Diving and snorkelling equipment

Persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) should ensure the appropriate selection, inspection, maintenance, repair testing and use of all equipment used for diving and snorkelling.

In general the PCBU should ensure diving and snorkelling equipment supplied is:

  • suitable for the type of diving being undertaken and of sufficient quality to ensure it performs effectively for the wearer
  • supplied in an appropriate size range to ensure a good fit
  • checked before diving starts to ensure it is in safe working condition
  • cleaned and kept in good repair
  • maintained in accordance with manufacturers' specifications.

Oral/nasal equipment should be disinfected prior to use by another person, that is, it does not need disinfecting if the same person is using the equipment over a period of time.

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High risk diving work

All equipment used for high risk diving work must be selected and used in accordance with AS/NZS 2299.1: 2015 Occupational diving operations – Standard operational practice.

General diving work

Appropriate standards should be used for the selection and use of equipment for general diving work. Examples of appropriate standards include:

The PCBU should:

  • develop and document procedures for the inspection, cleaning, repair and maintenance of diving equipment by a competent person
  • develop checklists to help ensure dive equipment, including emergency equipment, is inspected for correct fit and function prior to diving. The use of checklists should be incorporated into the dive plan
  • ensure each diver has immediate access to an emergency supply of breathing gas should their main supply fail. The emergency supply should be adequate to allow the diver to safely ascend from their working depth and complete any decompression requirements. The emergency supply should be able to be accessed immediately by the diver and they should be trained regularly in its use. Examples of an emergency supply of breathing gas include a bailout cylinder or the use of an alternate air source carried by another diver who is immediately available to the diver requiring the emergency supply of breathing gas and who has an adequate gas supply for both divers
  • ensure any weight systems worn by a diver have a quick release mechanism and are able to be released by the diver in an emergency to achieve positive buoyancy by using one hand. The weight system should be configured so that it does not foul any other equipment, particularly the diver's air supply, when released in an emergency. If the release of a diver's weights during the dive is insufficient to provide the diver with positive buoyancy in an emergency, a person conducting a business or undertaking at the workplace should ensure that there are alternate methods for a diver to surface safely and maintain positive buoyancy on the surface. Example – a buoyancy control device, a lifeline (where the lifeline cannot be entangled or cause the diver to become trapped on the bottom) attached to the diver via an appropriate harness or a dive stage are all ways in which a diver may be assisted to the surface in an emergency
  • ensure, if using surface supplied breathing apparatus, that:
    • the diver's air hose is of a single continuous length and configured so that lateral (pull) forces are not applied to the end fittings
    • the diver should wear a harness to which equipment, such as their air hose, can be attached
    • the diver's hoses and fittings should be made for the purpose of supplying breathing gases and be incapable of accidental disengagement or loosening, and the diver's breathing gas supply hose is fitted with a non-return valve located as close as possible to the diver.

Recreational diving

All resort divers, other than those doing helmet diving, should use:

  • fins
  • mask
  • compressed air cylinder and valve designed specifically for SCUBA
  • buoyancy control device fitted with a power inflator device
  • regulator fitted with an alternate air source or an alternative air supply
  • submersible depth and cylinder pressure indicators
  • quick-release weight system
  • exposure protection, as appropriate to conditions.

Entry-level certificate divers should use:

  • all equipment recommended for resort divers; plus
  • snorkel (attachable or attached to the mask)
  • submersible timing device during open water dives
  • a knife, dive tool or shears if there is a chance of entanglement.

Certificated divers should use:

  • all equipment recommended for entry level divers
  • emergency signalling equipment, including a high visibility signalling device, for example, a safety sausage; and an audible signalling device (e.g. a whistle)
  • a lighted signalling device (e.g. a glow stick), if diving is to take place close to dusk or after dark
  • a torch, if night diving is being undertaken.

Diving workers engaged in recreational diving should use:

  • all equipment recommended for certificated divers
  • slate and writing instrument.

Recreational technical diving

Divers using EANx with SCUBA should use all equipment recommended for certificated divers.

Divers using EANx rebreathers should use:

  • fins
  • mask
  • EANx rebreather unit
  • buoyancy control device fitted with a power inflator device
  • submersible depth gauge and timing device or dive computer
  • redundant breathing system
  • submersible depth and cylinder pressure indicators
  • quick-release weight system
  • exposure protection, as appropriate to conditions
  • a knife, dive tool or shears if there is a chance of entanglement
  • emergency signalling equipment, including a high visibility signalling device, for example, a safety sausage; and an audible signalling device (e.g. a whistle)
  • a lighted signalling device (e.g. a glow stick), if diving is to take place close to dusk or after dark
  • a torch, if night diving is being undertaken
  • for divers undergoing training, including semi closed circuit rebreathers, a PPO2 monitor of the inspired gas which can be read by the diver.

Equipment used for EANx should:

  • be used in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions by competent persons
  • have all cylinders clearly marked 'NITROX' and have a tag or decal attached completed by the diver showing percentage of O2, maximum operating depth and cylinder serial number?

Divers using mixed gas with SCUBA should use:

  • all equipment recommended for EANx with SCUBA
  • regulators on all cylinders. At least one second stage attached to the bottom mix should have a low pressure line a minimum of 1.5 metres in length
  • two submersible depth gauges and two submersible timing devices, or two dive computers
  • cylinder pressure gauge connected to each cylinder used
  • quick-release weight system where required
  • a redundant gas breathing system
  • two copies of the dive team's dive plan
  • an isolation valve fitted to the manifold whenever cylinders are manifolded  
  • an alternative ascent system
  • a reel where direct ascent to the surface is not possible

Divers using mixed gas rebreathers should use:

  • fins
  • mask
  • mixed gas rebreather unit
  • buoyancy control device fitted with a power inflator device
  • submersible depth gauges and two timing devices or two dive computers
  • redundant breathing system
  • submersible depth and cylinder pressure indicators
  • quick-release weight system
  • exposure protection, as appropriate to conditions
  • a knife, dive tool or shears if there is a chance of entanglement
  • emergency signalling equipment, including a high visibility signalling device (e.g., a safety sausage) and an audible signalling device (e.g. a whistle)
  • a lighted signalling device (e.g. a glow stick), if diving is to take place close to dusk or after dark
  • a torch, if night diving is being undertaken
  • a reel where direct ascent to the surface is not possible.

Equipment used for mixed gas diving should:

  • be used in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions by competent persons
  • have all cylinders clearly marked as to their contents and have a tag or decal attached completed by the diver showing %O2,calculated %N2, %He or other gases, maximum operating depth, minimum operating depth and cylinder serial number.

Divers doing decompression diving should use:

  • an alternate ascent system (e.g. a surface marker buoy and reel able to be deployed while underwater)
  • a redundant breathing gas system with sufficient capacity to safely complete the dive.

Snorkelling

Snorkellers should use:

  • fins
  • mask
  • snorkel
  • appropriate exposure protection- including risks from cold, UV and marine jellyfish.

Compressors, storage and filling

Divers breath compressed gas while they underwater.  Compression, filling, storage and use of these gases for diving create risks for workers and divers including explosion, uncontrolled gas release, hearing damage and contamination.

In general compressors should be:

  • designed for breathing air or other gases
  • tested for gas quality
  • operated and maintained according to manufacturers' instructions including servicing, filter and oil changes
  • positioned so only clean, uncontaminated gas is taken into the compressor. Particular care must be taken regarding the installation, inspection and use of air intake hoses where the risk of contamination by carbon monoxide exists. Divers have died from carbon monoxide toxicity due to poorly installed and maintained air intakes
  • have filters which are in sound working order so they effectively remove contaminants. (water content of the gas reduces the effectiveness and life of filter materials)
  • checked to ensure aluminium alloy oil water separators are correctly designed and used. Some oil water separators have exploded creating a severe risk for any persons in the vicinity.

Compressed gas cylinders should:

Safe cylinder filling should include:

  • Ensure each cylinder is regularly inspected and known to be safe before filling.
  • Do not permit a cylinder to be filled to a pressure greater than the working pressure stamped on the cylinder.
  • Do not fit a taper threaded valve unit into a parallel threaded cylinder.
  • Do not tamper with the valve unit safety valve fitting or rupture disc.
  • Do not use a cylinder damaged by incorrect handling or storage and showing evidence of surface gouging, dents or partially broken fittings.
  • Do not allow contaminants into the cylinder in the form of salt water or moisture.
  • Do not allow a cylinder to come in contact with fire or temperatures above 150oC. This is particularly vital if repainting is considered using heat curing.
  • Do not use any SCUBA cylinder which loses pressure or shows evidence of leakage, no matter how small. Leakage reduces calculated underwater time and may indicate imminent cylinder failure. If a cylinder leaks whilst filling, immediately cease filling, discharge the cylinder and evacuate the area.
  • SCUBA cylinders manufactured from aluminium alloy 6351 and other aluminium alloy cylinders 15 years or older, should be non-destructively examined annually for cracks and flaws in the neck fold and thread areas by competent and suitably-equipped people.
  • Cylinders should only be refilled in a manner that limits risk to personnel and property. SCUBA cylinders manufactured from aluminium alloy 6351 should be filled inside a suitable enclosure or in a way that prevents injury and property damage.
  • Use proper cylinder filling equipment and procedures and refrain from fast filling. SCUBA cylinders manufactured from aluminium alloy 6351 should not be filled faster than 600 psi (40.8 atm) per minute
  • Cylinders must have an annual internal visual and hydrostatic inspection by a competent and suitably equipped person in accordance with Australian Standard AS 2030.1:2009 Gas Cylinders- General Requirements.
  • Never fill a cylinder without evidence of a valid test date. Most cylinder failures occur during the filling process.
  • SCUBA cylinders should not be modified, for example by skimming off corroded neck material, unless the procedure is recommended by the manufacturer, in other documented procedures or to an applicable standard.
  • The risks from the failure of the high pressure fill hose should be controlled, for example by using hose restraints.
  • SCUBA cylinders should be secured against falling.
  • All components of the cylinder filling system should be specifically designed for the purpose intended and installed by a competent person.
  • The PCBU should have operating procedures for filling SCUBA cylinders and ensure all people filling cylinders are appropriately trained.
  • The filling area should be isolated from workers and others not involved in the filling procedure.
  • Workers should wear appropriate personal protective equipment (consideration should be given to hearing protection, eye protection and foot protection).

Blending, testing, storage and use of EANx

If EANx is blended, tested, stored or used at the workplace, the person conducting the business or undertaking should ensure:

  • EANx gas mixing and EANx cylinder filling are carried out by a competent person
  • all equipment associated with the filling or use of EANx is used in accordance with manufacturers' recommendations
  • all scuba cylinders to be used for the storage of EANx are clearly marked "NITROX"
  • prior to using an EANx cylinder, the O2 content in the cylinder is tested by the diver
  • after testing, a tag/decal is completed by the diver and is attached to the cylinder showing:
    • oxygen percentage
    • maximum operating depth of the gas mixture
    • cylinder serial number, in case the tag is separated from the cylinder.

PCBUs using EANx compressors or decanting oxygen rich mixtures should be familiar with the potential hazards and have an expert understanding of the strict procedures necessary for their safe mixing and use.

The following factors may affect the safety of the compression and filling process:

  • compressor types, the integrity of filtration and cleanliness of the compressed gas
  • cleanliness of the components of the scuba system exposed to oxygen
  • the materials used in the manufacture of the equipment and components
  • compatibility of lubricants used within the equipment when exposed to high pressure oxygen or high oxygen concentration mixes
  • incorrect assembly of breathing apparatus or filling system

Should there be any doubt as to the suitability of any such systems, PCBUs should contact the manufacturer or supplier of the equipment for technical advice.

In addition, the following are strongly recommended:

  • filling and decanting systems should be installed operated and maintained by competent persons in strict accordance with the manufacturer and/or supplier's recommendations and requirements
  • cylinder filling supported by an appropriate quality assurance system
  • consideration is given to the positioning of compressors and decanting systems (where possible cylinders should be filled in an area remote from the public)
  • consideration is given to performing regular oil analysis where compressors are used.

Blending, testing, storage and use of mixed gases

The person conducting the business or undertaking should ensure:

  • all gas blending is undertaken by a competent person in the blending of gases to produce underwater breathing mixtures
  • all equipment associated with the filling or use of mixed gases is to be used in accordance with manufacturers' recommendations
  • all cylinders to be used for the storage of mixed gas are clearly marked as to their contents
  • prior to using a mixed gas cylinder, the O2 content in the cylinder is tested by the diver
  • after testing, a tag/decal is attached to the cylinder showing:
    • oxygen percentage
    • calculated nitrogen percentage
    • calculated helium or other gas percentage
    • minimum operating depth of the gas mixture
    • maximum operating depth of the gas mixture
    • cylinder serial number, in case the tag/decal is separated from the cylinder.

Breathing gas quality

For high risk diving work and general diving work, the standards in AS/NZS 2299.1: 2015 Occupational diving operations – Standard operational practice should be used to monitor breathing gas quality.

For recreational diving, compressed gas should not contain more than:

  • 5 ppm of carbon monoxide
  • 480 ppm of carbon dioxide or 900 mg/m3
  • 0.3mg/m3 of oil.
Last updated
05 December 2016