Medical requirements for diving at work

These pages provide information about medical fitness to dive for self-employed divers and employers. They also explain the approval and review process for Approved Medical Examiners of Divers (AMEDs).

Certificate of medical fitness to dive – information for self-employed divers and employers

Under the Diving at Work Regulations 1997, all divers at work must have a valid certificate of fitness to dive issued by an Approved Medical Examiner of Divers (AMED).

AMEDs are approved by HSE to conduct statutory medical examinations on divers to ensure they are fit to dive. There are medical conditions that may prevent divers from diving or restrict the type of diving that they do. Before you visit an AMED, you should read our guidance 'Are you medically fit?'.

The responsibility lies with the self-employed diver or employer to find a suitable AMED if required. You can search our list of AMEDs. If you wish to see a doctor who is not on that list, they will need to apply to HSE for approval.

To become approved, the doctor will need to meet the criteria set by HSE. While AMEDS are approved by HSE, they are not employed by HSE. Divers requiring the medical examination, or their employers, are responsible for agreeing payments with the AMED.

If an AMED declares you unfit to dive or fit to dive with restrictions, you can appeal to HSE for a review of that decision.

Under the Diving at Work Regulations 1997:

  • divers must not dive in a diving project if they know of anything, including any illness or medical condition, which makes them unfit to dive
  • under certain circumstances following illness or injury, divers must be re-examined by an AMED to assess their fitness to return to work

Specific guidance in relation to COVID-19 infection is provided below.

COVID-19 status Minimum recovery time before diving can resume Return to work assessment by an AMED required
Tested positive
7 days after the initial positive test No
Mild symptoms
Relatively minor (no shortness of breath or chest pain), self-limiting and resolve within 7 days
7 days after resolution of symptoms.
The diver should be satisfied that they are back to their pre-COVID-19 level of physical fitness before returning to work, even if it takes longer than 7 days after resolution of symptoms
Moderate or severe symptoms
More than mild, including serious symptoms requiring hospitalisation
To be decided by the AMED after assessing the individual circumstances of the case.
The diver should have no symptoms, be back to their pre-COVID-19 level of physical fitness and have no underlying condition that would affect their fitness to dive

Is this page useful?

Updated 2024-06-06