The Chief Inspector of Diving, Nigeria, Mr Julius Ugwala, has advised international oil companies and diving companies to ensure that divers produce their fit-to-work medical certificates before being engaged in any operation in the country.
Ugwala, who gave the advice in a chat with Financial Street on Monday, also charged IOCs and diving companies to comply with the directive of the Minister of State for Labour, Mr Festus Kayamo.
He said the goal is to have safe diving operations that align with global best practices.
Reacting to the instruction of the minister mandating the Diving Governing Board to ensure that all divers provide their medical certification before being engaged by the IOCs, Ugwala also urged the firms to develop in-house mechanisms for verification of certificates.
“The IOCs and diving companies should join diving experts to ensure compliance by divers, by putting in place policies and control measures to prevent divers from presenting forged medical certificates for their diving operations.
“If an employee decides to fit into a job for which he has been medically certified as unfit, it is detrimental to the person’s well-being and constitutes a risk to his employers,” the diving inspector warned.
According to him, diving is a high-risk event in which the individual’s mental and bodily well-being ought to be ascertained prior to operation.
“I commend the Honourable Minister of state (for Labour) and the permanent secretary for their commitment to the well being of divers and the entrenchment of safety standards. Rigorous medical check of diving personnel cannot be ignored.”
Ugwala also called on hyperbaric doctors to strive for the same goal as the oil and gas sector, by ensuring thorough medical screening and developing a channel for the verification of certificates presented to IOCs to avoid a compromise of the system.
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