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On 5 November 1976 the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking with respect to commercial diving operations. This document included diving scientists and recreational diving instructors in a standard designed to protect commercial aivers. The final standard for commercial diving operations was published on 22 July 1977 and exempted recreational diving instructors but not scientists. Since 1976 a group of underwater scientists and engineers, now known as the American Academy of Underwater Sciences, worked to demonstrate that a safe and effective set of diving standards was already in place and that federal diving regulation of the scientific community was a step backward. This effort was successful on 26 November 1982 when OSHA determined that '...there are significant differences between commercial diving and scientific diving...', and amended their rules to exempt scientific diving that is '...under the direction and control of a diving program utilizing a diving safety manual and a diving control board meeting certain specified criteria.' The history of this regulation is reviewed and the current status of the regulation is detailed. The items required for exemption of a diving program from federal regulation are presented and how these items are handled by the scientific diving community is explained. Suggestions on how to establish a diving control program are offered. The consensual nature of the scientific diving community's standards is demonstrated by tracing the family tree of the Diving Safety program of the University of Rhode Island back through the University of Michigan and the University of California at Berkeley to Scripps Institute of Oceanography in the early 1950s. Comments by members of the American Academy of Underwater Sciences on the regulation and the regulatory process are included.