Updated 26 January 2021
This Information Note supersedes IMCA D 06/20 Rev. 1 which is withdrawn. The document has been prepared by IMCA Diving Division Members and members of the Diving Medical Advisory Committee (DMAC). It is also fully endorsed by the Working Committee of the International Diving Industry Forum (IDIF).
The novel Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. It was first identified during an outbreak in Wuhan, China in December 2019 and has since spread worldwide. In 2020 COVID-19 was declared a pandemic by the World Health organisation (WHO) and multiple cases have been confirmed in the offshore community. There is currently no curative treatment for the disease. Despite the advent of COVID-19 vaccination programmes in a number of countries, it is very important that the suite of protective measures outlined in these guidelines is observed for the foreseeable future.
The best way to protect against infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19.
A person who has had no symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 consecutive days, has had no contact with infected people and has maintained social distancing during that period, is considered likely to be COVID-19 free.
The aims of this Information Note are to:
- Offer guidance to diving contractors on preventing the spread of the virus; and
- Give considered advice on how to respond to suspected cases of COVID-19 among offshore commercial diving teams (surface supplied and saturation).
How COVID-19 spreads
When someone who has COVID-19 coughs or exhales, they release droplets of infected fluid. Most of these droplets fall on nearby surfaces and objects – such as desks, tables or telephones. People can catch COVID-19 by touching contaminated surfaces or objects and then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. If standing close to a person with COVID-19 they can catch it by breathing in droplets coughed out or exhaled by that person. Maintaining a distance of at least 1 metre to other people will reduce the risk of infection.
Most persons infected with COVID-19 experience mild symptoms and recover. The symptoms may include:
- Fever or chills;
- A dry cough;
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing;
- Muscle or body aches;
- New loss of taste or smell;
- Sore throat;
- Congestion or runny nose;
- Nausea or vomiting;
However, some go on to experience more serious illness and may require hospital care. Risk of serious illness rises with age. People with weakened immune systems and people with conditions such as diabetes, heart and lung disease are also more vulnerable to serious illness.
The document also contains information on the following:
- PREVENTIVE MEASURES
- GENERAL PRECAUTIONS AT WORK
- PRE-SAT HEALTH EXAMINATION AND EXCLUSION OF SUSCEPTIBLE INDIVIDUALS
- DIVING SPECIFIC PRECAUTIONS
- SUSPECTED CASES OF COVID-19
- VACCINATION PROGRAMMES AND THE NEED TO CONTINUE FOLLOWING THE PROTECTIVE MEASURES OUTLINED IN THESE GUIDELINES
- RISK ASSESSMENT AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF SAFE WORKING PROCEDURES
- FURTHER ESSENTIAL GUIDELINES RELATING TO COVID-19 FROM DMAC
Information Note Details
Published date: 28 January 2021
Information note ID: 1551
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IMCA makes every effort to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the data contained in the documents it publishes, but IMCA shall not be liable for any guidance and/or recommendation and/or statement herein contained. The information contained in this document does not fulfil or replace any individual’s or Member's legal, regulatory or other duties or obligations in respect of their operations. Individuals and Members remain solely responsible for the safe, lawful and proper conduct of their operations.