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Who performs heat stress surveys?

According to OPNAVINST 5100.19D, B0202b(5), for submarines, the MDR conducts heat-stress surveys in engineering spaces. That's a change from the previous version of the instruction.

In the past, the engineer was responsible for designating, training and qualifying engineering department personnel to perform heat stress surveys in engineering spaces. The MDR was responsible for heat-stress surveys in non-engineering spaces. So, why the change?

First, the air-conditioned submarine engine room normally doesn't get warm enough to warrant heat stress surveys. Second, during drills when air conditioning may be secured for short periods, stay times for the conditions present are longer than the total time of the drill. Air conditioning gets restored as soon as the drill is secured and there is no need for continued monitoring.

The question I want to ponder is this: Is it wise for a submarine to have only one trained heat stress monitor on board? On submarines, we design everything with a back up (sometimes even the back up has a back up). Who will back up the MDR in heat stress monitoring if he is unable to do it (e.g. tied up with a serious patient, MDR sick, etc.)? What if there is an engineering casualty that has disabled air conditioning for an extended period of time, while, simultaneously, the MDR is treating a crewmember with appendicitis? DO YOU HAVE A PLAN B??

I believe it is appropriate for submarines to have a small group of individuals designated, trained and certified as heat stress monitors for just such a situation. However, if you plan to do that, there is a required PQS to be completed. According to B0206b, heat-stress monitors assigned to perform WBGT surveys shall be trained and qualified using the Heat Stress Surveyor Watchstation 303 of the Safety Programs Afloat Personnel Qualification Standard (PQS), NAVEDTRA 43460-4B within 12 weeks of assignment.

In the unlikely event of a situation like I described above, you wouldn't want to be caught with your pants down. Being prepared is inexpensive compared to the cost of finding out when it's too late that you're not ready.
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Author:Darnell, Brett
Publication:FLASH
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 1, 2001
Words:350
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