by Bernard McGrath, Inspection Validation Centre
In last month’s NDT News, Ron Nisbet, in his Letter from America column, listed the conditions prescribed by one company for an NDT job. If you haven’t seen it, then make sure you get hold of a copy because it has to be seen to be believed! It includes requirements like: ‘Walking: moving about on foot to accomplish tasks’ and ‘Ability to withstand loud noise’. Now, apart from wondering how long the interview would be as you provided evidence of how you meet all these requirements, I was also wondering, as comprehensive as the list appears to be, what have they missed out?
Well, they didn’t include ‘the ability to withstand long periods of hanging around whilst waiting to get on the plant’.
Connected to this is ‘the ability to keep occupied by completing crosswords’ and ‘the ability to consume vast amounts of tea’. Then, of course, there is ‘the ability to keep receipts and use a pen or keyboard to complete expenses forms’ and ‘the ability to survive on a diet of canteen and hotel food’. Maybe you could suggest a few more?
One job where the requirement for ‘Talking: expressing or exchanging ideas by means of the spoken word accurately, loudly and quickly’ is obviously not checked before hiring is that of the football commentator. The commentators on Euro 2012 are driving me to distraction. In this society of choices, the one place where you do want a choice, you are denied it. Unless, of course, you mute the TV and select a radio station. The commentators are part of the football industry and their inane comments do shed light on the deficiencies of that industry. The latest one, before writing this article, was: “They don’t half resent losing it, do they, Spain?” Here, ‘it’ refers to the ball. It says a lot about the state of the game if, in an international competitive tournament, a team that obviously wants to win is worth remarking on. And whilst I am having a rant, “Taking one for the team” has become a common phrase in the commentators’ lexicon. What is more, it is viewed as acceptable behaviour. What this phrase actually means is: “You have made me look a complete incompetent so I am going to stop you by foul means”. I don’t think ‘taking one for the team’ would be considered acceptable behaviour in NDT or anywhere else in lawful endeavours!
Reading the Sunday paper at the end of May, I came across the following: “Let these high-tech scales help with your ‘weight management journey’ – by sharing your vital statistics on the internet”. Evidently, these scales utilise your home wi-fi network to upload the morning weigh-in to your personal page on the company’s website. You are then able to share your vital statistics with friends and family so they can give you encouraging comments or, alternatively, LOL! WHY?
Why would you want to tell your friends and family your exact kilograms every time your weigh yourself? Why would you put this personal information onto a companies’ website and trust them not use the data or disclose it to third parties? I know that we are in the information age and that everyone shares everything, even the mundane, with as many people as possible because that is what the technology allows us to do. One of the reasons for this is that we all need and like affirmation. So, with the weighing scales, getting comments from friends may provide us with the motivation to keep on that diet or exercise regime. In NDT, feedback on performance and on a job well done is not easy to come by due to the fact that companies are a lot more reticent than individuals at sharing potentially embarrassing information. And yet, every defect detected is a near miss and collection of such data would provide a useful central resource for the future design, manufacture, regulation and operation of components, as well as providing motivation and a CPD resource for NDT operators. Maybe the weighing scales provide a blueprint for a future flaw detector design: a set that uploads the data to the operator’s webpage on the manufacturer’s website.
Please note that the views expressed in this column are the author’s own personal ramblings for the purpose of encouraging discussion within the NDT Newspaper. They do not represent the views of the IVC, Serco Assurance or the HSE who funded the PANI projects.
Letters can be mailed to The Editor, NDT News, Newton Building, St George’s Avenue, Northampton NN2 6JB. Fax: 01604 89 3861; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email Bernard McGrath direct at Bernard.McGrath@sercoassurance.com