Failure can be prevented.
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In an earlier life, I worked for an oilfield service company and was certified as a TapRooT Evaluator. TapRooT is a system to analyze and evaluate the root cause of a problem. It works well in a manufacturing environment.

My company got a call from an offshore oil rig off the coast on Nigeria. Our operator found an o-ring groove missing on a new tool that had just been delivered. This was the first time this new type of tool was being used commercially. It uses a nuclear source. This source is inserted into the tool before it is lowered into the well. The o-ring is one of three redundant safety options to ensure that the nuclear source is secure inside the tool.

We immediately checked the other five tools and found that one had been shipped to South America and the other four were still in our facility. I checked each of the four tools and confirmed that each had a missing an o-ring groove where the nuclear source was to be inserted.

It’s a very long story and I’ll keep to high level discussion. The tool normally had an insert installed in Austria where it was made. They had run out of inserts and contacted us regarding our options. We elected to have them send the tool to us and we would install the insert.

The inspector receiving the part blindly missed the o-ring groove, even though it was on the drawings. I made a trip to the local manufacturer who made the insert. I reviewed the drawings and talked to the people involved. The drawings showed every dimension except the o-ring groove highlighted in yellow indicating that it had been checked. The o-ring groove had never been machined into the insert.

Back at our facility, the tool had progressed through the initial production phase and one of the operators noted that the normal o-ring would not fit – it required a different size. He put in a different size and it moved to the test well. It was noted also at the test well that the normal o-ring would not fit on the nuclear source being used to calibrate the tool – he used a larger o-ring. There were a few other similar results both in Texas and overseas where it arrived in Nigeria for it initial check-out. Everywhere a person tried to put the normal o-ring in it would not fit – at least eight people made this comment.

What is the point of this article? Sometimes we see things and accept them for what they are. Sometimes we don’t see the missing parts – or, o-ring groove. We become accustomed to our daily lives and miss the things that can make it perfect – or, at least, operate as it is supposed to.

Our bodies are that way. They require certain nutrients daily to operate at full efficiency. Some days we don’t feed our bodies properly. It becomes a habit over time. We become deficient in one or more (mostly more) nutrients critical for our health and daily operation. Yet, every day we had the chance to make it right and we failed – we chose not to eat properly.

Eating is only one of several things our bodies require daily. Eat wisely!

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