Diving methods and equipment must be determined as part of the risk assessment process and the safest method of diving must be selected for the dive and the work task.
- The safety reasons for the choice of method should be clearly stated in the risk assessment.
- Diving method selection must be based on safety first and not primarily on cost alone.
Surface Supplied Diving
Diving using Surface Supplied Breathing Apparatus (SSBA) is usually the preferred method of carrying out diving operations under the diving regulations. This is because with Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus (SCUBA), the breathing gas consumption for the diving operation must be appropriately assessed and the gas consumption rate can vary greatly depending on the diver's physique, the nature of the underwater work and the environment. For diving at greater depths, it becomes difficult to reliably assess the consumption rate under varying conditions. Surface supplied diving does not require the same extend of breathing gas consumption assessment as there is a continuous supply of breathing gas to the diver.
As SCUBA diving is generally regarded as involving higher risks than surface supplied diving, it should only take place in open water, under benign conditions and in general only be used for dives of less than 30 metres depth. SCUBA diving should not be used as a method of diving if the diver could be adversely affected by hazardous underwater or surface work activities or conditions which could be alleviated if the diver were using surface supply.