Inspectioneering Journal

RBI, Inspection Effectiveness and Human Factors

By Greg Alvarado, Chief Editor at Inspectioneering. This article appears in the November/December 2016 issue of Inspectioneering Journal.


One of the biggest challenges we face in running an effective asset management program is making sure competent persons perform inspections. The inspection may be something as simple as a visual inspection or as complex as performing an ultrasonic inspection looking for hydrogen induced cracking (HIC) and stress-oriented hydrogen induced cracking (SOHIC) behind a tray support or down-comer, using automated ultrasonics (AUT), for example.

How important are accurate, credible inspections in refineries and chemical processing facilities? Is human performance that important? Are we getting better? What are the trends? Look at how much technology has improved. Can’t we just rely on computer software to produce an accurate assessment?

Since 1995, Boeing has offered information to the public about a tool they developed called the Maintenance Error Decision Aid (MEDA) for investigating contributing factors to maintenance errors. Boeing has recently expanded the scope of this tool to include not only maintenance errors, but also violations in company policies, processes, and procedures that lead to an unwanted outcome.

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