This solution is largely based on questionnaire surveys, where response may generate further follow-up. In addition comes a system to collect registered exposure data from diving operations.
The overall result will be more knowledge about the health consequences of working underwater, say John Arne Ask and Olav Hauso at the PSA.
That in turn can form the basis for research and development work to identify trends and improve safety procedures for divers, these two diving specialists add.
Since divers move a good deal across continental shelf boundaries, an international approach must be taken to health monitoring for such workers.
The new system has been established by the OLF in cooperation with the International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA) after a process lasting a number of years.
This work has also involved the PSA and such other players as unions and academics in both Norway and the UK.
The PSA conducted diver-related audits at an operator and a diving contractor in 2009 as part of its follow-up of groups particularly exposed to risk.
One conclusion from these checks was that effective longterm monitoring of diver health could be difficult as long as such work involves short-term employment conditions.
This relates to the willingness of people to provide accurate answers to survey questions and problems of keeping track of them over time.
Employment terms for divers vary considerably from company to company, but cases of imitedduration and relatively uncommitted contracts can still be seen.
The regulations do not require divers to be permanently employed, but results from the PSA audits suggest that the quality of the long-term health monitoring system depends on good frame conditions for this business.
It could accordingly be necessary to take a more integrated view of the way good diver monitoring, both short- and long-term, can be achieved in practice.