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Oxygen Administration for Divers courses

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Diving is a high risk environment and accidents can happen, and are often in remote locations, far from emergency medical aid. Divers with traumatic injuries or serious medical conditions can benefit significantly from additional oxygen.

The HSE Approved Codes of Practice* for diving at work were changed in December 2014, and now make much greater emphasis that all divers involved in commercial work, and in many cases supporting dive-team members, are suitably qualified in first aid, to a minimum standard of "First Aid at Work", and with a much greater emphasis on the use of oxygen as part of the treatment plan for diving casualties. For offshore work, all members of the team are required to be suitably qualified in Oxygen administration as well.

Our course in Oxygen Administration for Divers is based on our standard Oxygen Administration course, but takes into consideration underpinning knowledge that qualified divers will have from their diver training, particularly in areas around cylinder safety, and anatomy, physiology, and the effects of barotrauma and decompression sickness. It also introduces and covers equipment that tends to be specific to oxygen administration equipment found in dive kits, that can both conserve oxygen (giving a longer time the cylinder will provide oxygen), and also give a higher concentration of oxygen to the patient (particularly useful in cases of decompression sickness). This equipment is not routinely found in emergency medical facilities such as ambulances and accident and emergency units, and so tends not to be mentioned or shown on a standard Oxygen Administration course.

The course will give learners the skills and confidence to be able to safely use oxygen, both as an adjunct to resuscitation, and as an additional patient benefit in cases of injury or illness. It is suitable for those involved in diving commercially or for leisure.

The Oxygen Administration for Divers courses are delivered by experienced and current qualified professionals with vast experience in using the equipment and techniques taught during the course, and also with a diving background. Most of our trainers are either emergency ambulance crew or Registered Nurses with a traumacare background. They also have considerable working experience of real work environments in industry and leisure to bring practical knowledge to the course.

Course contents

The RescueSkills Oxygen Administration for Divers course will provide learners with the skill to be able to:

  • Safely handle and store medical gas cylinders - by revision of underpinning knowledge as appropriate
  • Identify key parts of the anatomy and physiology of respiration - by revision of underpinning knowledge as appropriate
  • Identify key diving medical issues - particularly:
    • decompression sickness
    • barotrauma
    • gas mixture problems (oxygen toxicity and hypoxia)
  • Identify conditions suitable for treatment with oxygen therapy, and contraindications/cautions
  • Assemble various types of oxygen administration equipment ready for use
  • Resuscitate patients using adjuncts:
    • Revision of basic airway management
    • Oropharyngeal airways
    • Nasopharyngeal airways
    • Bag-valve-mask (BVM) use
    • Pocket mask use
  • Provide airway management with suction equipment
  • Use and identify limitations of pulse oximetry in oxygen therapy
  • Provide oxygen therapy for trauma and medical patients in accordance with the British Thoracic Society/JRCALC guidelines, with reference to BSAC, PADI, DDRC and DAN where appropriate
  • Start to lead and direct a team during a medical/trauma incident

Session duration

The course lasts a minimum of 5 hours, but may need to be extended if learners require extra hands-on practice to be able to demonstrate skills adequately to the trainer/assessor.

Pre-requisites for attendance

In order to attend and qualify on our Oxygen administration course, the learner must have a current (in-date) First Aid at Work certificate or a recognised equivalent (or higher) qualification, a suitable diving qualification, and also be aged 18 or over. An Automated External Defibrillator qualification would also be beneficial, but is not essential.


Certificates of competence will be issued following successful completion of this course by the learners. Assessment of the learners skills will be by continuous assessment by the trainer/assessor, and a written/multiple choice exam.

Certificates are valid for 1 year, at which time they must be renewed by re-qualification. The shorter re-qualification period reflects the higher skill levels required on this course, and that skills fade for those not regularly using the skills could seriously affect patient outcomes if incorrectly applied. This period is shorter than that specified by the HSE in their ACOP's, and we are in discussion with the HSE, and our insurers around this.


To re-qualify in this qualification, learners must attend the oxygen administration course or medical gases course again.

Scheduled Courses and Booking

No public courses found in the next three months - sorry. Please ask us for details why, as this may be a problem with our databases rather than a real lack of courses.

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We offer courses in Hampshire, West Sussex, Surrey, Berkshire, Dorset, and further afield. We are based in Fareham, Hampshire.

* Health and Safety Executive Summary Guide to First Aid Requirements for Diving

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