The Federal Government has set up the Diving Governing Board to kick start the implementation of the provisions of 2018 Diving at Work Regulations.
It also appointed Mr Julius Ugwala as Chief Inspector of Diving for the country to spearhead the implementation.
This development comes nearly two years after the Federal Executive Council approved the Diving at Work Regulation.
Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, SAN, who inaugurated the Board on Friday in Abuja said the Board would drive the enforcement of the regulations that will restore sanity to the sector and drive a sustainable growth agenda.
The Minister said the inauguration marked the beginning of an era in which the flagrant disregard for the safety and health status of divers would no more be condoned.
Keyamo said the Board amongst its other functions would furnish the sector with a code of practice that meets global best practice.
Lamenting the poor supervision of dive operations and insufficient penalties for defaulting organisations, the Minister said the industry had been stunted by poor standards and the resultant hazards that accompanied such an anomaly.
He however expressed confidence in the ability of the Board to better the sector through the strict enforcement of the regulations and monitoring of the industry’s operations.
“Today’s inauguration of the Diving Governing Board, will give impetus to the emergence of the much needed specific and detailed guidance for safe use, installation, maintenance and examination of diving programs and operations within our territorial waters, dams and other water bodies.
“The Diving Governing Board shall guide the implementation of intervention and inspection programmes to reduce injuries, illnesses and fatalities, and to eliminate occupational hazards associated with the use of diving equipment.
“Pursuant to Regulation 45 of the Diving at Work Regulations, the Diving Governing Board shall have responsibility to make decisions on issues affecting the diving industry and draft approved code of practice to guide on training and operational issues relating to diving.
“Furthermore, the Board shall advise and make recommendations to the Minister responsible for matters of labour and employment regarding any matter to which the Regulations relate, and shall conduct its work in accordance with the instructions and rules of conduct made by the Minister.”
Keyamo stressed that the constitution of the Board followed the provisions of the regulations and charged its members to adhere to the guidelines in carrying out their work as the government anticipates that their activities will foster sustainable growth in the industry.
He added that the enforcement of the Regulations by the Board would no doubt create more employment for Nigerian youths and uphold global best practises in the training and operations of the sector.
The Minister however commended the National Association of Professional Divers and other critical stakeholders for their enthusiasm and support during the process of developing and finalising the Diving at Work Regulation.
Earlier in a welcome address, the Permanent Secretary Dr Yerima Tarfa said the enforcement role of the governing Board is paramount and called for strict compliance with the safety and health guidelines for increase in productivity and for national development.
In his inaugural speech, the Chief Inspector of Diving, Mr Julius Ugwala congratulated the Diving Industry on the landmark development and thanked the Federal Government for its commitment to making the industry “efficient and globally competitive.”