May 2018 Director's Letter - Safety Is Not a Season

7 May 2018

There are some industries that ebb and flow and are able to change their way of thinking and processes to reflect the environment, convenience, or even the season. In NDT, the season of safety is perpetual and never-ending.

Over the week of the 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.” “Whys” of 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 doesn’t have a lifecycle end. 

Due to the good works of steadfast technicians and quality managers, the public rarely hears of catastrophic failures that result in astronomical costs or, even more tragic, the loss of life. 

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-center ourselves in the moment and take stock in the enormity of how we each contribute to the safety of our fellow man. 

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 each of the thousands of rides in service in the United States are public ready 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 reason 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 give perspective and overviews of NDT’s impact 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 to the efforts that the organization has put forward to bring greater awareness of the industry.

We participated in the USA Science and Technology Festival in Washington, DC, this year. Over 300 000 attendees were on site, many of whom passed the ASNT booth and discovered how NDT keeps their world safe every day, all year long.

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 their world from a whole new point of view, and then brings their feet gently back down to you.

Thank you for your tireless commitment to safety and being excellent in your work each day. As always, I welcome your thoughts.

 

DR. ARNOLD “ARNY” BERESON

ASNT Executive Director

abereson@asnt.org