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HSE Commercial Diver & Offshore

Commercial Diving & Offshore Occupational Medicals

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According to the Diving at Work Regulations 1997, in order to dive at work in the UK all divers must have a valid certificate of medical fitness to dive, issued by an HSE Approved Medical Examiner of Divers. The certificate of medical fitness to dive is valid up to a maximum of 12 months. 

2015 Changes to MA 1 – HSE Medical Examination and Assessment of Commercial Divers

Changes came in to force on October 1st 2015 to the guidelines for the medical assessment of commercial divers. These may well have an implication for all divers seeking either an initial or annual HSE Diving Medical. The new guidlines can be found here, but briefly to summarise some of the major changes which may affect you:

Obesity: the Body Mass Index (BMI) has been used traditionally to determine allowable measures of obesity. If your BMI is less than 30 you will be provided with dietary and fitness advice to keep it that way and issued with a fit to dive certificate for 12 months.  However your waist measurement will now also be taken and this could have a major impact on us issuing you a “fit to dive” certificate. It is important you read the flow chart on page 10 of the new MA1 BEFORE you book an appointment, as a proportion of divers previously passed fit may no longer be deemed fit to dive. The bottom line is keep your waist measurement below 94cm (men) or 80cm (women) and your BMI below 30.

A NHS BMI calculator can be found here

Fitness: ECGs are no longer required initially or on an annual basis unless clinically indicated. The Chester Step test has been deemed as the best method of determining cardiovascular fitness but the flow chart on page 22 must be read before booking an appointment as again the guidelines have changed. All divers are now expected to achieve a VO2 max of at least 45ml/kg/min. There is no leeway for being old or female (or both!).

Mental health: Please have a look at the guidelines with particular regard to the medications used to treat depression and chronic pain.

Respiratory health: If there is any doubt about your respiratory fitness, the AMED will need to discuss it with an HSE approved respiratory specialist. Your lung function testing will now be done before exercise testing and then 5, 10 and 15 minutes afterwards.

Please contact us if you would like to discuss any potential problems before you book an appointment at info@ddrc.org

To be issued with an HSE medical, you must either have in your possession last year’s medical STILL IN DATE or an MA1 Annex A form (confirming your past medical history), completed and signed by your GP within the last month. This is an HSE requirement. We are required by the HSE to pass or fail a diver at the time of their assessment and make the HSE aware of the outcome within 7 days.

We cannot withhold your completed medical while we wait for you to obtain an MA1 Annex A form from your GP. We will be happy to rebook the medical when the MA1 Annex A form is completed or the HSE medical certificate is available as per our 48 hour cancellation policy. If you attend the centre for your appointment without the above paperwork and without prior cancellation of the appointment, no part of the medical can be completed and the full fee will be charged. Our cancellation policy can be found here.

Reminders and Information: Photograph ID in the form of a driving licence or passport is required. Please be aware you will be required to give a urine sample on the day. 


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