Dogs certified as welders, KY bill aims to ensure it never happens again

Kentucky bill aims to ensure dogs never again certified as welders

FRANKFORT, KY (WAVE) - Supporters of Kentucky House Bill 239 say it’s critical to your safety.

While cute, these dogs certainly can't weld.
While cute, these dogs certainly can't weld. (Jerald Adkins)

It would legally require welders working on some structural projects to be certified properly, because some say the current system is broken.

The bill passed through the House on Friday as part of the Consent Orders of the Day. That means there wasn’t much talk or debate about it because it wasn’t very controversial, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have an interesting story to tell.

That story starts with the document that officially certified Robert Dash to be a professional structural welder.

Henry Wolfe’s name is on a similar one too.

On paper, nothing looks out of place, but the problem is that they didn’t know they could now construct the bindings that keep buildings from falling.

That’s because Wolfe and Dash are both dogs.

"This is a picture of Robert Dash," Bill Woodward, Iron Workers of Southern Ohio and Vicinity District President, said. "He is a Beagle."

Woodward said another dog, named Adam Barker, a cat and even a dead person were AWS certified by groups testing the system. That means they could currently work in Kentucky, despite the fact most don’t even have opposable thumbs.

The American Welding Standards certification process requires welders to demonstrate their skills in person, and show a photo ID, but an industry lobbyist said the guidelines aren’t always followed.

“I can take a plate that’s already been welded and I can tell them that my name is Joe Smith,” lobbyist Jerald Adkins said.

So, if a project decides to require AWS Certification and inspectors, one Kentucky legislator wants to make sure professional guidelines are the law, not just a suggestion.

House Bill 239 would do that.

Sponsor Rep. Bobby McCool (R-Van Lear) said the push comes after a school collapsed in McCracken County. He alleges welders on the job weren’t qualified and had fraudulent certifications.

“Fortunately, there was no one around when it did collapse,” McCool said.

He said that was in 2011, but the problem still exists. And regardless of whether he believes ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks,’ he said you can never teach one to weld.

The bill still needs to be passed by the Senate.

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