Dog among ‘bogus’ certifications

The American Welding Society (AWS) provides a programme for welder qualification and the AWS National Registry of Certified Welders. Welding certification is proof that a welder has passed basic welding qualifications required to perform welds commercially.

The Certified Welder (CW) programme tests welders on procedures used in the structural steel, petroleum pipeline, sheet metal and chemical refinery welding industries. There is a provision to test to a company-supplied or non-code welding specification. Certified Welder (CW) tests are performed at AWS Accredited Testing Facilities located across the world.

A candidate for welder qualification will deposit a sound weld that will be inspected by an AWS Certified Welding Inspector (CWI). The candidate will be evaluated on their ability to adhere to the welding procedure specification, selected from available QC7 Supplements, and will include fit-up, assembly and positioning.

A typical project where the welding requirements are based on a welding code, such as the American Welding Society Code D1.1 requirements, would include an approved welding procedure, with a record of tensile tests, radiography or other data that proves that welding under the procedure meets the service requirements and welder certification, the physical skills that give evidence that an individual welder can make a sound weld within the confines of the approved welding procedure.

Weeks before the University of Cincinnati opened the doors on an $86 million renovation to its Nippert Stadium, whistleblowers revealed to a FOX 19 television station reporter that men who welded on the project had ‘bogus’ welding certifications, including a man who died 15 months before the start of the construction. The FOX 19 reporter obtained 14 welding certificates and had them examined by an American Welding Society auditor, who is responsible for inspecting welding certificates for compliance with AWS codes.

His conclusion was that the certificates represented a major non-conformance and that they contained no welder identification number, nor were they signed and stamped by a certified welding inspector.

The FOX 19 investigators learned that the Iron Workers Local 44 union in Cincinnati successfully got a dog certified to weld in August 2015.

That is the second time that a dog has been certified, according to the union. The first happened in Michigan following an investigation by the Worker’s Freedom Coalition, a group that started investigating welding certifications following the collapse of a Kentucky high school’s gym in May 2011 (see NDT News, Issue 131, July 2014).

With recent allegations of malfeasance in the issuance of NDT certification, it is clear that there will continue to be an element in human nature that will seek to get around the processes provided for legitimisation of a technician’s ability to conduct safe and adequate construction and evaluate its inspection properly. Such lack of integrity is driven by profit-based motives and a disregard for human life and safety.

The weapons available for detection of fraud include increased oversight, intensive auditing and scrupulous evaluation of construction processes and certification. Everyone with knowledge of cheating has a duty to be a ‘whistleblower’ and volunteer information to the relevant authority.

Comments by members

This forum post has no comments, be the first to leave a comment.

Submit your comment

You need to log in to submit a Comment. Please click here to log in or register.

<< Back