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Up Topic Welding Industry / Inspection & Qualification / When the company will not comply....?
- - By Engloid (*) Date 10-29-2004 01:47
I'm working at a plant doing training and consulting. They are doing a military project and supposed to be welding in accordance to AWS D1.1...but they have many areas in which they simply will not comply to the code. For example, they weld with gasses that are not qualified procedures, people weld that are not qualified, travel direction in vertical welding is down and not up, and much more.

I have put these issues in my daily reports on numerous occasions and they simply blow me off and are making no effort to make changes. This plant is new to military work. When talking to the plant manager, he asked if AWS D1.1 was in "in-house" code!!!

I don't really want to be the whistleblower, but I think things should be done as they are contractually obligated to do so. The military wants things build in accordance to this code, and they are not getting what they are paying for.

Do any of you have advice as to how to handle situations such as this?
Parent - By NDTIII (***) Date 10-29-2004 07:06
Have you ever heard of an NCR?
Parent - By dlmann (**) Date 10-29-2004 09:44
What is the reject rate for the project? The Plant Manager may not understand welding but I bet he understands the bottom line. So do the welders and Leads. Rejects cost money.

Have your ducks in a row when you iniatiate any NCR. You can't fix it all in one day. Remember to have a solution ready when you bring up something that needs fixed. Document it and move on.

Regards and good luck,
Parent - - By TimGary (****) Date 10-29-2004 12:00
Hi there,
Quality Ethics are fun, aren't they?...
If I'm reading your post right, you don't work directly for this company, you are simply consulting. That means that even if they have a quality system with documentation capabilities such as NCR's, you do not have the authority to write them.
Do they have any employees in a "Quality Department"? Are they capable or willing to write NCR's if you point out to them what's required?
It sounds like you need to talk them into letting you give some D1.1 Code understanding training.
So it sounds to me like this company is not interested in having a "Quality System", they just want to make stuff the best way they know how and sell it. If they have to fudge around a few technical details in the contract to get the work then so be it. They'll just hire a "Quality Consultant" to do training in order to give their customer a false impression of code compliance. When the job is over, they'll drop you like a hot rock.
So now you have some hard decisions to make. You can go with the flow and keep getting your paychecks on time, until they are finished with you. While doing so, you can do your best at trying to teach / convince them that code compliance is in their best interest. Maybe you can even get the Owner(s) on your side and convince them to hire you as a Quality Manager and get the whole mess straightened out. In the mean time, what ever you do, don't sign any documents that accept anything. The company is bound to be looking for a sacrificial lamb to offer up if and when the litigation starts.
Or, you can take the high road and just quit. I would write a detailed explanation of the situation, specifically address why the company needs to be code compliant, not simply for the contract's sake but for the structural integrity of their product. Make several copies of this letter and deliver them to all of the upper Management. Then go find a better job.
That's free advice, which is usually worth what you pay for it. You probably already know what you should do, but your hesitant because paying jobs are hard to come by.
Now I'm going to ask you to do something important. If this product that is being made for the military is in any way shape or form going to risk the life and limb of Soldiers, due to negligent fabrication practices, then you need to put a stop to it now. Not later, now. Be a whistle blower. Go straight to the owner of the company first. If you don't get immediate and complete satisfaction there, then go to the customer. When you do so, don't go to just one person but all the way up the customer's chain of command. This would be the right thing to do, the only thing to do. Our sons, daughters, siblings and spouses deserve no less.

Good luck,
Parent - By thirdeye (***) Date 10-29-2004 15:06
In addition to the assessment and comments by Tim, I was wondering, what is the specific scope of your training and consulting assignment? For example, are you auditing your clients in-house program for deficiencies in certain areas and do you conduct (or recommend) training to correct those deficiencies? This type of service is quite common and is usually quite beneficial to management. A written report should contain all of the areas in which you recommend no actions or training, and a description of the areas where you have noted deficiencies in your clients program which require actions. You may even wish to use a rating system for each of the deficiencies that you report to emphasize the seriousness of each one. When a new report is generated, have a section dedicated to corrective actions taken and outstanding issues. If staff is not cooperating, here is the place to report this. Schedule weekly meetings with the key plant management including the plant manager and discuss your findings. Since management will be responsible for solving their problems, request to be kept in the loop regarding their actions, so you can accurately report how well their solution(s) are working. Also offer to be present during any meetings between your client and the end buyer(s) to explain your report and your clients progress. Do your best to fulfill your assignment before considering any actions beyond your responsibility. If you do decide to take other actions, submit an exit report explaining in detail how and why you can not complete your assignment.
Parent - By NEQA (**) Date 10-29-2004 13:00
Don't your welding procedures have to be reviewed and approved by the military BEFORE they let you begin fabrication? I must admit to not having much experience with the military - but with our vendors (and we have hundreds) we not only review AND approve their welding procedures (along with dozens of other things) but if we have any doubts about the vendor's ability to fabricate, I will send an Inspector in to witness actual welding...or anything else. If the vendor refuses......we reject ALL their work. This is stated in the Contract Spec.

Parent - By billvanderhoof (****) Date 10-30-2004 05:17
Keep a log of what you do, say, report or whatever in a bound (not loose-leaf or spiral) book. Whatever you report do it in writing, keep a copy for yourself. Then in case the excrement goes into the fan you have evidence that you correctly did your job. You might want to speak with a lawyer, especially if you decide to take the whistleblower road.
Good luck
Parent - By ssbn727 (*****) Date 10-31-2004 10:38
Hi Engloid!
First of all, what does your job description or contract detail regarding what your responsibilities are. The reason I ask this is before you decide to do anything, you must know your scope of work that's required of you in writing as Thirdeye asks otherwise, you're not CYA or B!!! Meaning, Covering Your Ass or if you prefer, Buttocks... This is one of the reasons that Bill suggested for you to hear what a labor lawyer has to say about this situation you're in... You've been given some excellent advice from the rest of the replies so, at the risk of being repetitive with my advice, I'll just say that you NEED to accept the fact that your going to be very busy writing, logging everything to back up your observations and your report, Rewriting your training materials, manuals etc., that's if they decide to accept your recommendations because, after all -you are training and consulting are'nt you? Their people are the ones signing off on the work, correct?

DO NOT Sign off on any of the work that's not in compliance to AWS D1.1 - Integrity is the KEY HERE!!!

Make REAL sure you're not overlooking any details that may enable the company to justify their actual welding and inspection practices that may fall within the parameters listed within their or is it the customer's welding procedure specifications by making darn sure that there are no exceptions that allow such practices within AWS D1.1 itself and if they're not following what's required of them based on what is written in their or the customer's WPS's then, NCR them to DEATH - if this is part of your job description or written in your contract!!! Stand your ground!!!MAKE SOME NOISE!!!

After all, would you really want this in your conscience??? Gnawing away with ever increasing guilt especially if as Tim said it best, Lives and Limbs may be at risk???

If this is the case then, If they are not welding or inspecting the work to AWS D1.1 or whatever code or standard the customer requests then, there is a procedure to report not only to the company or customer in question but, also to the AWS that these so called inspectors are NOT complying to their CWI requirements if they are CWI's...

If you are an AWS CWI, then it is your duty to report their lack of compliance provided that you've informed them, documented to them that they must take corrective actions in order to become in compliance and, if they ignore your consultation, inform this to the governing bodies within the AWS certification department that handles this type of situation!!! Before you do this, make sure you've double checked yourself and all of your findings. Make sure you can prove it!!!

Get in touch with Kip Mankenburg (I hope I spelled his last name right) or anyone else in the AWS certification department because, they may be able to guide you through your present situation where the end result will be benificial to all parties including yourself!

I'll be praying for you in the hopes that everything will work out for the best!!!

SSBN727 Run Silent... Run Deep!!!

Parent - - By josephd (*) Date 11-04-2004 18:56

All advise you have recieved from all is great but will not get the problem solved. I am a Quality Assurance Specialist working for the Military (Army) for almost 20 years. I have for years been resposable for welding issues with government contracts and NO we do not approve contractors procedures prior to production at least for the Army. You need to document any finding, report it to who pays your salary then follow my instructions.

Forget everything evryone on this site said to you and beleive what I am about to recommend. Take your final report and send to the local Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA), atten: Quality Assurance department/ACO. Go to this web site and look up the agency in your area, All government contracts by law must have an acceptance form signed off by a government Quality Assurance Representative (QAR) In most cases QAR's perform only a brief inventory and visual inspection then sign off on a DD250 acceptance document that is used by the contractor as evidence he has conformed to contract requirements. They will never see the inprocess records unless the QAR requested a review. Then the contractor sends that form to the DCMA office and gets paid. You need to be correct and accurate with your findings. I.E. Contract requires AWS, quote para that they violate and take digital pictures for somthing you may see inprocess that is no longer visible during final visual inspections. Anymore help just email me. \

Tanks R Us, Dominic
Parent - By NEQA (**) Date 11-05-2004 16:35

Even knowing that Engliod's shop (taking his as an example) has so many problems and may be producing questionable welds, you still would not send an Inspector there? You would not even want to see if their Welding Procedure Specs. are approved?

Up Topic Welding Industry / Inspection & Qualification / When the company will not comply....?

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