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        Home » NDT Written Practice

        NDT Written Practice

        What is the importance of a “Written Practice”?

        This was among the questions that I was asking myself not long after entering the NDT field in 1968.? My employer at that time certainly was not using a Written Practice, even though the ASNT had published their 1st SNT-TC-1a, Recommended Practice for Training, Qualification and Certification of NDT Personnel in 1966.

        Frankly, I do not think that the officers or the managers of that company were even aware of the document – one meant to guide testing departments of large manufactures, independent testing service companies similar to the one where I had become employed, or any user / applicator of nondestructive testing (NDT) in the most important aspect of their performance: personnel training.

        Training in the applications of the main applications of NDT (ET, LPT, MPT,RT and UT) was very much a “hands-on” style, with very little time, if any, spent in the classroom.? Training quality was good, average or poor dependent on whom you had the opportunity to work with in the performance of various testing applications.? Actual understanding of the basic physics of a given method was not included in our training, other than that which could be provided by individual technicians in answer to questions posed by the trainees.

        Even the proper interpretation of the codes which might have been used for performance directions for quality inspections was left to the technicians with whom the trainee was working.? (Some of these seemed to know quite a lot, while others, seemed to be intimidated at times by the simplest of questions.)

        Many humorous, and some not so humorous, but shocking stories can be told about the errors resulting from poor training of NDT personnel in the times dating back through my over forty? years of experience.? But let’s save the “stories”, and get to the point of this article:? The Importance of a Written Practice.

        As published by the ASNT, the SNT-TC-1a document is actually called a Recommended Practice.? This is so because the ASNT provides the practice for use by any company which chooses to perform NDT, whether large or small, whether with many NDT methods or just one.? The Recommended Practice becomes a Written Practice as the precise wording and formatting of the Recommended Practice is adapted to meet the particular NDT applications of the employing company.

        So while the Recommended Practice makes the suggestion of content and format, the employer of a trainee for NDT must use those suggestions to make precise definitions and forms that can be used to give definition and organization to the steps that must be taken, the time-in-grade? that must be achieved, and the measurement tests that must be passed in order to be qualified for certification.

        When looked at carefully, one finds that codes such as AWS, ASME, API, NACE, etc all contain a short but easily understood phase that looks like this:? All personnel performing NDT under this code shall be certified according to the ASNT Recommended Practice for Qualification and Certification of NDT Personnel, SNT-TC-1a.? Further, when you understand that all such codes are directly tied to Codes of Federal Regulations, you must come to this realization: It is the law of the land – a directive, not a choice – that Employers who are having employees perform NDT shall perform their training and qualification according to a written practice based on the ASNT Recommended Practice for Qualification and Certification of NDT Personnel, SNT-TC-1a.

        As far as our training is concerned, the work we do in NDT is far too important to be left to chance.? The life, health and safety of? people who will be working on, in or around the articles and assemblies we test depend on our knowledge, skill and integrity.

        The Written Practice, as published by the ASNT is meant to provide a pattern for training men and women entering the realm of NDT.? It is designed to provide an organized system for the intake and processing of raw materials (trainees) with the goal of having them reach a point of being QUALIFIED and ready for CERTIFICATION in one or more NDT processes used by their employer.

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