NEBOSH Diploma Syllabus Revision News #25

In Unit C/IC, element 6 is notable more for what has moved or been removed rather than additions. I’ve mentioned some of these already in our trek through this pleasure garden that is the diploma (if you think it’s exciting reading it on the screen, print it out in colour and just feel the love that emanates from its stunning design; I’m holding out for a limited edition, hard bound signed copy, which I’m sure will be only a few months away).

The failure modes (stress, fatigue etc) that used to be here have moved and been consolidated with the wizened and deflated pressure systems section in C5.  The same is true of the information and warnings section – moved to C5.  The systems failures and reliability has moved to A7(national) or IA5 (International).  There are now little or no calculations in Unit C.  That said, the reliability questions that were in the Unit C exam (and now in Unit A) are always a boon for those who know what they’re doing – as it is possible to very quickly amass marks in such questions (calculations are usually much quicker than saying stuff in words.  That’s rather like flowers vs poetry I should think in a romantic context).

Out too (and probably not missed by students) are all the specific examples of machinery failures such as Brent Cross, Markham Colliery, Littlebrook D and Ramsgate Walkway.  Most of these are rather elderly (hailing from the 1960s-70s era) so it is not surprising.  However, whilst elderly, they are still quite instructive real examples of how failures occur.  The nature of serious incidents like this is that they are quite rare and can be difficult to predict precisely (except by the usual crowd of hindsight ‘I told you so’ professionals – but what I mean is, difficult to predict by the people in the circumstances).  But when you look it is usually the same issues that crop up – design failures (materials, specification), use (beyond design or even modifications not envisaged by the original designer), lack of maintenance/testing etc.  That’s why it is always terribly important to disseminate such information and review whether it applies to your site/industry/circumstances and learn from it.  However, of course, time moves on and people forget and it can happen all over again.

The one thing that has been added is a definition of machinery.  This was of course implied – why wouldn’t you include it in a section on machinery?  As any dictionary will tell you, a machine is something which “transmits or modifies force or motion”.  So contrary to the popular modern world perception, that will include things that are powered by human effort – like pulleys, levers and gears (yes, your pedal cycle), as well as those powered by energy sources such as electricity and combustion engines.  Of course, things are more complicated than that once the EU get involved and so the definition in the EU Machinery directive (of the related word “machinery”) is bewildering and instantly forgettable.  In this regard, it is rather like the manifesto of any major political party.