This week marks a major milestone for me personally and also for Sidemount Pros. We received notification of our successful completion of the audit of our Safety Management System by OutdoorsMark.
This is the penultimate step in Sidemount Pros being able to operate as an independent operator for dive activities in New Zealand with the last step being registration by WorkSafe New Zealand which is expected in the coming week.
The process is extremely rigorous and included a complete review of our Safety Management Systems both in terms of documentation and also an onsite review by a technical expert. The onsite review looked at all aspect of the delivery of dive operations with an emphasis on safety and industry standards.
I have to confess at a lot of frustration in particular as I worked through the documentation and the inevitable updates following review and feedback from my auditor. The process took a little over two months and is compulsory to be able to operate in NZ so it meant significant delays in being able to run courses. Having said that, it is hard to argue against a process that assures operators on safety and is as rigourous as this is. The initial audit and certification is of course, just the beginning. Ongoing surveillance along with constant attention and improvement to safety systems is a requirement to maintain certification. I know safety is taken seriously in other parts of the world but I am not aware of operators in any other country that have to go through a process as detailed as NZ.
So with our Safety Audit Certification in place we are very close to being able to run our first NZ sidemount courses. As soon as we have our registration from WorkSafe NZ through I'll make some announcements on courses and how you can take part.
For those waiting on me, thanks for your patience. We can hit the water soon :)!!