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Alert: Diving

  • Issued: July 1997
  • Revised: March 1, 2014
  • Content last reviewed: July 2015

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 regional dive office closest to the diving operation, at least 24 hours before the diving operation commences. The "Notice of Diving Operation" form must be completed and submitted within 5 days after the start of the dive. The form must be completed and available at the dive site for inspection by an inspector at all times.

Ministry of Labour Regional Dive Offices

Eastern Region

347 Preston Street, 4th Floor
Ottawa, ON K1S 3J4
Tel: 613-228-8050 ext.3055
Toll-free: 1-800-267-1916
Fax: 613-727-2900

Northern Region

159 Cedar Street, Suite 301
Sudbury ON P3E 6A5
Tel: 705-564-7306 ext. 47306
Toll-free: 1-800-461-6325
Fax: 705-564-7437

Central Region

17345 Leslie St, Unit 102
Newmarket ON L3Y 9A3
Tel: 905 953-3999
Toll-free: 1-888-299-3138
Fax: 905-715-7609

Western Region

119 King Street West, 13th Floor
Hamilton ON L8P 4Y7
Tel: 905-577-6221
Toll-free: 1-800-263-6906
Fax: 905-577-1324

217 York Street, 5th Floor
London ON N6A 5P9
Tel: 519-439-2210
Toll-free: 1-800-265-1676
Fax: 519-672-0268

4510 Rhodes Drive, Suite 610
Windsor, ON N8W 5K5
Tel: 519-256-8277
Toll-free: 1-800-265-5140
Fax: 519-258-1321

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