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Divers must provide medical report before going underwater – Keyamo

Festus Keyamo, the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, has insisted that divers must obtain and provide medical reports before they could be allowed to go underwater.

Keyamo, who made the submission while responding to questions from Senator Aliyu Sabi representing the Niger North Senatorial District, during a recent meeting convened by the Senate to find answers to the challenges of the diving industry, said this was to reduce cases of underwater accidents.

According to him, the Diving Governing Board as a regulatory agency is responsible for ensuring that divers and international oil companies comply with the provision of medical certificates before diving operations could take place.

“The medical condition of each diver goes a long way to say if the diver can go underwater or not. If any of them cannot provide that and there is an accident- even if there is no accident- that would be negligence on their part. This is to ensure the safety of Nigerians who the International Oil Companies engage to dive,” he said.

Keyamo noted that the peculiarity of the diving industry was not factored into the Nigerian Labour Act and subsequently neglected during the Federal Executive Council meeting of 2017, which was aimed at developing strategies to promote the safety and wellbeing of persons at work.

While noting that the Act itself makes for the minimum requirements to ensure safety at work, the minister said it was discovered that there has been no law to hold IOCs to account due to lack of regulations to ensure that the equipment given to the diver met all the requirements provided by the law.

“There was no regulation in place to galvanise the activities of the diving sector. We have had many cases of people who got missing offshore after accidents. For instance, we had a case of fainting at work when a diver went underwater to check machines and other equipment that are carried in ships, but the diver has not been seen till today,” he said.

Keyamo urged the Diving Governing Board to enforce adherence to safety measures for the diving industry in order to ensure the safety of divers, equipment and operations while reducing underwater accidents.

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