NEBOSH Diploma Syllabus Revision News #3

In terms of the project, we have now got to the stage where we have very nearly completed a full review of the proposed syllabus changes.  We’ve produced mapping documents for Units A and C which show not only what has changed and moved but where it has come from and, where the new content is likely to be sourced.  We’re working on this for unit B too (where the changes are more complex).

We have restructured our unit A/IA PowerPoint slides and sent these to one of our writers.  Today he’s starting to review and add/amend content to create a draft of what the new materials would look like.

Now, let’s continue on the nature of the changes.  Last week we noted the changes in Unit A, element 1.   Element 2 is about management systems.  As far as element 2 goes, there looks, on the face of it, quite a few new bits.  For example, in A2.1 there is new content on the plan, do, check, act (PDCA) cycle and specific reference to legal requirements to manage health and safety under the management regulations.  However, the PDCA content is simply an updated version of content from the old element 1.  The legal requirements are borrowed from former element A9 (which covers the whole of the management regulations).  The syllabus here makes it much more explicit about what bits from the management regulations demonstrate the legal requirements for a management system.

Much of part A2.2 is a combination of content from the national and international diploma element 1 (essentially, the best bits from both).  You will often find, as we go through, that the international diploma layout is preferred, because, well, it is more logically arranged.  So, in effect, little really has changed.

A3 is about loss causation (incidents) and incident investigation.  Most of that content is from the old A2, the failure tracing methods (FTA/ETA) being brought in from the old A4.  These latter inclusions are techniques which could be used in accident investigation.  The bowtie model is also included (which is something more likely to be used in the oil and gas industry, but does at least connect the FTA/ETA.  It is debateable whether such techniques would ever be encountered or even used by most safety people and certainly not in most incident investigations.  Something basic like 5-Why analysis is likely to be used to start with.  Still, nice to know stuff like that, just in case you get invited to a quiz night.  The truly new bit here is the inclusion of behavioural root cause analysis.  That marks a change of emphasis to look at the behavioural aspects of accidents – that is, why people get “tempted” into unsafe behaviour.  The idea is then to design out the temptation by making it easy to take the safe path (knowing full well, how humans behave).

Much of the remaining parts of the element are unchanged but the final part (A3.4) on investigations is re-cast.  We have new sections on reasons for carrying out investigations and benefits too.  But, this is really a breaking out of what was previously covered under “purpose” into reasons and benefits.  The investigation procedure is outlined explicitly (reference to HSG245) but, in its current form, is a bit faulty.  The first four items listed (emergency response, initial report, report the event, decide whether further investigation is required) are arguably not part of the investigation proper but simply initial actions to take on discovering an incident.  The investigation proper is next – gather the information etc (which is directly from the 4-step HSG245 model).  So, I’d expect that to be revised in the next version.  Until the next update, live long and prosper.