NEBOSH Diploma Syllabus Revision News #10

Having dealt with more sick than you can shake a stick at (the joy of element B1),element B2 moves on to dealing with hazardous substances in the workplace.  In practice this consolidates much of what used to be in elements B1 with relevant bits from B2 and B4.  You’ll probably notice that the wording and structure often take their cues from the equivalent international diploma because, well, it is sometimes more logically arranged.

The routes of entry and body defences are still there in all their blazing glory.  You’ll notice the previous specific references to the respiratory system defences has been deleted but of course still implied by the catchall “defensive responses”.

We now have a much reduced list of specific hazardous substances.  Carbon monoxide is new, isocyanates are a favourite making a return.  Nitrogen is new but a slightly odd choice as it isn’t intrinsically a harmful substance (it makes up around 80% of the atmosphere anyway)  – more that it becomes an issue at very high concentrations due to it excluding oxygen.  Oil is also included but needs to be clarified – as it is not clear which oil is intending (metal working fluids gets a separate mention).

In this section the hierarchy of control is first introduced.  This seems to me an odd placement considering the next element (B3) also deals with the control hierarchy.

Asbestos also has its own section here (though note the weighty topic of lead has been removed).  But given that nearly all of this section is concerned with controlling it, it would probably be better in element 3 (which deals with control).

The penultimate section here deals with risk assessment.  It of course deals with all the relevant risk factors.  However, it does not really tell you how to do a risk assessment – it would be nice to revisit that to give students a framework to slot the risk factors into.  This was included in the previous international diploma.

The final section is now a much reduced epidemiology and toxicology section.  Much of the technical content has been removed.  Only the bare minimum is retained to help you understand the basis of classification.  This I think will go down very well with students – who nearly always get confused about this area.  It will drive toxicologists incandescent with rage, but since no-one ever meets toxicologists except other toxicologists (at conferences I think) I am content that they will not seek to vent their anger anywhere other than as vitriolic footnotes on the safety data sheet.  That should serve as a lesson to us all about how anger should be vented…