Covid-19 Pandemic and Virtual Loss Prevention Inspections For Equipment Breakdown Could Become A Reality
By Anzar Hasan
No one knows how long the health and economic impacts of the Coronavirus will be with us, but what we do know is that modern tools and strong client partnerships will allow us to continue to do our jobs and do them well.
Effective virtual inspections and surveys are a viable option for property insurance companies to evaluate property and facilities equipment breakdown exposure.
With modern tools and clear communication with facilities management and their maintenance and engineering teams, virtual inspection is a great alternative to in-person jobsite visits.
Take the following steps for a successful virtual equipment breakdown inspection at a large facility.
- Develop a virtual equipment breakdown inspection checklist tailor-made for the type of occupancy. Reference this sample checklist, which was specifically developed for power generating stations: Sample Checklist – Power Generating Stations
- Distribute the checklist to the facilities management. The documentation will need to be completed by the client prior to virtual conference.
- Schedule a virtual inspection. To do so, you will need to use an online meeting tool such as Zoom, GoToMeeting, Skype, FaceTime to review and discuss the information provided.
- Prepare an Equipment Breakdown inspection report that addresses the findings from the virtual conference and review of provided documentation.
What do you enjoy most about working at Boiler & Property Consulting? Recently, we asked some of our inspectors this question; here’s what they shared.
“I take pride in being part of the number one ranked team in the country for jurisdiction online inspections. And I love the way that BPC trusts their employees! Our level of job independence greatly reduces the work stress, improves productivity, and promotes ownership. The administrative staff is very helpful, and all employees work as a team, communicate with each other, and share their expertise when required.
BPC has the tools to create a uniform loss prevention reports format, which increases accuracy and enhances quality. And flexibility through scheduling my own workload and itinerary for business travels allows me to exercise my time management skills.”
– Anzar Hasan, Chief Inspector/Chief Engineer
“My excellent field staff and the office support folks ensure that we can operate in the field as efficiently and effectively as the high workload requires. We operate at a technical level that ensures the customer gets the kind of inspection that not only satisfies the jurisdictional requirements for them to operate, but also provides them with relevant advice and information that helps them maintain reliability and safety.”
– Tom Kiernan, East Coast Regional Supervisor
“Every day is like the TV show How It’s Made and this keeps me happy in my work. I also appreciate the ability to schedule directly with our customers as this makes family time possible.”
– Brian Mallynn, Western Regional Supervisor
“I enjoy making our processes easier – working with the inspectors to identify ways to do
high-quality inspections and then implementing those ideas into our standard work procedures. We are always looking for an easier way to do the best inspection we can do.”
– Del Schirmer, Central Regional Supervisor
“I enjoy the job independence – to simply go out, work hard, and do my job. My supervisors, Tim – who trained me in risk surveying – and Brian are both very supportive and helpful. BPC also has some terrific inspectors that are always happy to answer my jurisdictional questions.”
– DJ Wallace, Jurisdictional Inspector and Risk Surveyor
Interested in being a part of our great team? We are always looking to hire more inspectors. Find out more at https://boilerproperty.com/careers/.
Meet Joey Burgess, BPC’s new Southeast Regional Supervisor.
Joey joins BPC with over 45 years of experience in boiler operation, repair and construction. Prior to coming onboard, Joey had been the Chief Engineer for Liberty Mutual for four years and Chief Inspector for FM Global in the Dallas Operations for over 16 years. He started with the US Navy in 1975, was on active duty until 1988, and ten years later, retired on active reserves as a Boiler Technician Chief Petty Officer.
Joey lives in Pilot Point, TX, where the 1967 film Bonnie and Clyde was shot on location.
Joey says, “I am married to my wonderful wife, Lori. I have 4 daughters: Melinda (a Vet), Erica (English school teacher), Brianna (Nurse) and Ariana (studying to become a vet). (God has a sense of humor to keep me broke). I enjoy competing in long range precision shooting (suppressed and unsuppressed) in 6.5 Creedmoor, 308 Winchester and .338 Lapua Magnum.
“I am excited for the opportunity to be a part of the BPC team!”
Welcome to the team, Joey!
This month, May 2020, marks 30 consecutive months that Boiler & Property Consulting, a Buford, GA jurisdictional boiler inspection firm operating in conjunction with XL Insurance America (XLIA), has been rated #1 by Jurisdiction Online for maintaining the lowest percentage of overdue objects.
Jurisdiction Online’s monthly report ranks users on their percentage of overdue objects. BPC has maintained the lowest percentage of overdues yet again and stayed at the top of the list for the past 30 months.
Here’s what Venus Newton, President of Boiler & Property Consulting, has to say regarding this accomplishment:
“Our team continues to amaze and impress me daily. During this pandemic, our Jurisdictional Team hung on to the #1 position for managing our overdues for the 30th straight month. That’s 2.5 years at #1. Wow! I couldn’t be prouder of how well we are dealing with all the challenges of 2020, while still hitting milestones worth recognition.”
Since its beginning, BPC has quickly grown to be one of the top boiler inspection companies in the United States. The company has inspectors nationwide and services all industries including power generation, basic metals, chemical, steel and pulp & paper.
The company has used Jurisdiction Online for the past five years. Jurisdiction Online supports regulatory code enforcement workflows, risk management workflows and jurisdictional accounting needs associated with regulatory activities. Its products are used by agencies in 31 states, more than 90 local jurisdictions and multiple Fortune 500 and private sector companies, including major insurers involved in the boiler and pressure vessel (BPV) market.
Can ultrasound inspection be used in lieu of infrared scanning to detect faults in electrical equipment? The simple answer is no: An ultrasound inspection is not a substitute for infrared scanning. Rather, it is a complementary technology.
At voltages of 1000 or greater, an ultrasound inspection may be used to detect corona, partial discharge, tracking, arcing, and mechanical vibrations on:
- Load interrupter switches
- Motor control centers
- Terminal transition cabinets
- Overhead transmission lines
There are many benefits to utilizing ultrasound technology:
- Ultrasound instruments are versatile and easy to use. The equipment is relatively inexpensive and plant personnel could perform the inspection in between the interval of infrared scans to see if any emissions are heard.
- The ultrasound inspections can be performed without opening the cabinets or enclosures.
- They are highly effective in detecting certain failures like corona, tracking, and arcing.
- It is an excellent method to detect faults within an enclosure prior to conducting infrared scanning to confirm the severity of the defect detected by the sound intensity.
There are two disadvantages to utilizing ultrasound inspection:
- Ultrasound inspection can only be used at 1000 volts and greater; air becomes a conductor only at higher voltage ranges, where the air surrounding a connection becomes ionized.
- Ultrasound scanning is not suitable for low voltages. For corona and partial discharge to occur, the voltages have to be greater than 1000V. The greater the voltage, the better the results for presence of corona and partial discharge.
- Although ultrasound inspection is quite effective in detecting certain failures like corona, tracking, and arcing, it is unable to detect the condition of a conductor – which infrared scanning can do.
Infrared scanning detects heat that is generated by current flow or amperage-related problems that are often caused by loose connections. So, infrared detects the condition of the conductor.
To perform a proper infrared (thermographic) scan, the electrical equipment should be energized and (preferably) at full operating load. Due to high voltage levels, there are significant safety concerns in opening the locked doors of the switchgear/enclosures to perform the scanning unless the switchgear has infrared windows installed on the covers/doors.
To minimize the safety risk, an ultrasound inspection may be performed on both enclosed and open access electrical equipment. The technology utilizes sound waves that would be blocked by a solid surface. With an ultrasound inspection, the instrument is simply pointed at the equipment to be inspected.
To utilize ultrasound technology during an inspection, take the following steps:
- Position the ultrasound instrument at the access, through a capped hole or the removal of a few bolts, to achieve the best results.
- Then, listen. If tracking or corona is present, one will hear a buzzing noise similar to static on a radio.
- Ionization disturbs the air molecules at high frequency, thus producing the buzzing sound. The ultrasound instrument detects the high frequency noise produced by this effect and translates it into the audible ranges; the intensity is analyzed by utilizing headphones as well as observing the strength of the signal on a meter.
- Technicians performing the ultrasound inspection are trained to differentiate the noise from the normal 60-cycle hum or other constant mechanical noises.
Infrared scanning has been used for years to detect defects in electrical equipment that, if not detected quickly, could result in catastrophic damage. The infrared method may be utilized in all applications and can provide detail to the severity of the problem.
In recent years, ultrasound instruments have been added to inspections. The ultrasound method is advantageous from a safety perspective where the voltages are high – 1000 volts or greater.
Ultrasound inspection should not be considered an alternative to infrared scanning; instead, using both technologies in conjunction generates better results and better predicts fault within the equipment.