Supporting information about occupational diving

This page has supporting information about being an occupational diver, medical fitness for diving and the process of getting a Certificate of Competence.

What you need to know about occupational diving

WorkSafe administers the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015(HSWA)(external link) and the Health and Safety in Employment Regulations 1995(external link) (the Regulations). The Regulations determine the requirements for certifying occupational divers.

Occupational diving is defined as diving that is carried out at work for gain or reward. It involves the diver breathing gases (usually air) at greater than atmospheric pressure under water.

The Regulations require that occupational divers be ‘medically fit’ to dive at the time of diving (Regulation 49) and be the holder of a Certificate of Competence in the category of diving in which they are diving (Regulation 48). The Certificate of Competence is issued by us.

Medical fitness to dive

A medical clearance to dive is important for all divers, but more so when a diver is engaged in a physical activity underwater. We have a close working relationship with the experts in diving health providing independent advice to back up medical examinations carried out by a Designated Diving Doctor (DDD). A DDD is a doctor who has completed specialist training in hyperbaric medicine.

To support diver health and safety, a ‘Diving Medical Clearance’ is required for ALL categories of occupational diving. This is issued by the Diving Hyperbaric Medical Service (DHMS) in Auckland.

After a diver has been medically examined by a DDD:

  1. He or she should send the completed medical examination papers within 28 days to the DHMS with the appropriate fee.
  2. The diver will receive notice from the DHMS and, if medically fit to dive, a medical clearance will be issued.
  3. This medical clearance should be submitted within 6 months to our Certification, Approvals and Registration (CAR) Team, along with an application for a Certificate of Competence,

Please note that the medical examination with the DDD must have been completed within the 12 months prior to the CoC application being received by us.

Explanation of the New Zealand process for certification of medical fitness for occupational diving (PDF 134 KB)

List of Designated Diving Doctors

Medical Forms can be found here

Certificate of Competence

A Certificate of Competence application will be processed when the applicant submits the completed application form along with the appropriate fee, for the required diving medical clearance and has completed the relevant training and experience for the category of diving in which he or she intends to work (see below)

Currently Certificates of Competence for occupational divers are listed in the following categories:

  • construction (Parts 1, 2, 3 & 4)
  • scientific
  • instruction/tutor
  • tourism
  • aquaculture
  • film and photographic.

As evidence of knowledge about how to dive the applicant will need to provide copies of their relevant “Dive Qualifications” (eg: for Construction Divers their ADAS or equivalent; for Instructor/Tutor their Instructor or Dive Leader certification; for others their relevant Industry or diving qualifications).

As evidence of experience the applicant will need to provide their ‘Dive Log Book’ (or copy) or digital dive log record, showing the number and a relevant sample of the types of dives completed. As “recent experience” is required suitable dives & documented experience for each type of CoC being applied for must be included and must have been within the last 2 years.

As evidence of “recent training” is required the applicant will need to provide a relevant qualification undertaken within the last 2 years (eg: first aid, O2 admin, a dive course, etc).

Once issued the certificate remains valid for five years provided the holder maintains an ‘in date’ medical clearance to dive. After completing a full medical check carried out by a DDD, there is provision to use a self-check medical questionnaire. There is a need to complete a full medical every five years or as required by the DHMS (for further information go to link)).

Additions to an existing Certificate of Competence

Applicants can apply for an addition to an existing Certificate of Competence. In this case, all that need be submitted with the application form and fee is a current DHMS Medical Clearance and relevent training and experience for the new category. A new photo is optional.

Additions do not change the expiry date of the CoC and can only be made in the first 4 years of the CoC. Additions to a CoC in the last year will be considered a request for a renewal and a full application and documentation for all categories will be required.


Gain or reward

This includes payment but could also include other services such as where a diver is given a “free trip” in return for providing the work.

Place of work

A place of work is defined as a place where people work for gain or reward. This could be a beach, boat or pool.

Recreational diving

This is diving carried out by individuals or groups for their own pleasure and without receiving gain or reward, which would not involve any commercial activity at a place of work.

The Diving Industry Advisory Group

The Diving Industry Advisory Group (DIAG) represents each of the occupational diving sectors in New Zealand and is the conduit between New Zealand’s occupational diving sector, hyperbaric experts and WorkSafe New Zealand (which is providing secretariat services).

DIAG’s primary purpose is to identify and reduce incidences of preventable injury through improved communications between the occupational diving sector and the regulator. DIAG and WorkSafe will drive adherence to good practice by industry.

Diving Industry Advisory Group formed (PDF 52 KB)