89th General Meeting Speaker Presentation
"The Jurisdictional Liaison: Connecting NBBI Members to Key Resources, Initiatives, and Opportunities"
The following presentation was delivered at the 89th General Meeting Monday General Session, May 10, 2021. It has been edited for content and phrasing.
INTRODUCTION: Greg Goossens serves as the Director of Jurisdictional Affairs to support National Board members and connect them with the vast resources of NBBI, to achieve greater consistency for safety across jurisdictions. He has over 40 years of industry experience, including operations, inspections, repairs, and underwriting boiler and machinery exposures. Goossens earned his National Board Commission in 1982 and currently holds an IS Commission with an R Endorsement. His formal education includes courses in boilers, turbines, combustion and internal engines, and non-destructive testing technology, welding, and metallurgy. Certified as an NDE Level II in several disciplines of NDE, Goossens has facilitated and taught boiler plant seminars and continuing education courses.
Mr. Goossens slide presentation can be accessed HERE.
MR. GOOSSENS: It really is good to be able to have a meeting in person. And for those of us that are not able to be here in person, we truly look forward to being with you all soon. We left several seats open for you, so we are right here ready for you. We do live in some challenging times, and we all understand that. But in coming to the National Board, I am learning that we are living in some very exciting times as well. There are a lot of very interesting and exciting things going on that I'm very happy to be part of. And you will continue to learn more about that as the conference moves forward.
The Board of Trustees had reimagined or recreated the legislative or jurisdictional liaison position last year as a resource to you, the members. I am very humbled and honored to be able to serve in that role and that capacity. Today I'm going to have a brief presentation on the role of the jurisdictional liaison, the key resources, initiatives, and some opportunities. The jurisdictional liaison, really at the crux of it, is truly to help the members, assisting wherever we can directly as a conduit to the vast resources that the National Board provides, many of them that you have helped develop.
We all work as the National Board to continue the mission of improving consistency between the jurisdictions through the uniformity of the codes adopted and enforced. And we will talk a little bit more about that. But I think the big thing is by connecting the members together, and there is a lot of things going on in that realm, including the Members Forum, Synopsis, things that we are going to talk about, and some other things that are going on in the industry. Coming in and realizing how fast things can change and understanding the importance of being able to connect everybody together and understanding what issues you are having, what issues others are having, and being able to put you together to understand how it works in your jurisdiction – what the successes have been to resolve it, what are the difficulties in trying to come up with some more uniformity, and some tools to be able to assist you in that.
One of those is trying to improve the Synopsis and the violations tracking. There was some pause in the violations tracking. The Synopsis we continue to update, but within that document we'd like to have more of an interactive platform for you so that you are able to add more information into it to help yourself, to help others be able to move that information around, and then be able to slice and dice some of that information for specificity when there are certain things you are looking for.
Those are some of the initiatives we will be looking at as well – the best practices to get involved in committees, providing assistance for legislation to the members that are going through issues when they are getting boiler laws attacked, and also legislation when you are trying to just move things forward, and you have favorable opportunities to be able to move things forward.
Under the educational opportunities, I think we are all well aware of what the National Board has always been known for within their educational space. It's second to none. They do a very good job, including no-cost training for the IS Commission. And I know that with the pandemic that has been an issue, and I know that there has been a lot of work that has been done and continues to be moved forward to try and assist in those arenas. There is a variety of safety materials that are online and available to everybody right now, and again those are very useful, whether it's for legislative purposes, trying to educate your commissioners, legislators, or even the public.
Regarding boiler laws, I think we are all painfully aware that really no one size fits all. If you look at the history of the National Board, its founding mission and goals, being driven trying to obtain that consistency across the jurisdictions, you are also painfully aware that within each jurisdiction there are a lot of different interests, and there are a lot of different legislative ideas and influences that make that a very difficult process. But we are going to continue that mission and work with you very strongly to try and find the uniformity of those codes when and where we can.
We have some recommended legislation, NB-131, Recommended Boiler and Pressure Vessel Safety Legislation, and NB-132, Recommended Administrative Boiler and Pressure Vessel Rules and Regulations. We recently were going through some of that and updating it. But again, this is to help you with the legislation and to help move things forward in your jurisdictions. Therefore, any information that we can get from you is obviously very helpful as well.
The National Board has the safety videos. Again, those can be used for legislative purposes, educational purposes, and helping educate the public as well. Just know that the jurisdictional liaison – me – and the entire staff of the National Board is here to serve you, and we will help you where we can within the legislative changes.
Some of the things that will help us to help you is being able to know when they are coming up. And I realize, and I'm finding out more and more, that a lot of times you don't even know until it's well down the road. But if you can help us with those and help us to understand what are the driving factors behind it, and what are the obstacles to resolution, anything that we can do, and let us know what we can do to assist you as well, we look forward to working with you on that.
Last night we were looking at the constellations, for those of you that were out and had that opportunity, and one of the things that the gentleman was talking about was we were looking at some constellations that were quadrillion years away. That's a lot – I learned that that was 15 zeros. We have a wealth of knowledge in this room, and that knowledge and experience, when you contemplate that, it's not quite that much, but it's certainly centuries and centuries of information, knowledge, and experience.
Within the opportunities to serve at the National Board, looking at ASME committees, task groups, National Board committees, one of the things that had transpired prior to me coming here was there was a survey that was put out, and it asked for those that are willing and able to serve. So, within that space, we will be moving forward on that and developing some best practices in accordance with the BOT policies and with your input to be working to place you folks on those different committees and to assist in that.
The National Board website was recently updated and relaunched, and they did an absolute fantastic job on that. And I highly encourage you to go in and continue to play with that, go through there. One of the things that I want to highlight is the Members Forum. The Members Forum has been expanded, and I believe that that is going to continue to be even more of a useful tool for all of you so that you can coordinate, discuss issues that you are having, get responses from others, and as a collaborative effort try to help us to help you to help each other.
Within the surveys and Synopsis areas, I will go more into those in a moment, but I think within that I have been asked quite a few different times if we can do some more surveys. And it's a wide range of issues that are popping up, that when I hear what those questions are, I can guarantee that more than half of you have the same issues. I think within that, we don't want to overburden you, but I think we can use it as a tool so that you can have that available.
Again, if you have a question, you can go in the Members Forum, you can ask that question, you can have dialogue about it. We can do the surveys, find out the information, and you will have access to the results of the surveys. I believe that it's going to be very useful tools to help everybody. So, I ask for your participation, and any input that you have on that or any ideas, I would love to hear them.
I don't know with the revised update of the website if you are all familiar where that is, but that's under the Members Only tab. So that's for the expense reporting forms and some of the practical things as well.
Some of the initiatives – my experience has been if you want to change minds and positions about boiler laws and specificity, it's really about education. That's my belief. And I think that if we can come up with some better ways or some new ways today to try and help educate and bring information to the decision-makers, we need to know who those decision-makers are and then try and sit down and approach them. A lot of times I believe that a lot of changes in boiler laws are being done either in a vacuum or for other reasons that truly are not driven by safety. And I think if we have some methodology and some materials to be able to assist you in that, I think that would be a good thing.
One of the things that I envision is developing some handouts, some “sell sheet” type things of being able to articulate, understand for the legislative folks and understand for commissioners and others in that realm, having different approaches of being able to articulate to them what it means to them and why we need strong, good boiler laws. Within that world there are inputs and information that we will need to help do that, and we will talk about that in a moment.
Public perception – I think we all believe that when we drop our child off at the library or at school, we all believe that they are going to come home safe. And I think within the education space and being able to educate people and being able to provide them some true documentation and information and insights into why that is not a good idea to remove that type of requirements within the law, that would assist you as well. Demonstrating the absence and reduction of occurrences and accidents and trying to prove a negative is a very difficult thing. I think the National Board has done a fabulous job in that arena, and I think that that may lull into some areas of thinking why do we need boiler laws? We haven't had any problems. And I think being able to point to where they don't have boiler laws and where they do have problems is a useful educational tool. Within that, we want to continue to build some of those resources for you to be able to get some more of that information.
Violations tracking is one specifically that we will talk a little bit more about but being able to gather that information so that we can use that to take to these folks and say truly this is what matters, and also the importance of the current boiler laws. Boiler operators have been asked a few different times about what different jurisdictions do with boiler operating laws.
A lot of us came out of the United States Navy or Merchant Marine or those types of educational opportunities, where truly I think everybody that was in that space knows that there is no such thing as an eight-hour day. You get a lot of information and a lot of experience packed in four years. Unfortunately, we don't have that as a feeder, and I believe that that's where a lot of people were able to come – whether they were operators or inspectors – all into this trade that we are all supporting.
Without that, I think we all have to try and figure out how we are going to do on-the-job training, how we are going to be able to move those things forward, to be able to have those resources to have the future inspectors. And within that, there has to be some drive from the bottom. And I think that what I'm seeing in some boiler laws and boiler legislation for operators, it's an easy fix: there's a limited amount of folks out there, they cost a little bit more money, so let's just cut them out of there. I think we have a two-prong issue there, one that helps feed our industry as well as providing for a safer boiler operation.
Within the violations tracking, there has been a lot of work going on behind the scenes that was put on pause a little bit, if I can say that. But that information is I believe still out there. We are going to have an ask for some of you folks to give us some feedback into that area, help us with some of that data. There are some very exciting things going on that you are going to hear about at the end of the day today that is going to help with that violations tracking as well. But I think that there are a lot of tools and a lot of things going on, but I also understand that there is a need right now for some of that information.
Incident reporting, we really can use that information. That's stuff that a lot of you people have that can really help us put it together, try to put it in formats, being able to manipulate that data, and then getting that back to you so that you can utilize it in your efforts. Within that, again the Synopsis I had mentioned for the members, the non-jurisdictional and our members, we are trying to simplify it and also add some additional information to it and make it a useful tool that we can easily manipulate for you.
When it goes out, there is a good response, 50 to 60%. I believe that there is also an understanding or a belief that a lot of times if there are no changes, there is no activity within that. I am going to run and do a little deeper dive into walking through updating the Synopsis just in case you might need a little assistance with the new website format to be able to go in and do that. And I would ask that you do that. And if there is a change or any modifications, you don't have to wait for our annual request to go in and update it.
We are really trying to find out how many jurisdictions do have boiler operator laws, what they are applicable to, and are they being attacked, are they being challenged, and do we need to do something to try and help you with that. Again, CSD-1, some of the same things in those arenas. And then proposed upcoming legislative changes. We need to know what the issues are, what those changes are, what the drivers are behind them.
The specific ones I wanted to show you was the Synopsis and then the surveys, because those are two things that we are asking you to help us out with. If you click on Create an Account, then you can log into your account, and click on the Members Only tab. And you can see within there under the Members Only tab the plethora of resources that are available and information that is quite useful, including some of the meetings and the minutes of the meetings.
And under here we can go to edit the Synopsis, and you can make your changes in that Synopsis, click, and save when you are finished. And those saved changes will immediately be published to the website. If you would like to review your changes, make sure that they are up-to-date and exactly what you had put in there, we can go to the Resources tab again, click on the NB-370, National Board Synopsis, and it will pop up. And this is where you would go if you want to look at other jurisdictions and see what the Synopsis has for them as well.
Regarding the surveys, they are something we don't want to burden you with, but I believe in these times it's something that is a very useful tool. Within the surveys, and then the responses of the surveys, and the summaries of the results are going to be posted there.
I thank you for the opportunity to serve you, the membership, and the National Board. Truly a world class organization. It's something that I have admired for decades. My first job that I started was with a fellow named Al Justin, and I truly got a great appreciation and better understanding of what the National Board was all about. I look forward to getting to know each and every one of you. I look forward to serving you and learning from you as well. I thank you very much and have a wonderful conference.
CHAIRMAN CANTRELL: Do we have any questions at all?
MR. GOOSSENS: Mr. Troutt?
MR. TROUTT: Not necessarily a question, but I just wanted to say thanks. I reached out to Greg I guess it was about two months ago. Our legislators were talking about removing some of the requirements from our boiler law, and I called them up and asked them to get ready because it was going to be a battle. And they were able to help me out with a lot of stuff, and I really appreciate you doing a good job.
MR. GOOSSENS: Thank you for the kind words.
CHAIRMAN CANTRELL: All right. Thank you, Greg, very well done. It's great to see how our membership is being supported by your new position and by you.