Head office of the Trinidad and Tobago Bureau of Standards, at the Macoya Industrial Estate. (Image courtesy TTBS)

The Trinidad and Tobago Bureau of Standards (TTBS) has given assurances to the diving industry and the public that it remains committed to continued communication with stakeholders in the diving industry to address the critical issues of industrial welfare, safety and health.

In an official statement, the Bureau points to a particular voluntary standard—TTS 539:1997, Code of practice for safety in commercial diving operations—it says can be and is being used at present to guide the industry, but it maintains there is room for improvement.

“TTBS has made several attempts to revise TTS 539 since 2007, however consensus could not be reached among industry stakeholders participating in the standards development process,” the Bureau’s statement explains. 

The TTBS asserts revision of the existing diving standards remains a top priority.

“TTBS encourages stakeholders in the diving industry to participate in our standards development process and provide feedback during the Public Comment period. In the meantime, the existing standard continues to be pertinent to the Diving Industry and can help to manage the risks associated with commercial diving,” the Bureau stated.

According to the TTBS, while it does not have any direct responsibility for regulating Occupational Safety and Health, it supports this vital area “through the development of voluntary standards which can help to establish safe work environments and manage risks to prevent injuries and ill-health.”

“We encourage the diving industry to utilise available voluntary national standards,” the Bureau urges.

The specific standards which currently can and do guide the diving industry include:

•           TTS/ISO 45001:2020, Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems – Requirements with Guidance for Use

•           TTS 620:2008, Occupational Safety and Health Risk Assessment – Requirements

•           TTS 621:2007, Requirements for Contractor Safety Management System

•           TTS 539:1997, Code of practice for safety in commercial diving operations

•           TTS/CSA Z275.5:2010, Occupational Diver Training – Specification

Under the Standards Act (No. 18 of 1997), the Bureau is mandated to develop standards that promote public and industrial welfare, health and safety.

The TTBS develops and issues two types of national standards, Voluntary Standards and Compulsory Standards.

Voluntary Standards provide guidance on best practices that industry stakeholders can use at their own discretion to support their operations. These national standards include specifications, codes of practices, guidelines and test methods. The process of developing voluntary standards involves seeking input from knowledgeable stakeholders and experts, as well as consensus from a wide cross-section of parties involved in the relevant fields to ensure that the standards are aligned with international best practices and also support the local industry.

Compulsory Standards are used by TTBS to regulate goods to ensure quality, environmental protection, public and industrial welfare, safety and health as outlined in the Standards Act. Its mandate however excludes food, drugs, cosmetics and medical devices. Under the Standards Act, compliance with the requirements of Compulsory Standards is mandatory for all goods from relevant manufacturers, importers, retailers and distributors that fall under the scope of the standard, and this is enforced by the TTBS using a combination of inspection, product certification and testing activities, as necessary.