HC Deb 26 November 1975 vol 901 cc227-8W
Mr. Greville Janner

asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether he will take steps to ban diving schools that offer elaborate certificates after only a minimum of training.

Mr. Harold Walker

I am advised by the Manpower Services Commission that there are no proposals to ban diving schools which offer training which is not approved under the Training Services Agency's national system of certification. However, in the field of commercial diving consideration is being given to whether a specific legal requirement for training should be introduced. The question is being considered, inter alia, by an Interdepartmental Working Group of officials chaired by the Health and Safety Executive. Its main task is to produce if practicable a single common set of regulations covering all diving work or, alternatively, to harmonise standards contained in individual sets of regulations, responsibility for which is divided between the Departments of Energy and Trade and the Health and Safety Executive.

The Training Services Agency introduced on 26th August 1975 a national system of certification for trainee divers. Under this scheme the TSA will approve and monitor courses at diving centres that undertake to provide training to national standards and will issue certificates to trainees who successfully complete such courses. A national training standard for basic air diving and under-water working was published on 5th November 1975 and a standard for mixed gas diving is now being prepared. It is believed that the availability of these standards and the certification scheme will lead to a significant improvement in the quality of commercial diving training in the United Kingdom. The TSA is encouraging the adoption of the standard for basic air diving and is now offering grants to help employers who are prepared to sponsor their divers on courses which meet the requirements of the standard.