What are the requirements for ISO 17020?

ISO 17020 Accreditation

What are the requirements for ISO 17020?

Acquiring ISO 17020 accreditation is an indication that an inspection body has demonstrated its competency, impartiality, and consistent inspection activities. To earn this accreditation, an inspection body must fulfill several requirements. These requirements are broken down into a few categories which include structural requirements, resource requirements, process requirements, and management system requirements.

Structural Requirements: The organization must define and document its legal and organizational status, the services it provides, and the range of its inspection activities. It needs to demonstrate its independence, impartiality, and integrity. The responsibility, authority, and interrelation of personnel managing, performing, and verifying inspections must also be defined.

Resource Requirements: The organization must have the resources, both human and equipment, to perform the inspections. This includes competent personnel who have the necessary education, training, technical knowledge, and experience. The equipment used for inspections should be capable of providing the accuracy required and should be properly maintained and calibrated.

Process Requirements: ISO 17020 lays out requirements for how inspections are to be carried out. These include requirements for methods and procedures, handling of inspection samples and items, ensuring the safety and health of personnel, and ensuring the protection of confidentiality and proprietary rights. The organization must have a system for the control of inspection records and inspection data and a procedure for dealing with complaints and appeals.

Management System Requirements: The organization needs to implement a quality management system that covers policies and objectives, document control, control of records, corrective and preventive actions, internal audits, and management reviews.

It’s important to note that ISO 17020 recognizes three types of inspection bodies: Type A, B, and C. Type A bodies provide third-party inspections and are independent of the parties involved. Type B bodies perform inspections for their parent organizations. Type C bodies perform inspections for parties other than their parent organizations, and for their parent organizations if necessary.

The process of becoming accredited to ISO 17020 involves demonstrating to an accreditation body that these requirements are met. This typically involves providing documented evidence and undergoing an on-site assessment.

Overall, the requirements of ISO 17020 are designed to ensure that inspection bodies operate to a high standard of technical competence and professional integrity. Achieving ISO 17020 accreditation is a mark of quality that gives confidence to clients and regulatory authorities, and it provides a competitive edge to the inspection body.

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