Inspectioneering Journal

Sands of Time Create The Mechanical Integrity Compliance Officer (MICO)

By Marc McConnell, P.E., Metallurgy and Fixed Equipment Engineering Coordinator at Pro-Surve Technical Services, Jeannie Beth Richey, PSM Specialist at Sasol North America, Inc., and Josh Yoakam, Mechanical Integrity Engineer at Holly Frontier Companies. This article appears in the November/December 2014 issue of Inspectioneering Journal.

Today’s inspector is gaining ever more respect for his/her abilities and knowledge as regulatory agencies lean more on Mechanical Integrity during audits. 

The role of an API inspector is rapidly changing. Necessary skills for success have transformed as technology, standardization, and regulations have become part of the way of life. An API inspector has transformed over the last 40 years, from an employee that simply captured and recorded data for minimally worded handwritten reports, into a Technical Analyst that now manages and maintains complex databases to project what may happen in the future. The inspector is responsible for achieving an overall goal of safety, environmental protection, and efficient production through assured mechanical integrity (MI).

What is driving this role change?

In the past 40 years, inspection has gone from discovery work to forecasting work and equipment reliability. Inspectors have gone from reporting what has happened, to projecting what will happen by the use of technically advanced tools. The common factors that changed have been time and public attitude; leaks, spills, and fires were no longer acceptable in the eyes of the public or regulatory agencies. As a result, the act of inspecting shifted from a reactive approach to a proactive approach. In today’s operating environment, it is not enough to base future inspection plans solely on prior history of equipment condition. Inspection plans should be dynamic and account for changing process conditions, equipment modifications made over years of operation, current conditions and planned future use.

In today’s world, Unit Inspectors must expand their job roles and responsibilities by maintaining supporting documentation of the continuous changes to equipment. This involves the new job duties of the “Mechanical Integrity Compliance Officer” (MICO).

This position spawned from the demand to keep the industry compliant with the OSHA & EPA requirement of using RAGAGEP (Recognized and Generally Accepted Good Engineering Practices). “RAGAGEP is any ‘established’ code, standard or engineering practice based on sound engineering principles. It usually takes the form of an industry consensus standard.”

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Comments and Discussion

Posted by (REMOVED) on January 20, 2015
I think this view of the work is correct when the... Log in or register to read the rest of this comment.

Posted by (REMOVED) on January 26, 2015
Thank you for stating the new duties of unit... Log in or register to read the rest of this comment.

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