A Message From the Executive Director

By Phil Newsum

I hope you enjoy this edition of Underwater Magazine. As we enter into 2020, it is important for us to look back at 2019. It was a very busy year for the association from a growth and collaboration standpoint. Unfortunately, it was also a year in which we saw the highest number of commercial diving fatalities in the past 10 years. Most of these fatalities could have been easily avoided. It is my hope that all contractors and schools will take note of the lessons learned from 2019, and that 2020 will bring about an incident-free year.

2019 was also a big year for the ADCI Audit Initiative. Companies and schools submitted to the audit, and all gained a better understanding of their operations, equipment and personnel. Gaps were identified in relation to the International Consensus Standards for Commercial Diving and Underwater Operations (6.2). The association has always looked for opportunities to better the Consensus Standards through its application in the audit initiative. One clear example of this was when the association audited a commercial diver training program, discovering that the fittings the school utilized with it plumbing were underrated for the pressure of its air delivery system. As a result, the association developed guidance for manifolds, pressure-reducing regulators and appropriate rated fittings for air delivery systems. The audit initiative is scheduled to conclude March 1, 2020, and it is likely that the association will adopt a policy for contractors to undergo the ADCI audit every five years, and every three years for schools. If regulators are to allow industry to police itself and end-users are to have the assurance needed in the hiring of contractors, there must be scheduled audits. The audit initiative has proven to be one of the most beneficial undertakings the ADCI has embarked on.

The association also entered into a historic partnership with the International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA). For years the two associations worked in opposition of each other, despite both having the same mission of operational and workplace safety. That started to change around 2009, with both associations realizing the need to work together to address industry challenges. While the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed in 2019, the two associations were actually doing most of the things stipulated in the memorandum for over five years. I think it is safe to say that both ADCI and IMCA will continue to develop their working relationship, embarking in other areas that support safety in the underwater industry.

2019 also saw the development of the International Consensus Standards for Commercial Diving and Underwater Operations (6.3). Released this year, the Consensus Standards will now be revised on a “section-by-section” or “need to” basis. One section that has been identified for future revision is the Underwater Lift Bag Operations guidance. Currently, the section only looks at parachute-type lift bags, while the industry utilizes a variety of underwater floatation devices.

While the above is only a sample size of what took place during 2019, you can expect more to be highlighted in the ADCI 2019 Year-in Review video on ADCI TV.

Lastly, I want to congratulate the family of Randy Abadie for his induction into the Commercial Diving Hall of Fame, Class of 2020. I also want to congratulate Jim Elliott and Richard Fryburg for their inductions into the Commercial Diving Hall of Fame, Class of 2020. Congratulations to Bridget Browne (sponsored by Collins Engineers) and Emma Thomas (sponsored by Morgan City Rentals) for their selection for the ADCI Scholarship Award for 2020. I look forward to the Awards Dinner at Underwater Intervention, where we can honor these HOF inductees and scholarship recipients.

See you at Underwater Intervention 2020.