NEBOSH Diploma Syllabus Revision News #20


We are now firmly into the new year.  I always thought making resolutions was just a matter for the United Nations, but no, it means making an idealistic promise which you strongly suspect that you cannot keep and for which you’ll have to make up a series of reasonable excuses to explain to an audience that is not easily fooled.  lThis is rather ike the safety policy in some organisations.

Anyway, late afternoon on Monday 21st December saw the arrival of the final NEBOSH syllabuses for the revised Diplomas (International and National).  So, I figured now would be a good time to give you an overview of the revisions in the final form, rather than continue the ride through unit C.  I suggest you just reach for that last mince pie (you’ll need the energy), whilst I think about outlining the important bits.

The biggest changes are in Unit A.  You may remember the inclusion of a great deal of new stuff in element 1 on practitioner skills in the last revision.  Nearly all of this has been moved from element 1 and is now in element 11 (for National, but IA9 for international).  This element 11 is not examined as part of the Unit A exam paper (Hooray…) and, indeed, it doesn’t even need to be taught as part of Unit A either.  Instead, it will be assessed as part of the Unit D work-based assignment (I bet you thought you’d got away with that?).  The Unit D will be a combined one for both national and international (though they were achingly similar anyway).

Unit A, element 1 has now been reorganised so that, to all intents and purposes, it is looking remarkably like the unadulterated original version prior to this whole exercise (the Feb 2010 Specification for the National Diploma, the August 2011 version for the International Diploma).  But, with the safety practitioner role/responsibilities moved out.  This process is probably very familiar to anyone who has worked in any sizeable organisation – with so many people involved (you just had to ask everyone didn’t you?) progressively, modifications are made to projects at each stage (to take account of everybody’s view) and astoundingly you find yourself almost back to the original idea (though no-one can quite remember what that was).

In both National and International syllabuses, the law sections are now brought forward so they are immediately after element 1.  I suspect this is because someone thinks that law is foundational and should be covered early (I’m surprised it’s not a compulsory module in primary school…).  But, in real terms, legal concepts can work virtually anywhere because they are infused with morality, imperative and, sometimes, technical detail (at the regulation level).

So, for the national syllabus, elements A2 A4 are now the law sections (previously A9-11), but are largely unchanged (there’s probably a moral there about the unchanging nature of morality or something, but it will come to me).  The revisions to section 3 of the HSWA resulting from the Deregulation Act (i.e. exclusion of certain self-employed people from the requirements), as well as implications of the SARHA are now included you’ll be delighted to know (or, equally, enraged).  Most of the other elements are simply moved down the unit accordingly.  A7 (previously A5) has a new section added on reliability calculations (this was originally in Unit C, but has been moved to unit A  – thus showing that it’s position is…er…unreliable or at least uncertain).  The section on failure tracing methods has been clarified as it previously failed (!) to make it clear that proper calculations are included.  But this would have been obvious from the exam questions over the years.  Though of course event trees and fault trees do not have to be quantified to be helpful – they are quite good simply as graphical representations of event pathways.  But if you are allowed a calculator, you obviously need to use it.  The same can be said about a brain….