Does "Subpart Y - Commercial Diving Operations" Apply to You?

Subpart Y provides the requirements for commercial diving operations and according to the scope and application, it applies to diving and related support operations that are conducted in connection with all types of work and employments, including general industry, construction, ship repairing, shipbuilding, shipbreaking and longshoring. This subpart 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.

Do you have commercial diving operations? If yes, then you need to comply with subpart Y. Note: The requirements applicable to construction work are identical to the standards found in general industry, subpart T, for commercial diving operations. 

This subpart provides applicable definitions including:

Scientific diving means diving performed solely as a necessary part of a scientific, research, or educational activity by employees whose sole purpose for diving is to perform scientific research tasks. Scientific diving does not include performing any tasks usually associated with commercial diving such as: Placing or removing heavy objects underwater; inspection of pipelines and similar objects; construction; demolition; cutting or welding; or the use of explosives. 

This subpart provides requirements for all commercial diving operations pertaining to qualifications of dive team including experience and training (i.e., tools, equipment, diving techniques, emergency procedures, first aid and CPR) and assignments (i.e., tasks, hyperbaric conditions) and designated person-in-charge. The safe practices manual standard covers the requirements for a written safe practices manual including having it available, contain copy of the standard, safety procedures, assignments and responsibilities, equipment procedures and checklists and emergency procedures.

The standard on pre-dive procedures includes requirements for emergency aid, first aid supplies, planning and assessment, employee briefings, equipment inspections, warning signals. The standard on procedures during the dive include requirements pertaining to water entry and exit, communications, decompression tables, dive profiles, hand-held electrical tools and equipment, welding and burning, explosives, and termination of the dive. The post-dive procedures provides requirements pertaining to precautions (i.e., instructions, hazard alerts, condition of diver), recompression capability, record of dive, and decompression procedure assessments.

The equipment provides the requirements pertaining to air compressor systems, breathing gas supply hoses, buoyancy control, compressed gas cylinders, decompression chambers, gauges and timekeeping devices, masks and helmets, oxygen safety, and weights and harnesses. The standard on recordkeeping requirements provides requirements for recording the occurrence of any diving-related injury or illness which requires any dive team member to be hospitalized for 24 hours or more, specifying the circumstances of the incident and the extent of any injuries or illnesses, availability of records (i.e., retention periods) and references the standard on access to employee exposure and medical records.  

Does diving operations involve SCUBA diving? Does diving operations involve liveboating? Does diving operations involve using surface-supplied air? Does diving operations involve using mixed-gas? If you answered yes to any of these questions, click on the applicable tab below for more information.

Related best practice information for non-commercial diving operations can be found in our publication, A Guide to Public Safety Diving. In addition, related information can be found in the A-Z topics pages for compressed gasesmedical services and first aidrecording and reportingwelding and cuttingexplosives and compressed air and compressed air equipment.


 


Subpart Y - Commercial Diving Operations

Does diving operations involve SCUBA diving?

Does diving operations involve SCUBA diving?

If yes, then you also need to comply with the standard on SCUBA diving. It provides specific requirements for SCUBA diving such as limits (i.e., depths, confining spaces) and procedures (i.e., standby diver, working in confined spaces, breathing gas supply, reserve cylinders). 

SCUBA diving - A diving mode independent of surface supply in which the diver uses open circuit self-contained underwater breathing apparatus. 

Additional related information can be found in the A-Z topics pages for compressed gasesconfined spaces and compressed air and compressed air equipment.

Does diving operations involve liveboating?

Does diving operations involve liveboating?

If yes, then you also need to comply with the standard on liveboating. It provides specific requirements for liveboating including limits (i.e., other than daylight hours, rough seas) and other specific procedures (i.e., communication, standby diver).

Liveboating - The practice of supporting a surfaced-supplied air or mixed gas diver from a vessel which is underway. 

Additional related information can be found in the A-Z topics pages for compressed gases and compressed air and compressed air equipment.

Does diving operations involve using surface-supplied air?

Does diving operations involve using surface-supplied air?

If yes, then you also need to comply with the standard on surface-supplied air diving. It provides the requirements for limits (i.e., depths, use of bell) and other specific procedures (i.e., gas supply, tending divers, extra gas hose).

Surface-supplied air diving - A diving mode in which the diver in the water is supplied from the dive location with compressed air for breathing. 

Additional related information can be found in the A-Z topics pages for compressed gases and compressed air and compressed air equipment.

Does diving operations involve using mixed-gas?

Does diving operations involve using mixed-gas?

If yes, then you need to comply with mixed-gas diving. It provides the requirements for limits (i.e., use of decompression chamber, bell use) and other specific procedures (i.e., tending divers, standby divers, use of heavy gear, diving depths). 

Additional related information can be found in the A-Z topics pages for compressed gases and compressed air and compressed air equipment.