The global diving industry’s frequency of diver fatalities, injuries, incidents, and asset damage occurring while using underwater oxy-arc cutting continues to be “unacceptably high,” according to the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers (IOGP).

The association hopes to change that with a new publication, Oxy-arc underwater cutting recommended practice, assists divers and their supervisors with the managing this activity. It also provides control measures, guidance and processes to ensure the safe execution of this technique.

What it is and when it's used

Oxy-arc cutting or ‘burning’ is the process of cutting materials (generally ferrous metals) with a tool that combines oxygen and heat to oxidize or melt the parent material. The industry uses this method extensively in the underwater diving environment.

Divers engaged in burning need to be competent in the task - achieved through training, knowledge and experience.

The 84-page report includes chapters on:

  • alternative cutting methods
  • roles, responsibilities and operational control
  • equipment selection
  • consumables
  • pre-job considerations
  • on-site considerations
  • proper venting
  • diver’s PPE
  • training and experience requirements
  • oxy-arc cutting risks and mitigation (a commentary)

It also features checklists for oxy-arc operations and training course assessment and a bibliography.

Download Oxy-arc underwater cutting recommended practice at