A National Board commissioned inspector is expected to use at least a few basic inspection tools whenever on the job. In addition to such obvious choices as weld gages, mirrors of various sizes, and a flashlight, an inspector should always use a diary.
A diary? Not a diary to record the events of his or her personal life, but rather one in which to record the “events” that occur in the course of performing his or her inspection duties (i.e., information pertaining to the boilers and pressure vessels he or she inspects).
When assigned an inspection task, each inspector must satisfy requirements as established by the ASME BPV Code, National Board Inspection Code, and the National Board’s NB-263, RCI-1, Rules for Commissioned Inspectors.
Each Commissioned Inspector involved with new construction or R stamp activities must maintain a bound diary of activities.
In NB-263, RCI-1, most of the inspector’s duties listed start with the words “verify” or “monitor,” with regard to inspecting pressure equipment. The inspector’s bound diary is the place to record these verification and monitoring activities.
NB-263, RCI-1 also helps inspectors to know what to include in the inspector diary entry. Essentially the inspector diary should (1) provide for continuity at each site and (2) contain details of each inspection performed.
Continuity is an important element because rarely will a manufacturer or repair organization work with just one inspector. Almost always, a relief inspector is on hand to cover vacation time, sick leave, scheduling programs, etc. When two or more inspectors who represent the same Authorized Inspection Agency are involved in a single job, continuity becomes extremely important. Not only do inspectors want to avoid duplication of effort, they also must not overlook any inspection points, assuming that another inspector has monitored them. Inspector diary entries provide a history of events, both positive and negative.
As to the question of how much detail to include, it is best answered by asking the inspector, “How good is your memory?” Everyone’s memory fades with time. The inspector diary is a tool to “freeze” a particular moment in time. Inspectors are urged to review inspector diary entries made one or two years prior. If past entries are vague enough that inspectors cannot clearly explain their activities, they should consider making more detailed entries in the future.
Moreover, the inspector diary provides a means for a National Board team leader and/or other supervisor to verify that the inspector has fulfilled his or her inspection assignments, especially important in case of any incident involving a pressure-retaining item. The inspector diary is a communication system of checks and balances designed to achieve, above all, personnel and public safety.
Maintaining the inspector diary is more than just a good idea – it is a requirement of each inspector, whether he or she is performing new-construction inspection or an inspection of a repair or alteration.