. After each illness or injury requiring hospitalization of more than 24 hours or after an episode of unconsciousness related to diving activity or after treatment in a hyperbaric chamber following a diving accident or other serious illness, certified divers shall submit to a medical interview or examination appropriate to the nature and extent of the injury or illness as determined by the examining physician before resuming diving activities.
- NAUI: National Association of Underwater Instructors
- Scientific Diving Terms and Definitions
- Bail-out Bottle: Emergency tank of breathing gas.
- Bounce Dive: A dive of relatively short duration. Generally less than 10 minutes.
- Bottom Time: The total elapsed time measured in minutes from the time when the diver leaves the surface in descent to the time that the diver begins a direct ascent to the surface.
- Breath-hold Diving: A diving mode in which the diver uses no self-contained or surface supplied air or oxygen supply.
- Buddy Breathing: The sharing of a single air source between divers.
- Buddy Diver: Accompanying diver(s) in contact.
- Buoyant Ascent: An ascent made using some form of positive buoyancy such as a wet suit without weight belt, vest or BC inflated, done more rapidly than a normal ascent.
- Burst Pressure: The pressure at which a pressure containment device would fail structurally.
- Certified Diver: A diver who holds a recognized valid diver certification.
- Compression Chamber: A pressure vessel for human occupancy also called a Hyperbaric Chamber. See Recompression Chamber and Decompression Chamber.
- Controlled Ascent: Any one of the several kinds of ascents including normal, swimming and buddy breathing ascents where the diver(s) maintain control so a pause or stop can be made during the ascent.
- Cylinder: A pressure vessel for the storage of gasses. (See Tank)
- Decompression Chamber: A pressure vessel for human occupancy such as a surface decompression chamber, closed bell, or deep diving systems used to decompress divers and to treat decompression sickness.
- Decompression Sickness: A condition with a variety of symptoms which may result from gas and bubbles in the tissues of divers after pressure reduction.
- Decompression Table: A profile or set of profiles of depth-time relationships for ascent rates and breathing mixtures to be followed after a specific depth-time exposure or exposures. (See Dive Table)
- Dive: A descent into the water, an underwater diving activity utilizing compressed gas, an ascent and return to the surface.
- Dive Location: The geographic location from which a diving operation is conducted.
- Dive-Location Reserve Breathing Gas: A supply system of air or mixed gas (as appropriate) at the dive location which is independent of the primary supply system and sufficient to support divers during any planned decompression dive.
- Dive Table: A profile or set of profiles of depth-time relationships for ascent rates and breathing mixtures to be followed after a specific depth-time exposure or exposures.
- Diver: An individual in the water who uses any apparatus, including snorkels, which supplies breathing gas at ambient pressure.
- Diver-in-Training: An individual who is gaining experience and training in additional diving activities under supervision. An individual who has had at least 8 supervised dives, a minimum of 40 hours of training and possesses a nationally recognized diving certificate.
- Diver-Carried Reserve Breathing Gas: A diver-carried independent supply of air or mixed gas (as appropriate) sufficient under standard operating conditions to allow the diver to reach the surface, or another source of breathing gas, or to be reached by another diver.
- Dive Team: Divers and support individuals who are exposed to or control the exposure of others to hyperbaric conditions.
- Diving Control Board: The Diving Control Board is an administrative committee appointed by the Vice Chancellor for Research. It is composed of three or more voting members, the majority of whom shall be active, certified divers who are also research scientists.
- Diving Mode: A type of diving requiring specific equipment, procedures and techniques (snorkel, SCUBA, surface-supplied air, or mixed gas).
- Diving Project Application: A request for approval by the DCB of persons, places and modes of diving.
- Emergency Ascent: An ascent made when the diver is low or out of air. May also be used to refer to an ascent made when the diver is under excessive stress.
- FSW: Feet of sea water or equivalent static pressure head.
- Hookah Diving: A type of shallow water surface supplied diving where air is supplied by compression or compressed air tanks at the surface.
- Hyperbaric Chamber: A pressure vessel for human occupancy. See compression chamber, recompression chamber, decompression chamber.
- Hyperbaric Conditions: Pressure conditions in excess of normal atmospheric pressure at the dive location.
- Lead Diver: The certified scientific diver with experience and training to conduct the diving operation and who has been designated to be in charge of the diving operation on the diving project application.
- Maximum Working Pressure: The maximum pressure to which a pressure vessel may be exposed under standard operating conditions.
- Mixed-Gas Diving: A diving mode in which the diver is supplied in the water with a breathing gas other than air.
- MSW: Meters of sea water or equivalent static pressure head.
- No-Decompression Limits: The depth-time limits of the "no-decompression limits and repetitive dive group designations table for no- decompression air dives" in Canadian Forces Air Diving Tables or equivalent limits which can be demonstrated to be equally effective.
- Normal Ascent: An ascent made with an adequate air supply at a rate of 60 feet or less per minute.
- Pressure-Related Injury: An injury resulting from pressure disequilibrium within the body as the result of hyperbaric exposure such as: decompression sickness, pneumothorax, mediastinal emphysema, air embolism, or subcutaneous emphysema.
- Pressure Vessel: See cylinder or tank.
- Psig: Pounds per square inch gauge.
- Recompression Chamber: A pressure vessel for human occupancy such as a surface recompression chamber, closed bell, or deep diving systems used to recompress divers and to treat decompression sickness.
- Saturation Diving: A dive beyond the no-decompression limits.
- Scientific Diving: All diving performed by individuals necessary to and part of a scientific, research, or educational activity; in conjunction with a project or study under the jurisdiction of any public or private research or educational institution or similarly recognized organization, department or group.
- SCUBA Diving: A diving mode independent of surface supply in which the diver uses open circuit self-contained underwater breathing apparatus.
- Standby Diver: A diver at the dive location capable of rendering assistance to a diver in the water.
- Surface-Supplied Diving: A diving mode in which the diver in the water is supplied from the dive location with compressed gas for breathing and is in voice contact with a surface tender.
- Swimming Ascent: An ascent which can be done under normal or emergency conditions accomplished by simply swimming to the surface at a rate of 60 ft/min or less. May be aided by use of positive buoyancy control device.
- Tank: A pressure vessel for the storage of gasses. (See Cylinder)
- Treatment Table: A depth-time and breathing gas profile designed to treat decompression sickness or air embolism.
- Umbilical: The composite hose bundle between a dive location and a diver or bell, or between a diver and a bell, which supplies the diver or bell with breathing gas, communications, power or heat as appropriate to the diving mode or conditions, and includes a safety line between the diver and the dive location.
- Volume Tank: A pressure vessel connected to the outlet of a compressor and used as an air reservoir.
- Working Pressure: The normal pressure at which the air distribution system is designed to operate.
- Diving Regulations
Solo Diving Prohibition
All diving conducted under the auspices of UIUC shall be planned and executed in such a manner as to insure that every diver involved maintains constant, effective communication (e. g., eye contact, tether, audio) with at least one other certified scientific diver in the water (or standby diver in the case of shallow, zero visibility dive conditions) comparably equipped. This buddy system is based upon mutual assistance, especially in the case of an emergency. Dives should be planned around the competency of the least experienced diver. If loss of effective communication occurs within a buddy team, all divers shall surface and re-establish contact except as specified in Surface-Supplied Diving section.
Enclosed or Confined Spaces
Where an enclosed or confined space is not large enough for two divers, a diver shall be stationed at the underwater point of entry and an orientation line shall be used from that point to the diver in the confined space.
A diver's flag shall be displayed prominently whenever diving is conducted under circumstances where required or where water traffic is probable. In addition to the red-and-white Diver Down flag, the blue-and-white international code Alpha flag should be flown when working in waters with commercial boat traffic.
Each diver shall on every dive possess the capability of attaining and maintaining positive buoyancy.
Timing Devices and Depth and Pressure Gauges
All divers must have an underwater time-keeping device, an approved depth indicator and submersible tank pressure gauge, monitored by the diver or the surface support team. A set of appropriate Diving Tables must be available at the dive location. These tables must be at least as safe as the Canadian Forces Air Diving Tables (i.e. in allowing hyperbaric exposure times).
A certified diver diving under the auspices of the UIUC shall not exceed his/her depth certification, except by one step only, if accompanied by a diver certified to the greater depth.
Termination of Dive
- It is the responsibility of the diver to terminate the dive, without fear of penalty, whenever he/she feels it is unsafe to continue the dive, unless it compromises the safety of another diver already in the water.
- The dive shall be terminated while there is still sufficient tank pressure to permit the diver to safely reach the surface, including decompression time, or to safely reach an additional air source at the decompression station.
Refusal to Dive
- The decision to dive is that of the diver. A diver may refuse to dive, without fear of penalty, whenever he/she feels it is unsafe for them to make the dive.
- Safety: Ultimate responsibility for safety rests with the individual diver. It is the diver's responsibility and duty to refuse to dive if, in his/her judgment, conditions are unsafe or unfavorable, or if he/she would be violating the precepts of his/her training or the regulations in this guide.
Closed and Semi-closed Circuit SCUBA
Closed and semi-closed circuit SCUBA (rebreathers) will be considered for scientific diving on a case by case basis.
Hookah divers shall comply with all SCUBA diving procedures in this manual. Hookah diving shall not be conducted at depths greater than 190 fsw (58 msw).
- Divers using the hookah mode shall be equipped with a diver-carried reserve breathing gas supply equipped with a pressure relief valve.
- Each hookah diver shall be hose tended by a separate dive team member while in the water.
- The hookah breathing gas supply shall be sufficient to support all hookah divers in the water for the duration of the planned dive.
Surface-supplied divers shall comply with all SCUBA diving procedures in this manual. Surface-supplied diving shall not be conducted at depths greater than 190 fsw (58 msw).
- Divers using the surface-supplied mode shall be equipped with a diver-carried independent reserve breathing gas supply equipped with a pressure relief valve.
- Each surface-supplied diver shall be hose-tended by a separate dive team member while in the water.
- Divers using the surface-supplied mode shall maintain voice communications with the surface tender.
- The surface-supplied breathing gas supply shall be sufficient to support all surface-supplied divers in the water for the duration of the planned dive, including decompression.
- During surface-supplied diving operations when only one diver is in the water there must be a standby diver in attendance at the dive location.
Saturation diving shall comply with a protocol approved by the Diving Control Board. (See Canadian Dive Tables)
For each dive, one individual shall be designated as the lead diver. He/she shall be at the dive location or the dive site during the diving operation. The lead diver shall be responsible for:
1. Coordination: Diving shall be coordinated with other known activities in the vicinity which are likely to interfere with diving operations.
2. Briefing: The dive team members shall be briefed on:
- Dive objectives and procedures;
- Any unusual hazards or environmental conditions likely to affect the safety of the diving operation;
- Any modifications to diving or emergency procedures necessitated by the specific diving operation;
- Immediately reporting any physical problems or adverse physiological effects including symptoms of pressure related injuries; and
- Determine the competency of the dive team.
3. Dive Planning: Planning of a diving operation shall include considerations of the safety and health aspects of the following:
- Diving mode;
- Surface and underwater conditions and hazards;
- Breathing gas supply;
- Thermal protection;
- Diving equipment;
- Dive team assignments;
- Residual inert gas status of dive team members;
- Decompression schedules and altitude corrections;
- Emergency procedures and nearby medical facility locations and/or hyperbaric chambers; and
- jChemical/biological hazards.
Before conducting any diving operations, the lead diver shall consider the following information:
- Other divers involved and their qualifications/competence and the type of certificate/permit held by each participating diver.
- Name, telephone number and relationship of person to be contacted for each diver in the event of an emergency.
- Approximate number of proposed dives.
- Location(s) of proposed dive(s).
- Estimated depth(s) and bottom time(s) anticipated.
- Proposed work, equipment and boats to be employed, repetitive dives, if required, and details of any hazardous conditions anticipated.
- Roles and conditions for support personnel on the surface.
Pre-Dive Safety Checks
1. Diver's Responsibility
- Each scientific diver shall conduct a functional check of his/her diving equipment in the presence of the Diving Buddy or Tender.
- It is the diver's responsibility and duty to refuse to dive if, in his/her judgment, conditions are unfavorable or if he/she would be violating the precepts of his/her training, or this manual.
- No dive team member shall be required to be exposed to hyperbaric conditions against his/her will, except when necessary to prevent or treat a pressure-related injury.
- No dive team member shall be permitted to dive for the duration of any known condition which is likely to adversely affect the safety and health of the diver or other dive team members.
- The diver shall terminate the dive while there is still sufficient tank pressure to permit the diver to safely reach the surface including decompression.
2. Equipment Requirements
- Each SCUBA diver shall have submersible pressure gauge for monitoring SCUBA tank pressure, capable of being monitored by the diver during the dive, as well as a depth gauge, timer, and positive buoyancy device.
- Surface-supplied divers shall have a tether, timer, and depth gauge that may be monitored.
- If mixed gas is used as the breathing media, appropriate diving tables shall be used.
3. Diver's Qualifications: Each scientific diver shall be certified and trained and qualified for the diving mode being used and each dive team member shall have experience or training in the following:
- The use of the instruments and equipment appropriate to the diving activity to be conducted.
- Dive planning and emergency procedures.
- Dive teams shall include at least one member who is currently certified in cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Dive rescue and oxygen therapy training is also recommended.
- Dive team members who are exposed to or control the exposure of others to hyperbaric conditions shall be trained in diving-related physics and physiology and recognition of pressure related injuries.
Post-Dive Safety Checks
- After the completion of a dive each diver shall report any physical problems, symptoms of decompression sickness or equipment malfunctions.
- When diving outside of the no-decompression limits (i.e. bottom times greater than no-decompression limits) the divers should remain awake for at least one hour after diving and in the company of a dive team member who is prepared to transport him to a hyperbaric chamber if necessary.
Emergencies—Deviation from Regulations
During the conduct of an approved dive program, any diver may deviate from the requirements of this manual or the dive plan submitted to and approved by the Diving Control Board to the extent necessary to prevent or minimize a situation which is likely to cause death, serious physical harm, or major environmental damage. A written report of such actions must be submitted to the Diving Control Board, as soon as possible, explaining the circumstances and justifications for such action.
Consequences of Violation of Regulations by Scientific Divers
Failure by a diver to comply with the regulations of U of I Scientific Diving Safety Manual may be cause for the future disapproval by the Diving Control Board of any diving expeditions that include that diver.
Recordkeeping and Requirements
Personal Diving Log
1. Each certified scientific diver shall log every dive made under the auspices of the U of I program and is encouraged to log all other dives. These logs must be made available to the Diving Control Board. Copies of the logs of all dives performed under campus auspices must be submitted to the Vice Chancellor for Research.
2. If pressure-related injuries are suspected or if symptoms are evident the following additional information shall be recorded and retained by UIUC with the record of dives for a period of 5 years.
- Description of symptoms - including depth and time of onset; and
- Description and results of treatment.
3. The Diving Control Board shall investigate and document any incident of pressure-related injury and prepare a report which is to be submitted to the UIUC Vice Chancellor for Research.
The Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research shall maintain permanent records for each approved scientific diving expedition performed under campus auspices. The file shall include evidence of diver certification, log sheets, results of current physical examination, current waiver, reports of disciplinary actions by the Diving Control Board, and other pertinent information deemed necessary.
1. Availability of Records:
- Medical records shall be available to the attending physician of a diver or former diver when released in writing by the diver.
- Medical records required by this standard shall be retained by the Division of Environmental Health and Safety for the following period: Physician's written reports of medical examinations for dive team members - 30 years after termination of employment.
- Other documents required by this standard shall be retained by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for research for the following periods: (1) Manual(s) for diving safety - permanently;(2) Record of dive - 1 year, except 5 years where there has been an incident of pressure-related injury; (3) Pressure-related injury assessment - 5 years; (4) Equipment inspection and testing records - current entry or tag, or until equipment is withdrawn from service.
2. If scientific diving ceases at U of I, copies of all applicable records maintained under the requirements of this section shall be held until the expiration date.
Required Accident Reporting
All diving accidents requiring recompression or resulting in serious injury shall be reported to U of I's Diving Control Board. The campus regular procedures for accident reporting shall be followed (for further information on routine accident reporting requirements, contact the Office of Claims Management at (217) 333-1080). Additional information deemed necessary may be required. In addition, U of I must meet the following reporting requirements:
- U of I shall record and report occupational injuries and illnesses in accordance with requirements of the appropriate Labor Code Section.
- U of I shall record the occurrence of any diving-related injury or illness which requires any dive team member to be hospitalized for 24 hours or more, or after an episode of unconsciousness related to diving activity, or after treatment in a compression chamber following a diving accident; specifying the circumstances of the incident and the extent of any injuries or illnesses.
- Illinois law requires additional reporting to the Illinois Department of Labor any fatality or accident in which 3 or more individuals are hospitalized for the same accident. This notification must be within 24 hours (Illinois Title 56, Chapter I, b, Subpart B, 350.210). The Division of Environmental Health and Safety can facilitate such notification. Otherwise:
- Illinois Department of Labor
Division of Safety Inspection and Education
#1 West Old State Capitol Plaza, Room 300
(217) 782-9386 (voice) or (217) 782-0596 (fax)
- Diving Equipment
Certified Scientific Diver
All inspections, tests, and maintenance referred to in this Section 4.10 must be accomplished by a manufacturer certified technician or facility.
Each equipment modification, repair, test, calibration or maintenance service shall be logged including the date and nature of work performed, serial number of item and the name of the person performing the work for the following equipment:
- SCUBA tanks
- Diving helmets
- Submersible breathing masks
- Air storage cylinders
- Submersible pressure gauges
- Depth gauges
- Tank valves
- Gas control panels
- Analytical instruments
- Air filtration systems
Inspection and Testing: SCUBA regulators used in the Scientific Diving Program shall be inspected and tested prior to their first use and every twelve months thereafter.
Breathing Masks and Helmets
Breathing masks and helmets shall have:
- If diving under surface-supplied conditions, a one-way valve at the attachment point between the air-supply hose and the helmet or mask that shall close readily and positively;
- Breathing masks and helmets shall have a minimum ventilation rate capable of maintaining the diver at the depth to which he/she is diving.
1. Compressed air cylinders must:
- Be hydrostatically tested in accordance with DOT standards.
- Have an internal visual inspection at intervals not to exceed 12 months.
- Be functionally tested at intervals not to exceed 12 months.
2. Backpacks and Weight Systems: Backpacks and weight systems shall be regularly examined by the persons using them.
3. Gauges: Gauges shall be inspected and tested before first use and every 12 months thereafter. A record of inspections, tests, and repairs shall be maintained.
4. Quick Release Devices: All weight systems and SCUBA backpacks worn by the diver shall be equipped with quick release devices designed to permit jettisoning the entire gear. The quick release device must operate easily with a single motion from either hand.
5. Personal flotation systems, buoyancy compensators, dry suits or other variable volume buoyancy compensation device shall be equipped with an exhaust valve. These devices shall be functionally inspected and tested at intervals not to exceed 12 months.
6. First-Aid Supplies:
- A first-aid kit adequate for the diving operation shall be available at the dive location, and a medical oxygen unit capable of delivering 6 liters/minute for 45 minutes is recommended.
- When used in a hyperbaric chamber or bell, the first-aid kit shall be suitable for use under hyperbaric conditions.
- Breathing Air
Breathing air for SCUBA shall meet the following specifications:
- Minimum Oxygen - atmospheric
- Oxygen Content - special mixtures must be specified by advice of competent authority and approved by the Diving Control Board.
- Maximum Carbon Monoxide
- Decompression dives - 0.001% (10 ppm)
- Non-decompression dives - 0.002% (20 ppm)
- Maximum Carbon Dioxide - 0.10% (1000 ppm)
- Dust and Droplets of Oil and Water - Absent
- Odors and Vapors - Absent
Compressor Systems - U of I Controlled
1. Design and Location of Compressor
- Low pressure compressors used to supply air to the diver shall be equipped with a volume tank with a check valve on the inlet side, a pressure gauge, a relief valve, and a drain valve.
- All air compressor intakes shall be located away from areas containing exhaust or other contaminants.
2. Compressor Operation and Air Test Records
- Gas analyses and air tests shall be performed on each UIUC breathing air compressor at regular intervals of no more than 100 hours of operation or 12 months, whichever occurs first. The results of these tests shall be entered in a formal log and be maintained.
- A log shall be maintained showing operation, repair, overhaul, filter maintenance and temperature adjustment for each compressor.
- Medical Standards
Medical Requirements of Dive Team
- The U of I Diving Control Board shall determine that dive members who are, or are likely to be, exposed to hyperbaric conditions have passed a current physical examination and have been declared medically fit to engage in diving activities.
- All medical examinations required by this standard shall be performed by, or under the direction of, a licensed physician.
- The diver should be free of chronic disabling diseases or injury, demonstrate good ability to perform all gross and minute tasks, and exhibit normal reflexes.
Frequency of Medical Examinations
Medical examinations shall be completed:
- Before a diver may dive, unless an equivalent medical examination has been given within the preceding 12 months;
- At one-year intervals from the date of initial examination or last equivalent examination;
- After an injury or illness requiring hospitalization of more than 24 hours; or
- After an episode of unconsciousness related to diving activity; or
- After any diving accident requiring treatment in a recompression chamber.
Information Provided Examining Physician
U of I shall provide a copy of the medical requirements of this standard to the examining physician.
Content of Medical Examinations
Medical examinations conducted initially and annually shall consist of the following:
- General medical history;
- Diving-related medical history;
- Basic physical examination;
- The tests required by Table 1; and
- Any additional tests the physician considers necessary such as EKG and/or stress test; Pulmonary function test.
Initial Examination (or Within Previous 12 Months)
Annual Reexamination Chest X-Ray X The extent of testing and examination to be determined by examining doctor Visual Acuity X The extent of testing and examination to be determined by examining doctor Color Blindness X The extent of testing and examination to be determined by examining doctor Hearing X The extent of testing and examination to be determined by examining doctor Hematocrit or Hemoglobin X The extent of testing and examination to be determined by examining doctor Urinalysis X The extent of testing and examination to be determined by examining doctor Tetanus Vaccination X Every 10 years
Medical Examination Following Injury, Unconsciousness or Recompression Treatment
Medical examinations conducted after an injury or illness requiring hospitalization of more than 24 hours or after an episode of unconsciousness related to diving activity or after treatment in a recompression chamber following a diving accident shall be appropriate to the nature and extent of the injury or illness as determined by the examining physician.
Physician's Written Report
After any medical examination required by this standard, the UIUC Diving Control Board shall obtain a written report prepared by the examining physician which shall contain the examining physician's opinion of the individual's fitness to dive, including any recommended restrictions or limitations.
Contra-indications to Diving
The following conditions may be examples of either absolute or relative contra-indications to diving clearances; or at least may require special consultations and waivers, both medical and possibly legal.
- Persons subject to spontaneous pneumothorax.
- Persons subject to epileptic seizures or syncopal attacks.
- Lung cysts or definite air-trapping lesions on chest X-ray.
- Perforated ear drum.
- Active asthma.
- Drug addiction.
- Diabetes where individual is subject to insulin shock or diabetic coma.
- Ear surgery with placement of plastic strut in air-conduction chain.
- History of myocardial infarction.
- Decreased pulmonary reserve from any cause.
- Malignancies (active) unless treated and without recurrence for 5 years.
- Gross obesity in diving requiring decompression.
- History of thoracotomy.
- Impaired vision or blindness in one eye.
- Chronic inability to equalize sinus and/or middle ear pressure.
- Impaired organ function caused by alcohol or drug use.
- Conditions requiring continuous medication for control (e.g., antihistamines, steroids, barbiturates, mood-altering drugs, or insulin).
- Meniere's disease.
- Cardiac abnormalities (e.g. , pathological heart block, valvular disease, intraventricular conduction defects other than isolated right bundle branch block, angina pectoris, arrhythmia, coronary artery disease).
- Juxta-articular osteonecrosis.
- Any lingering effects from the consumption of alcohol.
Applicants and divers should be able to read a watch and other appropriate gauges under diving conditions and be able to recognize familiar objects at a distance on the surface. Persons needing visual correction should have vision corrected, while diving, to the highest possible acuity.
Hemoglobin should be 95% or over and the hemogram should be in normal range. Diseases which might prevent active exercise should disqualify the applicant. Peripheral vascular disease which might interfere with gas exchange in an extremity should also disqualify the applicant.
Ear, Nose, and Throat
Applicants having acute or chronic sinus trouble should not dive unless free drainage of the sinuses is assured. Congestion secondary to upper respiratory infection (URI) or hay fever is a contra-indication to diving until free passage of air is possible. Applicants with acute or chronic ear trouble should not dive until the drum has normal appearance. Scarring from childhood otitis is not a contra-indication to diving. Healed perforations of the drum of at least two months duration should not be harmed by diving if special care is taken to keep the ears well-cleared during dives. Acute or chronic otitis externa should be considered harmful in diving until the canals are clear. Applicants with acute URI may be passed, but should be cautioned strictly against diving until the URI has completely cleared. Decongestants which work well on land have been known to fail in water, and severe squeeze can result. Bridgework or dentures should fit solidly.
Applicants with evidence of severe chronic lung disease, severe interference with free passage of air or with poor gas exchange should be rejected. A baseline chest X-ray should be taken or there should be evidence of a normal chest X-ray in the past 3 years. A history of asthma in childhood, with no attacks in the preceding three years, should not preclude the applicant's diving as long as there is verification by a physician that is no severe residual damage from the disease or ongoing problems.
Applicants having chronic gastrointestinal disease, including ulcer or chronic ulcerated colitis, should not dive if any symptoms are present. History of bleeding ulcer is a contra-indication to a saturation diving situation where isolation is required for a week or more. If the process is quiescent, as judged by a physician, diving can be undertaken.
Endocrine disturbances which would interfere with normal oxygen-carrying capacities or response to stress should prevent the applicant from diving. Such entities would include severe hypothyroidism, Addison's disease, etc. Diabetics on medication should not participate in diving except under extremely carefully controlled conditions. The decision concerning approval for diving for a person with endocrine problems is a highly individualized one and should be based on the diving conditions to be encountered, depth, temperature ranges, and operational requirements.
This area is the most difficult to evaluate. If the response of the applicant to stress is questionable, seriously consider disqualification. Emergencies under water require cool judgment. It is estimated that the majority of diving deaths result from failure to react properly in emergency situations due to neuropsychiatric abnormalities.
Anyone on psycho chemotherapy should not dive under most situations; e.g. major tranquilizers--thorazine, mellonil, would be a contra-indication, while occasional use of a mild sleeping medication such as benzodiazeprine might be acceptable. Again, the examiner's judgment is necessary.
- Appendices and Forms
- Scientific Diving Safety Manual - Word Version
- Appendix A – Medical Approval Forms
- Appendix B – Scientific Diving Emergency Plan
- Appendix C – Scientific Diving Project Application
- Appendix D – (Provisional) Release And Waiver Form
- Appendix E – Scientific Diving Log Sheet
- Appendix F – Canadian Forces Air Diving Tables And Procedures