Who needs a HSE Diving Medical?
Any professional diver working for reward in UK waters, inland,
inshore and offshore requires a valid HSE Diving Medical (MA2
This includes commercial divers, recreational instructors, divemasters and rescue divers (working for a commercial training agency), scientific divers, media divers, police and military divers.
There are three types of medical
- Initial medical
- Annual medical
- Return to work after an illness or injury medical
Initial HSE Diving Medical
This is a thorough medical examination that not only covers
fitness to dive but also documents a baseline of medical results (e.g.
hearing level, fitness level, BP) for review at subsequent
This examination can only be performed by an Approved Medical Examiner of Divers (list available here) and is conducted as specified in The medical examination and assessment of divers (MA1) document (updated 1st October 2015.) This should be read by applicants to understand the standards that they must reach in order to pass this assessment. Common reasons for failure are obesity and lack of fitness. Anyone with a history of medical problems will be able to identify if they are likely to need further investigations or referrals to specialists.
As the examining doctor has no prior knowledge of the applicant the diver must download a medical history questionnaire from the HSE diving website, complete it and get their GP to countersign that it is accurate. If the diver has positive answers to any of the questions they should give details on the questionnaire or ask their GP to supply details. This form is not the same as the RSTC medical statement form used by recreational divers. The GP is likely to charge a fee for this as it is not an NHS service.
The certificate (MA2) will normally be valid for a maximum period of 1 year.
Annual (renewal) HSE Diving Medical
If the diver wishes to continue working professionally in UK
waters then each year the medical certificate will need renewing. The
medical examination can be up to 1 month prior to the expiration
date on the existing MA2 certificate and the new certificate will run
for 1 year from the expiration date of the previous certificate i.e.
time is not lost if the certificate is renewed up to 1 month before
The previous medical certificates and log books should be brought to the appointment along with full details of any illness or injury suffered since the previous medical assessment.
Return to work HSE Diving Medical
Any diver that has suffered a diving accident will need to be reviewed by an AMED before returning to work. Any diver who has had an injury or an illness resulting in more than 14 days off work will also need a review by an AMED before returning to diving.
If the diver disagrees with the AMED's decision then an appeal can be made to the HSE within 28 days of the original decision. Full details are available at click here