Inshore Diving Operations - Clarification of key worker status

Our Ref: HSR/1/3
Head Office Circular: NP/167/20
7th July 2020
To: The Secretary

Dear Colleague,


The Wessex Regional Council submitted the following motion:

The measures introduced at the start of the lockdown were for people to work from home where possible, and it was the non-essential High Street retailers, tourist attractions, pubs, gyms etc that were told to close.

Construction sites were never told to close, and although most did eventually close for a few weeks, most in London anyway have now been reopened the last week or two. As such we do not see why there should be any difference between these and a marine construction project involving diving operations adhering to the extra safety protocols recommended for the current situation. This especially as divers invariably travel to their inshore workplaces using private vehicles rather than public transport like most other construction workers, which is probably the most likely place to catch something. From a pure Health and Safety perspective it is clear there is no difference, between diving operations on a project for Thames Water (essential diving work), adhering to the recommendations of the HSE,IMCA and ADC and for example diving operations stripping out water intakes of a decommissioned power station, adhering to those same safety protocols. Given the above observations, we believe with the HSE/IMCA/ADC extra safety protocols there is no reason for these particular workers, whose workplaces are outside and who do not come into a lot of contact with the general public, not to go back to work.

We therefore request that the NEC to do the following:

Immediately Raise our concerns and frustration with the head of our Parliamentary group Ian Mearns MP to seek and obtain clarification from the Government on the status of Inshore Commercial Diving Operations during the current Covid 19 situation.

Seek an immediate legal opinion on the confusion that seems to stem from the vague definition “essential” works and any possible legal impacts on companies’ insurance, which in turn stops our members from earning.

At its meeting on 1st July 2020 your National Executive Committee agreed as follows:

That we note the resolution from Wessex regional council and instruct the General Secretary to take up in line with the sentiments contained within. An updated report to be placed back in front of this NEC no later than Mid August 2020
Members to be informed by email

Relevant Branches/Regional councils to be advised

I am acting in accordance with these instructions and will keep members appraised of any developments.

Please make the contents of this Circular available to all appropriate members.

Yours Sincerely

Mick Cash
General Secretary