After more than 35 years of waiting, a law (Reference LR 07/2016 – known as the ‘Lentini Law’) formalizing the training of divers operating in the inshore and offshore sector has been approved by the Regional assembly of Sicily. The law is titled :
"Discipline of the educational content for the exercise of activities of commercial diving"
It sets out the levels of training necessary to operate in both inshore and offshore waters Starting from the existing qualification of OTS (Technical Diver Operator) valid for activities in ports, the law then introduces a first level of ‘INSHORE AIR DIVER’, which is followed by the second and third levels of which are ‘OFFSHORE DIVER (air)’ and ‘OFFSHORE DIVER (saturation)’, all these new levels meet the educational standards of the International Diving Schools Association (IDSA), which are an integral part of the law Lentini.
We have stressed several times in previous editions of the magazine, the fact that at the international level there are three types of standard :
- Educational standards established by the International Diving Schools Association (IDSA), which is the only educational association in the international industrial scuba diver, as well as in sports there are different teaching PADI, CMAS, SSI and other
- Operational standards in use by the International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA), applicable in diving work (they also include the UNI 11366 on health and safety in professional diving and hyperbaric activities serving industry – operational procedures)
- Health and Safety Standards, for example, those ofthe United Kingdom. Only the correct application of these standards can ensure more egregious Italian diver qualification at an international level, bringing back the category to the high level it deserves for his history and for skills
For the smooth operation of an offshore projects it is important that the three standards must co-exist and the law just promulgated defines clearly the first: i.e. those concerned with the training of divers serving industry, according to precise rules established by IDSA.
The Lentini law approved by the Sicilian Regional Assembly gives the rules to regulate the training of operators in a sector where there is no national legislation.
The absence of legislation of the State in this regard has, to date, been a major hurdle for theItalian Diving Contractors . A paradox which has long been apparent to the Regional Assemblyan insular region like Sicily, concerned by the presence where there are several plants for the extraction, transport and refining of hydrocarbons, of port facilities and many other underwater activities.
Article 3 of the Lentini Law is the most important, because it tells how training courses should be conducted, training in accordance with the Internationally recognised standards with respect to dive time and activities etc of the International Diving Schools Association (IDSA) Respecting thr obligations and general requirements for health, safety and the environment (HSE, and following the Guidelines of the International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA). Three types of standard (Safety Training and Operational) are mentioned in these few lines, but they are very important, especially as recognized under the Directive 2005/36 / EC the free movement of labour within the European Community.
Lentini Law will initiate the issue of an Italian Divers Qualification Card, which will be managed by Italian institutions and which will be available to divers who register with a regional department of Labour traininof IDSAg is accepted as being in accordance with the standard training courses of IDSA
Everyone who has run professional training according to the standards provided for by the IDSA Education by subscribing to the electronic repertoire of Sicily, may use the CARD according to the level of qualification (Inshore Air Diver, Offshore Air Diver-TOP UP and Offshore Sat Diver-Altofondale) recognizable within the meaning of Directive 2005/36/EC throughout the community.
Following the statements by Mr Lentini: :
"The measure governs the training activities for the achievement of internationally recognised qualifications (without intervening in any way the pursuit of professional activities under State jurisdiction) of inshore diver (diver interventions enabled up to 30 meters deep), offshore air diver (" Top Up ", up to 50 meters) offshore and sat diver (“altofondalista”, up to 200 meters with saturation system support). All training must be conducted in strict compliance with the standards laid down at international level by IDSA (the International Association of schools for commercial divers) and regulations to protect the safety, health and the environment (HSE). At the end of the training the Students will be able to join the appropriate directory and receive a special Region's website electronic card, which will allow diving companies to determine the skills, promoting the encounter between demand and supply of labour. The qualifications obtained will also be usable on the EU labour market (recognition under Directive 2005/36). Moreover, the new legislation does not provide any new burden for the region: the courses may possibly be financed with Community funds (ESF) or otherwise operate under free market, subject to the control of the region on the effectiveness of the diving training. I am extremely pleased with the approval of a measure that opens to young Sicilians new job opportunities in an area of high qualification and dynamic. Without spending public funds we offer the possibility, in a land in the middle of the Mediterranean, concrete job opportunities well remunerated in Sicily and elsewhere in the oil sector, ports and maritime installations in General. The region has finally used well its autonomy to help the Sicilians to enter and compete in practice throughout Europe and the world. "
It would also be important to compare with the standard of English and Italian standards HSE, given that until now the Italian legislation was limited only in disciplining the underwater work in the Harbor area and, more specifically, the "establishment of the category of divers in local service." Referring only to port services, that legislation does not deal with the offshore and inshore levels which provide a superior education in terms of depth.
Below, the comparison between Italian and English levels:
This law will also standardize the levels of competence, as required by the provisions of paragraph 11 of Directive 2005/36 / EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 September 2005 on the recognition of professional qualifications, which stresses that “It is desirable to provide that any host Member State regulating a profession is obliged to take account of qualifications acquired in another Member State and see if they match those which it requires.”