You may wonder if it is necessary to work with an accredited calibration lab or if it is possible to work with a laboratory that performs work but is not accredited. While they may help you, it is crucial to remember that your lab performance is based on your equipment and instrumentation’s accuracy. Unaccredited laboratories do not have to meet high levels of standards. Let’s look at the benefits of working with an ISO 17025-accredited lab.
What is an Accredited Calibration Lab?
A calibration lab is deemed accredited after a third-party organization evaluates its compliance with the ISO/IEC 17025 standards. ISO 17025 is a recognized global standard of quality and conformity.
A handful of factors play into a laboratory being regarded as competent and compliant with ISO 17025 standards, and these factors ensure quality results.
They break the assessment to receive accreditation down into three sections: personnel, environment, and traceability.
Benefits of Using an Accredited Calibration Lab
The ISO 17025 Standard precisely assesses staff competence, the validity of test methods, traceability of measurements and calibration to national standards, the testing environment, handling of test items and equipment maintenance, and quality of data assurance.
- Technically Competent Personnel – When the lab undergoes accreditation, they observe the laboratory personnel. The staff must understand how to operate equipment and how the equipment affects calibration results.
- Confidence in Calibration Results – Accredited laboratories must meet the highest industry standard, ISO 17025.
- Minimal Risk Factors – When equipment and instrumentation are correctly maintained, risks of calibration inaccuracy are reduced.
- Monitored Lab Environment – The assessment process ensures that the lab’s environment does not invalidate the results of calibrations or adversely affect the required measurement quality.
- Required Measurement Uncertainty – ISO 17025 accredited labs are required to calculate measurement uncertainty for each parameter. This must be listed on the lab’s scope of accreditation, which can be found here.
The Risks of Using Uncalibrated Equipment
It is essential to take note that when calibrations are off. It will affect multiple areas of your lab, including safety, productivity, and quality of work. It can put people in the lab at risk, inaccurate results, along with process variance, inappropriate testing conditions, and poor documentation.
Working With an Accredited Lab
Think of calibration as regular maintenance. It requires a solid maintenance program, keeping the instruments calibrated, certificates of calibration, and detailed records. However, in doing so, you will avoid costly downtime and disruptions to your laboratory’s work schedule.
When choosing to have an ISO 17025 accredited laboratory calibrate your equipment, you can rest assured that your equipment will be taken care of, and they will do the job to meet your lab’s needs. There will be no surprises, and your instruments and equipment will be accurate and compliant.