I was employed by a Union co,3rd party inspector,and I ran into alot of problems,major problems,on the job and I was told by my employer that I was suppose to work with the company not against it,because I was discovering problems,and eventually I was laid off early from the job because "I made waves",I am wondering who protects the CWI's of the world?I hear about the out-of-work lawyers looking to get the inspectors,but what about the other way around?
On the surface, it sounds like you were hired for a figurehead position; that the company really just wants someone to sign off work without actually looking at it.
If that is the case, then I woudl say that you are probably better off without that particular job. But I know that doesn't make you feel any better about it.
I don't know who protects the inspector other than the inspector. The best ways to do that:
1) Get the scope of inspection activities defined at the start of the job.
2) Have access to the referenced codes and specifications.
3) Have the attitude that you are trying to prove the work is done correctly, even when you find it is not.
4) When you find a problem, get the foreman (or whoever) to look at it with you see if they see the same thing. "Maybe I'm not looking at this right, what do you make of it?"
5) Never quote the code without a copy of it in your hands.
6)Take digital photos of the problem for a visual record. (BE SURE that you have permission to take photos first.)
7) When you can legally and ethically give someone a break, do so.
8) When you have to report what was wrong, be sure to include what was right. But just the facts, no opinions unless asked.
9) Get everything in writing and give everything in writing.
10) Admit your mistakes without any "Yeah,buts".
11) Don't fight battles. Send them up to the next level, and accept the findings.
12) Keep records of everything you do or say.
13) Recognize that there are some things you have no power over and many times that you don't have the full picture.
14) Don't let one bad experience spoil everything. There are better days ahead.
15) Maintain your integrity.
16) Remember that we never stop learning.
Others may have things to add, and I hope they do so, but you are your own best advocate. It would be nice if there is a group or agency to look out for inspectors but I have not heard of any. We all pretty much stand on our own merits, and your sense of justice indicates that you will build up a fine reputation.
My lunch is now over,
srw; Chet Guilford gives you good advice. One question: who were you reporting to and who laid you off, i.e., who was doing the complaining about you making waves? Whenever I have found a rejectable situation I have always made it my practice to go to whomever is responsible for addressing the situation with the particular criteria not being met. It's hard to argue black and white. As Chet says, if you can legally and ethically work to accept a condition rather than flat out rejecting without first seeking a possible solution then you have done all you can do. If you've already done these things and still got the axe then feel blessed ~ as Chet says also there are better days ahead. This month I have been 23 years operating in some capacity as a CWI and have seen many many things you discuss. Hang in there, it'll get better!
Wow Chet! Well said. I printed that out and pinned on the wall by my desk.
Well said!!! I think that ought to be published somewhere in CWI training literature.
That is some of the best advise I've seen in one place. Good job.
Greetings to you all from "Down Under",
I hate to think how many jobs I have walked away from due to my reluctance to be a "figurehead".
I don't have any problem when working for the "client" but it is another story when working for the "contractor".
They generally have to have a Welding Inspector in order to comply with project specifications or client requirements but they don't really want you to look real hard at anything.
Or they don't want the added cost of a CWI so they start a project thinking they can do the QA/QC themselves and when the "shit hits the fan" they call you in to bail them out. Only problem with that is you spend the whole time chasing your tail to try and get QA/QC back on track.
I just wish that some of these companies would realise that having a pro-active inspector on board can actually be beneficial to the company because as you are all aware rework increases costs immensely and the companies reputation not only with the immediate client but also the industry can take a real battering.
Now all I do (and I sleep a lot easier at night) is document my concerns
(issue an NCR if required) and then e-mail them to my immediate supervisor with upper management copied in and then move on to my next task.
I realised a few years ago that I couldn't change the attitudes/cultures that are prevalent in some companies and stressing out about it was not achieving anything.
Now my role as a Welding Inspector is to ensure code/specification compliance and to be the "eyes and ears" for my employer.
"I document, I inform, I move on"
All the Best,
WOW CHET I DID TOO!
EVERY OTHER I WELDER I TALK TO WANT TO BE A CWI BECAUSE THEY THINK I HAVE IT MADE. I DID! THE GRASS IS ALWAYS GREENER ON THE OTHER SIDE. BUT I KNOW WHAT YOU MEAN, BUT FOLLOW CHETS ADVICE AND YOU WILL WIN. YOU DID NOT WHAT THAT JOB ANYWAY AND IF YOU CANNOT SLEEP AT NIGHT AND LOOK IN THE MIRROR IN THE MORNING AND SAY I DID MY BEST.
It's a long time since I posted on this forum, however, After reading Chet's reply, I felt 'the need'!
That's by far the best piece of advice I've seen given to anyone on ANY subject on any forum!
Brilliant! Nice one Chet!
Thank you to everyone for your kind words. I simply put together things that I experienced and learned form others over the years. That listing has usually kept me out of trouble. But I have to admit that I sometimes forget to follow my own recommendations and end up re-learning the lessons the hard way. Kinda like hitting my thumb with a hammer and remembering why it's good not to do that.
Don't forget that srw2506 was seeking some advice. Maybe others have some experiences to relate to help him out? I'm sure he will appreciate the encouragement.
Ok, I'll throw in my two bits.
The code (which ever one is in effect) should back up inspection, as well as the welders and the contractors. If all three are doing their job, then all three are solidly backed by the code. If any of the three are trying to cheat, then the code should convict the guilty party.
If a code is recognized or specified then it must be the final word. Additional specs above and beyond code requirements have to be taken into account as well.
We deal with inspection on a regular basis. Some are itching, straining, and working dillegently to bust welds and hold up jobs to the tune of thousands to millions of dollars. Personal power trips have no place in weld inspection.
As I've said many times, I welcome harsh inspection, it weeds out many companies that might compete with us. I don't, however, welcome the petty inspectors we often encounter on the job.
First of all you have to know lthe codes. Most CWI's don't and that is what gets them in trouble. Second don't give your opion give the code. Thirdy you don't work for CWI or the union you work for who pays you.
Where has everyone's ethics and morals gone?????
I have experienced a similar problem today. I and my team were told to stop inspecting a large weldment, after only a few minutes of inspection. The item is shipping no matter what. I told my team to go home and I left the plant. I am not sure I will go back.
Thanks to GH for your great message. We all need to be up lifted when we encounter the syndrome I call "Quality When Convenient".
I just can't understand how these people keep their jobs doing business the way they do.
I have a question for anyone who cares to reply - Are there any truely ethical companies and managers left in this world? I am quickly loosing faith that any exist.
If something like this happened to me, I would be tempted to call the customer and alert them to the potentially fraudulent fabrication they are soon to recieve.
jwinmars….I’ve seen similar scenarios over the years. If the inspections in question are required in the Purchase Order Contract, I believe that accurate reporting on your part is mandatory. Our inspection reports have a section that identifies restricted or incomplete inspections as well as nonconformances. A fabrication release notice is also attached to the final report.
What kind of reports will be submitted to your customer or end user? Do you think that the person who halted your inspections will accept the responsibility for this action? And will this be documented?
The best advise I can give, (chet hit at #9) document, document, document. Rather it be with written reports, photographs for field notes. If you are involved in a civil dispute of some kind you have that to back you up. As a lawyer once told me, if it's not in writting it didn't happen!!
Hang in there and good luck.
Do not rock the boat/do not make waves/you are fired!
I have heard all these before many times.
You are the only one who looks in the mirror (professionally speaking) each day.
I have found that when one door closes another opens. I also have learned that my perception of that new door/job is up to me.
I try to learn every day, just so I do not get too lax.
Being in the business 25 years and having degrees does not always make your boss happy. Sometimes it is a concern for their position.
Sometimes, not being tenured in the business is a concern for employers; sometimes a degree is a prerequisite.
Whatever the obstacle, be true to your self, (Did they fire you, or did you quit that job months before your separation? Either way it is a good reason to go get another job).
I left the industry for several years and hated my jobs - including a stint at a poultry plant.
Everyone gets a rock in his or her shoe, just shake it out and go on.
You have support and help in this career field, read these posts and smile.
Very best regards,
I am not aware of any organized support on your behalf. I think this reflects the priorities of business for production and the fact that individual CWI, or any inspection contractor, are not organized. In practical terrms, thosw who can pay the lawyers are deep pocket commercial clients.
However, depending on the commercial relationships, the Inspector can be at risk in the event there is litigation involving the production they were supposedly directed to inspect, and unscrupulous production managers are all to happy to have them shoulder this responsibility by implication. This is where the necessity for documentation by the Inspector comes in. Record all the relevant who-what-why-where-when of the circumstance. Get into the habit of keeping a log and record in a regular and organized fashion. This may become your only protection in the event of litigation.
Well bud, welcome to the club. Now you can see what it's really all about. It doesn't matter if it's union or not though you would think a union would be a little better about it, but they're not.
In times gone by, it made a company look bad to have an inspector quite, not that it made them look any better to get fired, but those days are gone, and I doubt if they're ever coming back, so deal with it.
If you find something you're a trouble maker making waves, and if you don't find something you're not doing anything. Unless you're connected. If you're not, don't expect to be treated with much respect.
I've worked on jobs that with inspectors that didn't do anything but read the paper all night and some that didn't do anything but play computer games, and some that would sign anything you put in front of them, and you know what, they were the last people out the gate with a big smile, a big pay check and of course a pat on the back for doing such a good job. And the first ones hired back. Don't ask me why? That's the way is, period.
Maybe that's why so many drink so much, on the job and off. Maybe that's why there's such a high rate of suicide in this business.
Yea, it's sloppy, and that's the reason you write stuff down.
Like the lawyer said, "If it wasn't written, it never happened."
My advice is "If you don't want to be kicked around for doing your job, you better be ready to walk away, or get fired, or have a strong enough stomach to live with it."