Inspectioneering Journal

IJ 2006 Survey Preliminary Results

By Greg Alvarado, Chief Editor at Inspectioneering. This article appears in the January/February 2006 issue of Inspectioneering Journal.

The deadline for submission will be extended through the end of 2006 and we will update and report on the results at least one additional time through year’s end. Perhaps this survey will become a maintained and on-going database. We encourage readers who did not submit a response to send yours. It is not too late. So, please keep faxing and e-mailing your surveys to 281- 397-9996 or Call, 281-397-7075 or e-mail if you have any questions. Also, let us know if you prefer an on-line survey.

Background and Future of the Survey

This survey did not make metrics the primary focus. More importantly, our focus was on practices that lead to better performance. You still have to draw a dashed line linking these practices to performance based on your knowledge of best practices that can be found here and in published papers and experience. Perhaps some day we will be able to report metrics like risk reduction in measurable units (like sq’/year) and link that to practices. That risk number can include consistent consideration of; damage mechanisms and their severity, equipment condition (current and projected), inspection practices, operating practices, fluid contained and probable release scenarios including injury, business interruption, environmental impact, impact of replace/repair/run strategies and their effects. Certainly consistency would be needed to give credibility to the metrics, at a minimum. 

Why report metrics while their bases are so arguable, even within many of the same corporations? While there may be a few organizations that have done a good job of making the metrics consistent and believable within their own organizations this appears to be more the exception than the rule. If you want to know the truth about perception, poll the plant inspection managers that are reporting the data. For example leak rates. The first question asked is, “How confident are you that the leak cause was rightly attributable?” If there is any question results are highly suspect till validated. 

Many of the metrics are based upon “lagging” parameters. This reporting is still largely in its infancy when wanting to identify trends and attribute credit. Couple this with inconsistencies and we still have a lot of question marks. To quote Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s inimitable detective, Sherlock Holmes, “It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly, one begins to twist facts to suite theories instead of theories to suit facts.” If the fact basis is flawed and inconsistent there is no perceived credibility. The industry is starting to address this issue as evidenced at a recent industry conference in Houston, the “API/PVRC International Conference on Decision Making for Risk Management in Process and Power Plants” (visit the Pressure Vessel Research Council for more information on this activity,, where industry leaders addressed the question of standardization for such endeavors). 

Keep a copy of the September/October 2005 issue of the journal handy as some of the answers have been consolidated from related questions as you read through these results. The order of results is consistent with the referenced Journal. 

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