You get what you pay for

- By:

Courtesy of InspectionLogic Corporation

I had to call an electrician out to the house several months ago. After our initial conversation it took a couple more phone calls and a few more days before he actually showed up to do the work. Two hours and a few hundred dollars later and he was gone.

The next day I had a small fire in my garage.

What does this have to do with Leak Detection and Repair? Just like I did when hiring the cheapest electrician I could find, we often try to save a buck when we purchase LDAR software, equipment and services.

The choices are limited for good LDAR software. A little less so for good equipment. But when it comes to field services the choices get varied and more complicated.

Here is the issue. LDAR services often go to the lowest bid. The lowest bidder then cannot pay a high enough wage to attract any kind of real quality in their field technicians. Can you really get the quality your contractor promised when the technicians are earning entry level wages?

I am not kidding here. The wages these 'low ball' LDAR companies are forced to pay do not attract highly skilled workers. No college graduates. Maybe high school graduates. Maybe.

Here is the realization I came to back in 2008 after attending a huge meeting with the EPA and listening to the auditors and several representatives from the Department of Justice pound the table about repeated violations. My electrician had to have a license. That means he had some training and some sort of certification. Maybe he needed a bit more but my point is that if this trade requires certification why don't we require training and certification for LDAR Technicians? Not in-house training by the contractor themselves but real, professional certification with a 'license to monitor'.

A licensed technician could lose that license if caught cheating.

Think about it. You require that these technicians have safety training before they come into your plant. Why not require, and pay more for, licensed technicians. Wouldn't you get more for your money if you asked for some certification for the field technicians?

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