BY Esther OLUKU
The Chief Inspector of Diving (CID) in Nigeria, Mr. Julius Ugwala, has called for standardisation of the Diving profession in Nigeria through a “single harmonised Diving standard” across the country.
Ugwala who made this call at the Nigerian Underwater Conference 2021 which held in Lagos stated that if the basic laws of physics governing the diver’s work underwater are universal, it is important that the rules for operating safely underwater are also universal.
The Diving Chief decried the confusion plaguing the industry stating that rules are continually contrived to suit situations, a practice which ought not to be.
A unified Diving standard, he said, would delineate the rules, regulations, and acceptable safety standards in line with best health and global professional practice.
“It was surprising to hear the view expressed that a unified standard may not be appropriate for a particular jurisdiction given the number of very experienced diving personnel across our national diving industry. Education and communication is required to persuade those in doubt.
“The Diving at Work regulation (2018) is already recognized for being what they are. The challenge is that different companies and contractors across Nigeria adopt the regulations of their local jurisdictions. This proposed standard is simply the guideline to what we would like to see happen”, he said.
Ugwala urged divers to examine the benefits that standardisation would bring to the profession highlighting competency and workplace assessment measurable by the proposed standards as a benchmark for employers and professionals in the industry.
“It makes sense for us to have a single recognised Diving Standard and to make people aware that this standard exists. It can be culled up by employers to determine a diver’s competency level. As is done in other trades, there should be a common standard to assess the diving workforce across the country. In many fields, where a standard is not cited, there is a breakdown in order”, he said.
The Diving Chief urged stakeholders to lay aside political, ethnic and sociological biases as it tackles the irregularities ravaging the Diving industry.
He expressed optimism in the progress of the diving industry, adding that the desired progress would be achieved as stakeholders work together towards a common goal.
“I hope that this proposition is recognized, considered and possibly accepted across the country as the competency standard for Diving personnel. I know it may have taken years but we have had a fair amount of success in the industry moving from a minimum of three-person crew to a four-person Diving crew.
“I hope that this proposition becomes the new standard for all diving operations and that the industry emphasises the importance of conducting proper hazard analysis to determine crew size. This would be of great benefit going forward”, he said.