• Part Number:
  • Part Number Title:
    Occupational Safety and Health Standards
  • Subpart:
    1910 Subpart T
  • Subpart Title:
    Commercial Diving Operations
  • Standard Number:
  • Title:
    Scope and application.
  • GPO Source:
This subpart (standard) applies to every place of employment within the waters of the United States, or within any State, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, Wake Island, Johnston Island, the Canal Zone, or within the Outer Continental Shelf lands as defined in the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (67 Stat. 462, 43 U.S.C. 1331), where diving and related support operations are performed.
This standard applies to diving and related support operations conducted in connection with all types of work and employments, including general industry, construction, ship repairing, shipbuilding, shipbreaking and longshoring. However, this standard does not apply to any diving operation:
Performed solely for instructional purposes, using open-circuit, compressed-air SCUBA and conducted within the no-decompression limits;
Performed solely for search, rescue, or related public safety purposes by or under the control of a governmental agency; or

Governed by 45 CFR part 46 (Protection of Human Subjects, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) or equivalent rules or regulations established by another federal agency, which regulate research, development, or related purposes involving human subjects.

Defined as scientific diving and which is under the direction and control of a diving program containing at least the following elements:
Diving safety manual which includes at a minimum: Procedures covering all diving operations specific to the program; procedures for emergency care, including recompression and evacuation; and criteria for diver training and certification.
Diving control (safety) board, with the majority of its members being active divers, which shall at a minimum have the authority to: Approve and monitor diving projects; review and revise the diving safety manual; assure compliance with the manual; certify the depths to which a diver has been trained; take disciplinary action for unsafe practices; and, assure adherence to the buddy system (a diver is accompanied by and is in continuous contact with another diver in the water) for SCUBA diving.
Alternative requirements for recreational diving instructors and diving guides. Employers of recreational diving instructors and diving guides are not required to comply with the decompression-chamber requirements specified by paragraphs (b)(2) and (c)(3)(iii) of § 1910.423 and paragraph (b)(1) of § 1910.426 when they meet all of the following conditions:
The instructor or guide is engaging solely in recreational diving instruction or dive-guiding operations;
The instructor or guide is diving within the no-decompression limits in these operations;
The instructor or guide is using a nitrox breathing-gas mixture consisting of a high percentage of oxygen (more than 22% by volume) mixed with nitrogen;
The instructor or guide is using an open-circuit, semi-closed-circuit, or closed-circuit self-contained underwater breathing apparatus (SCUBA); and

The employer of the instructor or guide is complying with all requirements of appendix C of this subpart.


Application in emergencies. An employer may deviate from the requirements of this standard to the extent necessary to prevent or minimize a situation which is likely to cause death, serious physical harm, or major environmental damage, provided that the employer:

Notifies the Area Director, Occupational Safety and Health Administration within 48 hours of the onset of the emergency situation indicating the nature of the emergency and extent of the deviation from the prescribed regulations; and
Upon request from the Area Director, submits such information in writing.

Employer obligation. The employer shall be responsible for compliance with:

All provisions of this standard of general applicability; and
All requirements pertaining to specific diving modes to the extent diving operations in such modes are conducted.

[42 FR 37668, July 22, 1977, as amended at 47 FR 53365, Nov. 26, 1982; 58 FR 35310, June 30, 1993; 69 FR 7363, Feb. 17, 2004]