Vol 67, No 4 (2016)
Original article
Published online: 2016-12-23

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Diving exposure and health effects in divers working in different areas of professional diving

Ågot Irgens, Kari Troland, Rune Djurhuus, Marit Grønning
Pubmed: 28009387
IMH 2016;67(4):235-242.


Background: The aim of the present study was to compare diving exposure and health effects in different areas of professional diving.

Materials and methods: The Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority’s Diving Register contains data on all professional inshore divers who have held a diving certificate at any time since 1980. Of these divers, the “Norwegian diver 2011” questionnaire was completed by 2848 (48.7%). A total of 1167 male divers reported that they often worked in one area of diving only (rescue diving, diving instruction, fish farming, quay/construction work and offshore/oil related). In the analysis of these divers, rescue divers were used as referents as they reported the lowest number of dives.

Results: Age distribution, the proportion of retired divers and the mean number of dives completed varied between the different areas of professional diving. Compared to rescue divers, divers in fish farming, quay/ /construction work and offshore/oil related work more often experienced physically demanding diving. Divers in fish farming more often had no day off after 3 days of physically demanding work compared to rescue divers. All groups except offshore divers reported making further dives after one physically demanding dive on the same day. All groups reported more frequent decompression sickness than did the referents and divers in quay/construction and offshore/oil related diving reported more frequent episodes of unconsciousness during diving than did the referents. Divers in fish farming, in quay/construction work and oil/ /offshore related diving obtained a higher symptom score than the referents and the two latter groups also reported more frequent adverse health effects due to diving than the referents. Health related physical and mental component summary scores were lower in all other groups than in referents.

Conclusions: Compared to the rescue divers, divers in quay/construction work and offshore/oil related divers reported more adverse health effects and obtained a higher symptom score.

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