How to get ISO 17020 accreditation ?

ISO/IEC 17020 accreditation

How to get ISO 17020 accreditation ?

Securing ISO 17020 accreditation is a comprehensive and diligent process that requires careful preparation and adherence to the standard’s requirements. Below are the steps involved in obtaining ISO 17020 accreditation.

Understand the Requirements: The first step is to familiarize yourself with ISO 17020. This involves acquiring a copy of the standard and gaining a thorough understanding of its requirements. These requirements address factors such as the competence of personnel, the suitability of inspection methods, impartiality, confidentiality, complaint handling, and continuous improvement.

Develop a Quality Management System (QMS): After understanding the standard, the next step is developing a QMS that aligns with the requirements of ISO 17020. This QMS should include policies, procedures, and instructions needed to ensure consistent and high-quality inspection services.

Implement the QMS: Once the QMS is developed, it needs to be implemented across the organization. This will involve training all relevant staff members on the procedures and their responsibilities. It’s crucial to ensure that the procedures are followed consistently.

Internal Auditing and Management Review: After the QMS has been implemented for some time, an internal audit should be conducted to assess its effectiveness and identify areas for improvement. The results of this audit, along with other performance indicators, should be reviewed by the organization’s management team. This review should lead to action plans to drive continuous improvement in the organization’s inspection processes.

Apply for Accreditation: Once confident that the QMS is effective and that the organization can demonstrate conformity to the ISO 17020 requirements, it’s time to apply for accreditation. This involves selecting an accreditation body and submitting an application. The application will usually need to be accompanied by certain documentation, such as the organization’s quality manual and certain procedure documents.

On-Site Assessment: After the application is accepted, the accreditation body will conduct an on-site assessment. This involves a team of assessors visiting the organization to assess its conformity with ISO 17020. The assessors will inspect documentation, interview personnel, and observe inspections to confirm that the procedures and practices meet the standard’s requirements.

Address Non-Conformities: If the assessors identify any non-conformities, these will need to be addressed before accreditation can be granted. The organization will need to take corrective actions and provide evidence to the accreditation body that the issues have been resolved.

Accreditation: Once all non-conformities have been addressed and the assessors are satisfied that the organization meets all ISO 17020 requirements, accreditation is granted. The organization can then use the accreditation body’s mark on its reports and certificates, subject to the rules of the accreditation body.

Maintain and Improve: After achieving accreditation, the organization will need to maintain its QMS and continually improve its inspection processes. This will involve regular internal audits and management reviews, as well as surveillance visits by the accreditation body.

In conclusion, gaining ISO 17020 accreditation is a process that requires a commitment to quality, consistency, and continuous improvement. It involves not just meeting the technical requirements for conducting inspections but also demonstrating a systematic approach to managing the inspection processes. By achieving ISO 17020 accreditation, an inspection body provides assurance to its clients that it is competent, impartial, and capable of providing reliable inspection services.

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