The top priority of a senior welding inspector (SWI) is to aide and enable our team of inspectors to ensure our pipelines are built with the utmost integrity, focusing specifically on complying with the applicable codes and federal regulations. Heather Murphy is a senior welding inspector who has carved out her mark as a female leader in a male-dominated industry. She is among 1% of females assigned to senior technical level inspectors, holds multiple certifications and is highly respected among her peers. We sat down with Heather to gain some insight on the daily life of a senior welding inspector.
What is a Senior Welding Inspector?
Aside from compiling data, I am also responsible for generating weld map drawings for each pipeline, conducting weekly project review meetings, managing personnel, inspecting fabrication work to confirm elevation and that pieces were built according to specs, scheduling weld tests for contractors, reviewing and selecting weld procedures applicable to each pipeline project, meeting with nondestructive examination technicians (NDE) to discuss requirements for each project, visiting each project site to confirm compliance and be available for questions and generally encompassing anything that has to do with pipe material.
Why is this position important for pipeline clients?
Without a qualified and knowledgeable person leading, a client may unknowingly commit a crime or conduct themselves in a manner that is less than industry standard. At the very least, the client may experience a situation where money can be saved by making corrections to a pipeline that was recognized up front if a knowledgeable SWI was a part of construction.
What does a typical day or project look like for you?
A typical day for one project consists of:
• Lead daily/weekly production meetings with the contractors to discuss project progress and any issues.
• Review meetings with survey contractor to confirm accuracy of recorded weld information.
• Review daily as-built reports submitted by level 1–3 inspectors.
• Review daily weld and construction reports from inspectors.
• Monitor and schedule qualification testing for potential welders for contractors.
• Review weld procedures and select the applicable procedure for each project/situation.
• Confirm welders who have previously tested for the contractor still have applicable certifications.
• Confirm non-destructive examination (NDE) technicians hired to conduct weld X-rays are certified and review weekly project reports.
What are the benefits in working for SMS/Liberty?
The insurance package has been particularly wonderful in its affordability and coverage. My favorite benefit is the possibility of traveling to new places using the inspector pool. When one project is finished, we are eligible for additional jobs around the country and internationally without having to “hit the streets” looking for work. I also love the willingness to aid in additional certification and training costs. That’s a huge help to inspectors who are interested in furthering their education, but are daunted by the major fees required by most accredited institutes.
We’ve recently expanded to serve the Midland and Odessa Texas areas!