Monday, August 8, 2011

Welder Continuity Logs


I have a question on welder qualifications. Where I work we have had
guys certified for D1.1 for 15 years. But in the D1.1 book it says that
they need to weld in every 6 month period to keep it current. What type
of documentation do we need to keep on file to show that they have been
welding? I can not find this in the book so I want to make sure that we
are covered at this point.

Thanks Pat G. - CAWI

Good question Pat,
What you are talking about is called a Continuity Report or Continuity Log.
AWS D1.1 Clause - Tells us that a Welders qualification is effective indefinitely as long as that Welder does not go more than 6 months without using that process.  ASME Section IX and most Welding Codes make similar statements. 

We are required to provide documentation showing that the welder worked with all the processes (GMAW, GTAW, FCAW, SAW…) he/she held qualifications in, from the time qualification testing was complete to today with no gaps in service greater than 6 months. I did a word search of "continuity" in D1.1 and got about a million hits for “discontinuity”, but zero for “continuity”, so it looks as though you are on your own as to how you maintain that documentation.

I've worked for several organizations and each has had different ways of doing this.

  • I've maintained a simple Access Database where every 5 months I would go out on the shop floor and verify that each Welder is welding with the process they are qualified in.  I would then log the employee ID, the process and the date. 

  • I've worked with local unions ( who would maintain these records for their members and provide me, the contractor, copies with a clear trail and no lapses greater than 6 months. 

  • Today I have a software program that will generate a list of Welders by Plant Location, Department & Supervisor.  I forward those lists to the Supervisor every 5 months and they return them with the updates.  I update my database and I also sign and keep their hard copy.

There are many ways that the 6 month requirement can be broken:

  • A welder enters active military service and then returns to his/her civilian job 9 months later. 

  • An employee gets laid off and called back. (Fabricators typically monitor the 6 month time frame to save the cost of re-qualifying.)

  • A Welder takes a Supervisor job, but a year later decides to go back to welding. 

  • A GMAW (Mig) qualified Welder takes a job running a Submerged Arc Welder (SAW) for 7 months, then returns to Mig welding. 

  • A Welder in a job shop may seldom uses one or more of the processes he/she has qualified for due to the shops work load.
All of these are common scenarios that have snuck up on me at different times in my career.  It's a pain in the neck, but a Welder Qualification is of no value without an unbroken Continuity Report.  That is the thing that will sting you in an audit. 

Showing a clear line from the date of qualification testing to today with no break greater than 6 months is required per most welding codes.


Pipefitter Dave - CWI said...


Has it always been 6 months? I reviewed a welders continuity and found that in 2003 he had gone 6month and 19 days. If there has not been a code change I see this welder as not qualified, for a long time. I know this welder had to have welded in that time, could I change the date on my paperwork with proff of him welding?

Paul W Cameron - AWS/CWI said...

It would have been 6 months in 2003, but I wouldn't get too excited about a 19 day laps. Yes, the code states 6 months, but we need to judge "intent" of the code. The 6 month requirement is to insure welders, "use it before they lose it." I'm not sure there is much change in their ability in 19 days.
If it is a concern, you can reinstate the expired qualifications by completing a qualification test on 3/8 plate (no need to re-do unlimited thickness).

Thanks for the comment.

Anonymous said...

What should you do if your a welder and you have certs and the contractor refuses to sign your weld continuity form and you lose your certs when your welding the process you are qualified to do

Paul W Cameron - AWS/CWI said...

There is little you can do, short of retaking the test. You really can't make them sign it.
What is the reason they are not signing?

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