Working as a HAZMAT Diver: The Ultimate Dirty Job

Imagine immersing yourself in mucky water, all in the name of a day’s work.  HAZMAT divers, specializing in the safe removal of hazardous materials of all types, have one of the dirtiest jobs in the world; yet, theirs is a job which is not without its rewards.  Let’s take a closer look.

Why a HAZMAT Diving Specialty?

Each day, boats and ships, each carrying any number of chemicals inside engine compartments and as part of cargoes, cross the world’s waterways.  Every day, sewage plants and massive sewage pipes need to be repaired.  These jobs are not for the faint of heart, nor are they for the ill-equipped.  Direct exposure to toxic waste, including raw sewage, is something nearly no one would ever consider as a good way to spend working hours; but for a select few, this job is one they wouldn’t trade for anything.

When toxic spills happen, or when an accident takes place and a body must be retrieved from a polluted environment, HAZMAT divers go to work.  Outfitted in special vulcanized rubber drysuits fitted with attached gloves and boots so no contaminants can enter, plus full helmets and often using surface supplied air, these dirt-diving Cousteaus use giant underwater vacuum cleaners to clean up pollutants, and employ air lifts to hoist leaking barrels of waste to ships which will transport them to safer resting places.  They unclog sewers, dive right into the middle of oil spills, and fix leaking oil rigs – jobs in which a single pinhole in a drysuit can mean an entire stew of bacteria and toxins can come into contact with you.

Working as a HAZMAT Diver

In order to be prepared for the possibility of a dirty diving accident, these divers are required to protect themselves by being vaccinated for all kinds of diseases.  They suit up with the aid of a crew of tenders, who take on the almost equally undesirable task of hosing off and decontamination after dives are complete. 

In order to prepare for a career as a HAZMAT diver, one must take a variety of commercial diving classes which focus not only on the hazardous materials themselves, but in the equipment and techniques used during the process of cleaning up.  While refresher training is always desirable, and takes only a few days to a few weeks, initial training can take several months and normally includes training in underwater welding and other repair techniques, along with training in the operation of a variety of specialized tools and systems used during the course of operations. 

Once training is complete, getting a job is not difficult at all, particularly if you have been cross trained in other aspects of commercial diving, such as salvage or nuclear diving.  The pay is  excellent – as HAZMAT diving is considered to be the most dangerous job in the field of professional diving, workers tend to make between $50 and $75 per hour, and sometimes more depending on the locale and type of work done. 

If you’re ready to take on a dirty job, one that most people would never even consider for any amount of money, then look into training with an accredited school that specializes in commercial diver training.  Some schools even assist with job placement once training has been complete.  In only a few short months, you could be doing one of the most dangerous, dirty jobs in the world.








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