We now reach the final element in Unit B – B10. On the face of it, this element, which is about thermal comfort, lighting, welfare and first aid appears to have changed little. But the deletions and replacements are hard to spot.
I am finding that, as I get older, comfort becomes more important. Allegedly even HRH Prince Charles carries his own leather toilet seat cover when he travels. But that might be apocryphal.
On thermal comfort, the divisive heat balance equation has been ditched and instead we have a line on the importance of maintaining heat balance in the body – which was essentially what the heat balance equation said. Nearly all the heat stress indices have been removed too. The only one that remains is the Wet Bulb Globe Temperature (WBGT). That’s because, unless you’re a bit of specialist, with an obsession with rectal temperature probes (yes, I am not joking), WGBT is possibly the most common one you’ll encounter. In any case, it makes a good case study as to how they are used to help you work out heat stress risk. There are lots of industries which are subject to this – one of the most interesting I came across with deep mining (several kilometres below ground) in South Africa, where the air temperature can rocket purely because of the geothermal energy in the surrounding rocks (the origin of course being radioactive decay). The allied issue is that unless the ventilation air is cooled first, it actually heats up as it descends under the weight of all the air above it (adiabatic compression I think it’s called if I remember my thermodynamics). So, count yourself lucky.
Lighting brings in a couple of additions. Firstly (for the National Diploma at least) there is explicit mention of the legal requirements for lighting – which is simply from the Workplace regulations. There is also an entry for emergency/backup lighting. This is something separate from the treatment of the subject in Unit C (on emergency lighting in fire escape routes) – it’s the wider considerations. For example, if you were operating a machine or process and the main lights went out, you just might need emergency lighting to take over to at least allow you to see enough to shut it down safely. It goes without saying that you’d expect that in a hospital operating theatre….
Next week we move on to Unit C and some welcome surprises (like less emphasis on pressure systems). You just know the fun won’t last.