The Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Mr. Festus Keyamo has mandated the provision of medical report for divers to ensure safety and reduce cases of underwater accidents in the diving industry.
Keyamo made the submission while responding to questions from Senator Aliyu Sabi representing the Niger North Senatorial District, at a meeting conveyed by the Senate to find answers to the challenges of the Diving industry.
He said that the Diving Governing Board as a regulatory agency is saddled with the responsibility of ensuring that divers and international oil companies comply as the provision of medical certificates before diving operations would curtail underwater accidents.
“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 is negligence on their part. This is to ensure the safety of all the 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.
“The Act itself makes for the minimum requirements to ensure safety at work. It is the act that also gives the minister the power to make regulations to ensure safety at work. After sometime, it was discovered that there was a lacuna when it comes to the diving sector of the oil industry.
“We found out that there has been no law to hold the oil company to account. No regulations to ensure that the equipment given to the particular diver met all the requirements provided by the law. That is the only way you can hold the oil companies accountable when they break those.
“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. There are cases of accidents like that in the oil industry and I am sure that the oil companies can attest to it.
“We had a case of fainting today at work because they were on the high sea and the diver went underwater to check the machines and other equipment that are carried in ships as part of their operation and activities. He has not been seen till today. I feel sorry for the family”, he said.
Keyamo urged the Diving Governing Board to enforce adherence of 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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