Before writing this post I sat here wondering just how many other Graduate Members of IOSH found themselves in a similar position to me; that is having passed the IPD Open Exam, passed one 700 word essay but failed another?
I received notification of just that 10 days ago; was I surprised? Well, yes I was and not simply because I thought I was going to pass with flying colours but more so that I failed on the very paper I strongly thought I had passed on, and passed the paper that I felt maybe I hadn’t done quite enough.
I looked at my IPD result with dismay, shock, disappointment and then began to feel angry about it. Why you might ask?
Well this is the question that led to my failed paper.
DESCRIBE in detail, how you would identify and assess any possible ill-health effects of working in the deep freeze chamber.
Initially I set about investigating the effects of working in severe cold work environments on the body and mind, whilst not overlooking other risks associated with manual handling etc. I identified the following:
- The rhinovirus (the cold) thrives in cold weather (research by Yale University)
- Triggering of cardiovascular issues caused by the body working overtime, especially the heart and lungs when trying to keep blood circulating. If ventricular fibriullation occurs, this results in blood not circulating through the body or brain. Exposure of more than 4 minutes results in the brain dying.
- Causes lung spasms – chilled airways respond by swelling and spasming
- Can lead to depression, impaired judgement, confusion
- Can cause sleepiness
I then started to prepare my essay thinking I had got this one in the bag only to sit back and read the question again. What was the question actually asking me to do?
So lets digest it further; firstly IOSH uses the action word DESCRIBE meaning:
Give a detailed written account of the distinctive features of a subject. The account should be fact, without any attempt to explain
The question also uses the adverb ‘HOW‘ as a lead to the question; meaning in what way or manner; by what means
The question also refers specifically to ‘ill-health‘ meaning: If someone suffers from ill health, they are chronically unwell or keep being ill. ⇒ ■ He was forced to retire because of ill health., ⇒ ■ As a child she had suffered regular bouts of ill health., ⇒ ■ days lost because of ill health, ⇒ ■ owing to his ill health
In conclusion, I identified occupational health surveillance to be the correct process for identifying ill-health and so set about re-writing my paper. I explained my reasoning for identifying health surveillance and also explained in detail the occupational health cycle
- risk assessment through to
- identifying if health surveillance was needed
- programmes such as self checking by employees and nominated individuals
- deciding on the types of health surveillance needed
- identifying who would undertake health surveillance
- consulting with employees on why health surveillance would be introduced
- monitoring of employee absenteeism, work hours etc
- maintaining records
Furthermore I engaged feedback from a Chartered Member of IOSH who advised that my answer was excellent and more importantly correct. I engaged the feedback of a Fellow Member of the Institute of Risk Management who advised the paper was good, all done before the paper was submitted.
Yet the examiner fails the paper advising I concentrated on the health surveillance only, made little reference to hours worked, or the results of workplace inspections, nor did I identify symptoms of hypothermia or frostbite, and the risks posed by manual handling.
Clearly in my mindset, this is not what the question asked for, if we refer back to the adverb ‘HOW’, and the definition of ‘ill-health’.
Confused? One thing I am very clear about today is that if a Chartered and Fellow Member of their respective organisations provide such positive responses to a paper, and an examiner provides a negative response; what does this say about our profession?
Consequently I’ve appealed against the exam result; I believe the examiner has incorrectly misunderstood the question; or the question was poorly set in the first instance. It’s now been 10 days and I’ve yet to receive a response. Strange that you are asked to complete your IPD Open assessment within 7 days of starting, it then take up to 2 weeks to get an exam result, and more than 10 days to get an appeal ruling.
All comments welcome….but please keep them respectful.