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This is a question Expensive Mistakes

coopsweb asks "What's the most expensive mistake you've ever made? Should I mention a certain employee who caused 4 hours worth of delays in Central London and got his company fined £500k?"

No points for stories about the time you had a few and thought it'd be a good idea to wrap your car around a bollard. Or replies consisting of "my wife".

(, Thu 25 Oct 2007, 11:26)
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So long ago it was almost in another life
and strickerly speaking I was only an innocent bystander.. anyway I worked for a while as a paint inspector for an engineering agency. I had no quals or experience, but if you can get a nice uncle to write you a CV and put it in the right hands for you, you just keep your mouth shut, read the spec and get on with it.

I had to inspect the paint on a heater being made in Scunthorpe. "How expensive could that be?" I hear you ask, because I have a vivid imagination. This heater was for crude oil about to be processed by an onshore reception plant on the coast of Scotland, it was three big fuckoff steel boxes on legs, lined with refractory concrete, filled with tailor-made pipes, topped off by a monty great funnel chimney thing, with gas burners between the legs. When built, it was about 140ft high.

The paint job was done by a company famous (in that industry) for big engineering paint jobs, and the boss man wasn't going to take any notice of the fresh-faced young inspector from the client telling him that it had failed each and every step of the whole painting process from the first shotblast to the last coat. "Don't worry sonny, it'll pass on site!" he smirked.

When they finally got this monster ($$$$) painted ($$$$) and onto the huge lowloader ($$$) and inched it slowly ($$$) up to Peterhead, it failed the onsite inspection. I was then flown ($$) along with various representatives of all the companies invlolved ($$$) who all agreed (except for the smirker) that it failed cos it was a crap paint job.

This meant it had to be scaffolded on site ($$$) shotblast with non-renewable grit ($$$) and repainted ($$$$) under weatherproof sheeting ($$$). This meant it was 10 days late for commissioning which set the whole plant back ($$$$$$).

When the dust had settled and all was back to normal, an engineer switched on the burners at the bottom. He did this without opening the butterfly valve in the monty great funnel on top. The entire top third of the heater ( a steel funnel chimney and a 45-ton box lined with concrete and full of pipes) blew off and flew 60 yards away, narrowly missing several other expensive structures, so the whole place came grinding to a halt while another heater was ordered, fabricated, painted, shipped, erected, tested and commissioned ($$$$$$$$$$).

The odd thing is, that I was the only person involved who had no qualifications (I'm really a musician), and the only one who didn't actually fuck up at some stage.

So I shouldn't have posted this at all. Sorry :@ )
(, Mon 29 Oct 2007, 12:23, 3 replies)
You were a paint inspector?
you were paid to watch paint dry?

Still...more interesting than my job I expect.
(, Mon 29 Oct 2007, 14:45, closed)
Don't apologise...
Good story :)
(, Mon 29 Oct 2007, 18:07, closed)
I wish I was a Paint Drying Inspector
*brings stool and PSP*
(, Tue 30 Oct 2007, 10:53, closed)

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