Commercial divers operate below the water’s surface, employing scuba gear and other underwater breathing apparatus to perform a wide range of tasks. Their responsibilities include inspecting, repairing, removing, or installing equipment and structures underwater, utilizing a variety of power and hand tools such as drills, sledgehammers, torches, and welding equipment. Some of the commercial diving operations recognized by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) encompass offshore oil rig and pipeline maintenance, salvage operations, bridge and pier construction and maintenance, power plant intake and discharge projects, ship and barge inspection and repair, dam construction and assessment, scientific research, emergency response, seafood harvesting, and underwater agriculture.
Professional commercial divers face a diverse range of hazards while working underwater, with the specific risks influenced by factors such as dive type, duration, frequency, water conditions, and the nature of the operation. Potential injuries associated with commercial diving encompass drowning, hypothermia, welding burns, arterial gas embolism, propeller cuts, collisions with dive boats, nitrogen narcosis, dysbaric osteonecrosis, electrocution, decompression sickness, immersion-induced pulmonary edema, oxygen toxicity, barotrauma resulting from rapid pressure changes, crush injuries, and injuries stemming from marine life encounters, including sharks and jellyfish.