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Alert: Diving

  • Issued: July 1997
  • Revised: March 1, 2014
  • Content last reviewed: September 2019

Hazard Summary

The Ministry of Labour wants to ensure that qualified and competent divers are being used by all insurance companies to recover submerged property and that insurance companies are aware of their responsibility to notify the ministry of a diving operation. Failure to comply creates the potential for a serious accident.

Some of the obligations for insurance companies from the Regulations for Diving Operations are summarized below. However, this guideline does not replace the requirements set out in the Regulation, and if there is a difference between this guideline and the Regulation, the Regulation will prevail.

Locations and Sector

Wherever diving operations are being conducted for an insurance company and the Regulations for Diving Operations apply.



The insurance company would be considered either the "employer" or the "owner" depending on the contractual arrangement. As the "employer" or the "owner" the company has very specific obligations to ensure that the diving crew are competent and that the ministry is properly notified of the operation.

Diving Crew

As the "employer" or "owner", the insurance company must ensure that "one or more competent persons are appointed as diving supervisors for the diving operation".

According to the Occupational Health and Safety Act a competent person "means a person who,

  1. is qualified because of knowledge, training and experience to organize the work and its performance,
  2. is familiar with the Act and the regulations that apply to the work, and
  3. has knowledge of any potential or actual danger to health or safety in the workplace".

In addition, the Regulation for Diving Operations states there must be a minimum of three competent members of the dive team–a diver, a standby diver and a diving tender – for surface-supplied diving. All divers must have undergone a medical examination during the 24 month period preceding the dive (or the preceding 12 months for divers aged 40 years and over) and carry a written statement from a doctor that states the diver is fit for occupational diving.


Notice of the diving operation must be given by the insurance company to the Ministry of Labour at least 24 hours before the diving operation commences.

Use the Notice of Diving Operation form to notify the ministry. This form may be filled out and submitted electronically.

To notify the ministry orally call the Health and Safety Contact Centre toll-free: 1-877-202-0008.

The form must be completed and available at the dive site for inspection by an inspector at all times.

This Ministry of Labour Alert has no legal effect and does not constitute and is not a substitute for legal advice. If you require specific assistance with respect to the interpretation of a legislative provision and its potential application to you please contact your legal counsel.

Remember that while complying with occupational health and safety laws, you are also required to comply with applicable environmental laws.

Please photocopy Ministry of Labour Alerts, distribute them widely and post them where people will see them.

ISSN 1195-5228