Why NDT?

Time to Get to Work

Welcome to a new year, and I hope everyone had a good and safe holiday season. There have been some changes within ASNT the past few months, which makes this an inspiring time to be involved with ASNT, and I am excited to be your president. If you made it to the Annual Conference in November, it was our highest attended conference so far with over 2500 total registrants. With a new executive director and new staff roles, there were some changes made to the overall program and while some went very well, others were not cared for as much. I have worked with the ASNT Events department for years and I have seen what they go through to put on our conferences, and I must say that they do an excellent job trying to appease everyone. With that said, ASNT has received a lot of feedback, both good and bad, and we will be making adjustments for the next conference.

Now it is time to get to work. A new year brings on new challenges, and one challenge is that we must always stay true to ourselves and the inspection at hand. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon that inspectors find themselves in a so-called “trap” in that production wants a “good” part back, and they want it now.

If production had their way, parts would likely not even be inspected. I have told people for years that it is production’s job to get the part done, and that it is our job to make sure the part was done right. Because of this, I have seen some inspectors decide to skip the inspection and simply accept a part, weld, or whatever was supposed to be inspected. I have even had arguments with inspectors because they “felt” that the in-service stresses were very low and the part was built very strong. Therefore, what is the point in even inspecting the part?

It is true that parts are often built to withstand a higher stress than the intended service of the part, but that is not our job as inspectors to determine. As an inspector, we are getting paid to inspect a part regardless of the intended service and design strength of the part. I remember an inspector telling me, “Don’t bother inspecting those parts. Those parts are always good.” What I realized in that moment was that, yeah, those parts are always good, because this inspector has probably never inspected one—scary thought.

What it boils down to is that we must always find integrity in what we do. It seems to me that too often people forget the importance of what we do. Just because an inspector has never heard of one of their parts failing in service, does not mean that it has never happened. On the other hand, some inspectors have seen their parts stressed beyond the limit and the part held. I remember seeing a pipe assembly I inspected being lifted incorrectly by one crane instead of two. By the time the crane operator set the pipe down he had a 120 ft tall “U” instead of a straight run. The whole time all I could think of was, “At least my weld held.”

Don’t fall into that trap of not inspecting a part because of a feeling. Be true to yourself and be true to the inspection. I personally feel that the most important thing in this industry is to remember what we do. When we do our jobs right, people live. When we do our jobs wrong, people die. Now, let’s get to work.

2019–2020 ASNT President president@asnt.org