NDT and safety

The relationship between safety and non-destructive testing (NDT) has been a recurring subject in many of my articles. This relationship has always been the basis and foundation for various NDT methods and the continuous improvement in techniques.

Dr Arnold Bereson, ASNT Executive Director, has penned an article titled: ‘Safety never sleeps’, from which I have excerpted the main points:

“In NDT, the season of safety is perpetual and never-ending. During the week of the 27th ASNT Research Symposium in March, speakers discussed NDT as a constant that has no end point. We heard presentations on innovation and continuing to push ourselves further and ask ‘why?’. The reasons for doing what we do in NDT can be tangible and finite, such as costs, scheduled time frames, client specifications and proven best practices.

These, among many others, are trusted reasons for why, when and how NDT is performed. I, however, believe that the single most important and resounding ‘why?’ ingrained in all of us working in and supporting this industry is to protect the lives of the people around us and ensure the world is a safer place – a quest that does not have a lifecycle end.

We have very visible reminders of the fragility of human constructs in our ever-changing world to keep pace with innovations in infrastructure, mobility and connectivity. The bridge collapse in Florida, the train derailment in Washington and the East River helicopter crash show that the unexpected and unintended can happen in the blink of an eye. While NDT was not in any way part of these incidents, we see them as flares, causing us to re-centre ourselves in the moment and take stock of the enormity of how we each contribute to our collective safety.

This is the time of year for hundreds of regional amusement parks and fairs to draw millions of visitors, excitedly climbing to terrifying heights, whipping around hairpin turns at high velocities and spinning in decorated cars while swinging in the air. NDT is a key partner in making certain that each of the thousands of rides in service in the USA are ready for the public and safe.

As you and your friends or children are screaming over the stomach-dropping thrills of the rides, remember that your industry, NDT, is a major contributor to the fact that everyone walks away safely and happily dizzy. Last year, the country saw the bystander video and heard the news stories of the ride failure at the Ohio State Fair. NDT was brought to the forefront of that conversation because of questions regarding the inspection specifications.

ASNT will never weigh in or speculate on the specifics of any accident. We do, however, have a deep repository of subject matter experts who are able to provide perspective and overviews of the impact of NDT on industry and best practices. ASNT fielded news inquiries from across the country from people looking for an understanding of NDT. Being positioned as a resource for people who want to understand and learn more about NDT speaks of the efforts that the organisation has put into bringing greater awareness of the industry.

There is no seasonality to safety or NDT. While work may pick up pace slightly due to the accessibility of warming worksites, NDT is always on the job. Not hearing about NDT in the news is as much a testament to the success of your work as each plane that traverses the ocean and lands safely or the Ferris wheel that allows your children to see the world from a whole new point of view, and then brings their feet gently back down to you.”

Arnie finished by thanking the NDT community for their tireless commitment to safety and excellence in their work each day.

I know that these sentiments are shared by the members of BINDT, who bring the same commitments to their approach to NDT. I hope that you will enjoy a safe and sane summer wherever you may go.

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