Having just returned from a week in Naples, the prospect of reviewing the syllabus changes in the national diploma is more excitement than I can take sitting down. In element A6, the changes are more subtle. Once again risk management strategies makes an appearance. These are the usual risk avoidance (wouldn’t that be nice, staying in bed all day), reduction (a type of sauce?), transfer (a type of risk sharing), and retention (something Freud often wrote about). What has now been added is a section on when you might use these strategies, which was sadly lacking previously – yes, the useful bit. This links in very much with the risk profile mentioned in the previous element. The decisions a company makes very much depend on its risk appetite – for example, what level of risk it is prepared to live with before it decides on getting in external solutions.
Also introduced are “principles and benefits of risk management on a global perspective”. That could mean virtually anything (a little or a lot), so we’ll be seeking some clarification on that . There is also a new section on the link between outcomes of risk assessment and development of risk controls. This probably means making sure you implement planned controls, as the development of controls was included already in the previous element as one of the final steps of the risk assessment process. Nonetheless, it’s an important point – that the main purpose of a risk assessment is to help you make control decisions. And, it’s all very well planning them, but you actually have to implement them too. That’s when the beautiful theory becomes tainted by harsh reality.
The changes in the second part of this element are largely a restructure of what was there already. In the previous version, control types are broken out (technical, procedural and behavioural) before introducing the hierarchy of control. In this revised version they are integrated – the different types of controls being attached to the relevant point in the hierarchy (elimination to PPE). This is probably a sensible thing and reflects reality. The element ends with the familiar voyage through safe systems of work and permits. This is always delightful. Indeed I was reminded the other day – whilst on a welding course – how important thinking things through is if you are doing something slightly unusual. When welding, you forget how tunnel-visioned you can become, as you are so focused on watching the weld through the helmet, you do not see the sparks dropping around you. It’s easy not to notice the inferno developing around you – hence best to do it in a dedicated, well controlled area if possible (so not the bedroom then).