PROFESSIONAL DIVING COMMUNITY – HEALTH AND FITNESS CONCERNS

Our Ref: HSR/2/11

30th September 2020

 

To: ALL RMT MEMBERS IN THE DIVING COMMUNITY

 

 

Dear Brother/Sister,

 

PROFESSIONAL DIVING COMMUNITY – HEALTH AND FITNESS CONCERNS

 

Following concerns received from RMT diving company representatives which RMT conveyed to all ODIA companies, a reply was received from the Diving Medical Advisory Committee.

 

This reply, together with a proposed response from the RMT diving company representatives (below), was considered by your NEC, which carried the following resolution at its meeting on 24th September 2020:

 

That we note the correspondence on file from the lead officer and the sentiments contained within, furthermore we welcome the efforts from the lead officer, national secretary and the dive reps round their regular communication on this matter and this executive realises we must support them fully on this issue . We therefore as a matter of urgency instruct the General Secretary to do the following:

 

 Circulate the response from our reps to the Diving Medical Advisory Committee (DMAC) as a matter of urgency

 

 General Secretary to write a covering letter to (DMAC) offering to facilitate a meeting between all parties concerned highlighting the support from the ODIA member companies for such a meeting to take place.

 

Relevant members branches and regional councils to be advised via text and email

 

RMT is acting in accordance with these instructions and will keep you informed of developments.

 

The response from the RMT diving company representatives was as follows:

 

Dear Dr. Olav Sande Eftedal

 

The General Secretary of RMT has shared your response dated 18 September 2020. As elected workforce representatives we have considered your letter and it appears to us that you have not interpreted our report as it was intended. In an effort to explain what our concerns are we have set out below a bullet pointed version of the concerns and indicated the parties to whom we suggest the questions should be directed.

Before considering our points we would respectfully make our position clear that at no time has there been any allegations made whatsoever against DMAC or any individuals. We have, as workforce representatives, respectfully cited the concerns and perceptions of the many hundreds of professional divers which we represent, requesting answers to questions posed by our constituents. We believe it is entirely reasonable to pose these questions and to raise those concerns given that the actions of DMAC, IMCA and others and the standards being produced will have an impact on us and the workers we represent. Workforce representation, we would argue, should be a fundamental aspect of improving health and safety standards and we feel this is not occurring in any significant or meaningful way in respect of the health and safety standards for professional divers in the UK sector. Therefore our concerns remain:

 

DMAC

 

•        We received a draft copy of the proposed DMAC 33 for review and we responded in full.

•        Our response was never acknowledged and the points made therein were never considered (it would appear) and DMAC 33 was published.

•        We believe that as the “end user” you have the duty to listen to divers views and that they be taken into consideration prior to a DMAC document being published.

•        Would you please explain why no acknowledgement or response was ever issued to us in respect to our submissions prior to DMAC 33 being published?

•        Would you confirm, that at no point did you receive any request, from any of the ODIA signatory companies, either verbally or in writing, to submit a draft copy of DMAC 33 to the RMT?

 

SIGNATORY COMPANIES

 

•        Can you confirm that there are no potential “conflicts of interest” and that due diligence has been applied in respect of Dr Bryson’s services?

•        Have alternative professional services of other recognised hyperbaric companies been considered that may, both professionally and financially, provide an improved service?

 

HSE

 

•        Can you please conduct a full and transparent investigation into the recent incident at the JFD Training Centre, Fort William  on the 2nd/3rd December 2019 and will that investigation include details of any part played by any relevant Doctor and any recommendations they may have made which influenced events?

 

Dr. PHILLIP BRYSON

 

•        Can you please provide qualifications to confirm your expertise in Hyperbaric medicine.

•        Can you please provide an experience history of your offshore commercial, hyperbaric operations.

•        Can you please provide credible, documentary evidence of increased heart attack risk to commercial divers over the age of 55.

•        Can you confirm the number of appropriately qualified cardiologists within the United Kingdom, to carry out any required tests.

•        Can you confirm there is no actual or apparent conflict of interest between yourself and the committees you sit on.

•        Can you confirm you do not, either directly or indirectly, benefit financially from decisions you might influence, on any of the committees you sit on.

•        Can you provide credible documentary evidence that there is a requirement for extra medical testing (other than for the current pandemic).

•        Can you provide credible documentary evidence to substantiate the need for more regular VO2 testing.

•        Can you provide details of mental health considerations during health assessments.

•        Can you provide documentary evidence of any involvement you may have had in an incident at the JFD Training Centre, Fort William on the 2nd/3rd December 2019 and, if involved, what your instructions to the Dive Supervisor were and the reasons for them.

•        Can you provide documentary evidence of any involvement you may have had  in Technip’s “new” blowdown/times/tables and, if involved, what your recommendations were.

•        Can you confirm the reason for you leaving DDRC.

•        Can you confirm the companies that you are personally involved with.

•        Can you confirm that you are not personally involved in any “shell companies”.

 

As indicated, it would appear from the context of your response that our original communique was not fully understood, we hope the above clarifies. Furthermore, the RMT General Secretary has given us details of the responses he has received from the various ODIA companies which our constituents are employed by. Each of those companies has indicated their desire for a meeting to take place between all parties to address any underlying concerns. We can confirm our willingness to participate in any such meeting, indeed we would welcome the opportunity to openly discuss our concerns and share our opinions with the eminent Doctors that make up the DMAC committee.

 

However, prior to such a meeting taking place we would in the first instance require clarification to all of the points set out above. Additionally, we would recommend that any such meeting did not initially involve Dr Bryson. The reason for this request is; if such a meeting were to be convened it would be our intention to share a file of statements produced by a number of professional divers who claim to have suffered detriment as a consequence of the actions of Dr Bryson. Indeed it is this file, which continues to grow, which was the catalyst for our report. Our constituents do not want their statements shared with Dr Bryson for fear of reprisals.

 

Finally, and for the information of yourself and the committee; we can confirm this letter will be distributed accordingly to our constituents to demonstrate we are acting in accordance with their wishes. As elected workforce representatives were are accountable to our constituents which we are sure you will understand.

 

We respectfully look forward to your response.

 

Yours sincerely,

RMT Elected Company Representatives.

 

Yours sincerely

 

RMT Union