ISO 17025 represents the international standard used for calibration and testing laboratories. It is a requirement set that is indicative of how standardized their management systems are and how they are technically qualified to do whatever it is they do.
ISO/IEC 17025 normally refers to a standard used for spelling out requirements that should be adhered to by laboratories that are keen to produce high-quality products. The requirements were put together by various lab experts from different parts of the world within 30 years. Ensuring laboratory competence seems to be the main focus considering the nature of the list.
Why Become A Laboratory That is Accredited?
Laboratory accreditation makes it possible for those concerned to know if a laboratory is technically competent to carry out specific tasks like measurement, calibration, and testing. It equally offers the needed recognition for qualified laboratories, thereby providing a suitable means by which customers can know a reliable laboratory that can provide them the kind of service they need.
To keep this recognition going, labs are reassessed from time to time by the body responsible for the accreditation to ensure that they continue to comply with requirements, as well as to ensure that the operational standards are maintained. The lab might be expected to take part in important competency testing programs that do take place between reevaluations, as means of demonstrating technical competence.
Laboratories that are accredited normally give calibration or test reports that carry the seal of the accreditation body, as an evidence of their endorsement.
Clients are expected to verify with the lab regarding the type of measurements or tests they have been given clearance for, as well as the uncertainties or ranges. This piece of information is normally contained in the lab’s accreditation scope, which is given by the said body for accreditation. The description contained in the accreditation’ scope equally has benefits for customers who own labs by enabling them to identify a reliable testing or laboratory service. all lab accreditation bodies do well to make the accreditation scope known for all accredited labs either in the form of hardcopy or online.
In recent times, acknowledging such competence demands that every lab that has implemented the standard’s requirement equally strive to earn accreditation. Accreditation is like assessment, which includes trained personnel for evaluating technical competence. The assessors ought to be well-grounded in every requirement within the standard.
In the course of working, assessors often meet with various situations in which they have to defend specific demands to a lab that wants to be accredited and, although they understand why certain requirements must be met, they may not be in a position to tell why certain demands were there. That means they could oblivious of why certain requirements are operated the way they are operated.
Concurrently, the ability of a lab to pay no particular attention to these standard requirements, while that could be preferred to a zero system, is never the best approach that reflects confidence in producing competent results. Neither is it a reliable approach for being noted for such competence.
A marketing benefit
Accreditation is equally a brilliant marketing tool used for calibration, measurement and testing organization as well as a passport for submitting tenders to those contractors who need laboratories that have been verified independently.
As a qualification that has both international and national recognition, lab accreditation is a perfect indicator of technical competence. Several industries like the ones into construction, normally specify lab accreditation for the suppliers that are into testing services.
The accreditation of lab implements procedures and criteria that are developed to evaluate technical competence, thereby reassuring customers that calibration, measurement of data supplied by inspection service or test are reliable and accurate.
Several accreditation organizations equally publish a list of laboratories accredited under them, and that includes all the necessary information about the lab as well as some information on the capability of their testing. This serves as another channel of selling the accredited services of a lab to their potential clients.
In conclusion, via an international agreement (read below) accredited labs are acknowledged internationally, and that makes their data to be accepted on foreign markets. This very recognition is good for slashing down the costs for exporter and manufacturers whose products are being tested accredited labs, by avoiding the process of retesting in a foreign place.
The Principals of ISO 17025
From studying the standard along with its impact on lab activities within the previous 12 years, these principles appear to be the real forces backing all the ISO/IEC17025 requirements:
- Exercise of Responsibility
- scientific method
- Traceability of Measurement
- Objectivity of Results
- Repeatability of Test
- Transparency of Process
- Impartiality of Conduct
Labs ought to have the basic resources (people that have the needed knowledge and skills, a conducive environment that is fitted with the necessary facilities, quality control measures as well as the procedures) to carry out the assignment and produce technically valid results.
Exercise of responsibility
People within any laboratory organization should have the authority to execute certain functions considering the entire work scope, just as the organization should be accountable for the outcome of any lab work.
Every work done within the lab ought to be carried out within the confines of approved scientific approaches, but if there are deviations from the approved scientific approaches, it ought to be substantiated in a way that is considered acceptable by the experts in the said field.
Objectivity of results
Results that are gotten within a laboratory’s work scope have to be based on derived or measurable quantities. Subjective test results must be given by persons who are deemed qualified, while such results will be identified as subjective, or regarded by the experts who are in such testing fields to be subjective
Impartiality of conduct
The effort of achieving results that are technically valid via approved scientific approaches that are generally accepted is the basic influence on tasks for people who execute lab calibrations and test – every other influence ought to be seen as secondary, and as such shouldn’t take precedence.
Repeatability of test
The supposed test that gave the objective outcome will always produce similar results within the range of approved deviations during future testing, as well as within the limitations of implementing similar equipment, procedures as well as persons who were part of the previous test execution.
Traceability of measurement
Produced results during a lab process ought to be defined by acknowledged systems that are born from the accepted quantities (SI system) or any other well-characterized quantities.
The comparison chain of measurement existing between all these known and accepted quantities must be consistent for a reliable transfer of all measurement characteristics, which includes uncertainty, for the entire measurement chain.
Transparency of process
All processes inside any laboratory that contributes to producing objective results ought to accommodate external and internal scrutiny. This will help to identify and cripple factors that could affect the ability of the lab to yield results that are technically valid, primarily objective as well as based on various scientific methods.
The above eight principles may not address all aspects of all requirements stated within the standard, though they are adequate to educate people working in labs to know the reasons underlying a host of the requirements. They could equally allow assessors to use their judgment in evaluating how a particular lab has conformed to every requirement in the standard.