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Offshore diving safety expert almost fainted when he heard about honour

After witnessing a string of underwater deaths, David Hutchinson vowed to try and change things for the future.

He started working as an offshore diver in the mid-1970s, spending up to 28 days at a time locked in a pressurised tanker under the water.

Sometimes he would be venturing 500ft below sea level to work on offshore installations.

Mr Hutchinson said underwater deaths could be as common as once a month back then, with the constant losses spurring him on to move to a job with the Health and Safety Executive.

“I lost so many of my buddies in that job,” he said.

“And my career since then has been about doing my best to to ensure that everyone who goes to work comes back with all their fingers, all their toes, and their life intact.”

In his position, he ensures that all of the safety measures for the highly dangerous underwater procedures are being followed – preventing divers having accidents or getting decompression sickness on their way back to the surface.

He is spending this week aboard the Boskalis vessel Boka Da Vinci, overseeing the teams responsible for making sure its crew of 18 divers make it back to shore.

Mr Hutchison, who lives in Meikle Wartle, is being made an OBE and said he “almost fainted” when he found out.

He said: “The civil service has a very different way of working to industry, but now I am in a better position to influence people to do the right thing and keep them safe.”

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Craigmill, Pitcaple, Inverurie, Aberdeenshire, United Kingdom, AB51 5HP
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