Insights on Improving Inspection Effectiveness

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Tags: Data Collection Inspection Risk Based Inspection


Don Conger, Senior Consultant at AOC, discusses the inherent subjectivity of evaluating inspection effectiveness. Too much subjectivity can lead to inconsistent results in your inspection effectiveness evaluation. This subjectivity can be mitigated through up-front activities including training, documentation, quality control, and planning.

Insights on Improving Inspection Effectiveness

Although evaluating inspections to determine the confidence in or effectiveness of finding potential damage mechanisms plays a relatively significant role in determining Probability of Failure (POF) in many Risk Based Inspection (RBI) software tools, it remains one of the most subjective pieces of collected data required to support an RBI implementation.

This subjectivity is in part due to:

  • Variation in inspection report formats
  • Different levels of training and experience of those performing the inspections and populating the report forms
  • Varying levels of qualification / competence of those researching historical inspection reports to determine inspection confidence levels as part of an RBI assessment

Tips on improving the process involve training and guidance.

Prior to the start of an RBI study, consider the importance of assigning inspection confidence, how inspection confidence can be assigned, and how it impacts your risk assessment and associated inspection plans. Consider how your inspection reporting has evolved over the years as well as what your typical inspection procedures are. Summarize this and share it with your RBI team members who will be evaluating the historical inspections. (In one extreme case, a client informed our RBI team in the Kickoff Meeting they had absolutely no confidence in their historical piping inspections and not to bother giving credit for them.)

Develop inspection strategies that, in part, provide guidance about the information that should be returned as inspections are complete. This helps insure the risk analyst has the information necessary to accurately assign inspection confidence.

Prior to the start of a turnaround, provide training to the TAR inspectors on how to properly report their inspection activities and what forms to use before they perform inspections. The inspectors should be made aware of what level of detail and what inspection techniques will be needed in their inspections and associated reports in order to achieve a Very High, High, Medium or Low inspection effectiveness. More importantly, prior to the inspection activity, what effectiveness level will be required to potentially reduce the POF of the asset(s) in question, based on risk projections, for any predicted damage mechanism.

Provide ongoing quality control of the historical inspection evaluation effort during the RBI study and of the quality and uniformity of inspection reporting during the turnaround in order to ensure consistency.

Inspection reporting has improved significantly over the years. Unlike some older reports, very rarely do you see a recent inspection report that merely says, "Performed internal inspection - OK". RBI outputs will be improved by following these tips.


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