What is ISO/IEC 17025 Accreditation?

What is ISO/IEC 17025 Accreditation?

The ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation is the most important standard for calibration and testing laboratories around the world. They intend this standard to be used as requirements for the competence, impartiality, and consistent operation of testing and calibration laboratories of all sizes or numbers of employees, regardless of industry.

Accreditation Versus Certification

The ISO/IEC defines accreditation as a “third-party attestation related to a conformity assessment body conveying formal demonstration of its competence to carry out specific conformity assessment tasks”. “A certification is a third-party attestation related to products, processes, systems, or persons.”

To ensure continued compliance, they regularly re-assess accredited laboratories to check that they are maintaining their standard of technical expertise. They also require these laboratories to participate in regular proficiency testing programs as an ongoing demonstration of their competence.

Assess Factors

Laboratory accreditation bodies use the ISO/IEC 17025 standard.  Specifically, to assess factors relevant to a laboratory’s ability to produce precise, accurate test and calibration data. This includes:

  • Traceability of measurements and calibrations to national standards
  • Technical competence of staff
  • Maintenance of test equipment
  • Quality assurance of test and calibration data
  • Validity and appropriateness of test methods
  • Appropriate handling and transportation of test items
  • Quality of testing environment

Why Do You Want Your Lab to Be ISO Accredited?

Laboratories accredited to the international standard ISO/IEC 17025 have specifically demonstrated that they are technically competent to produce accurate and reliable test data. It assures clients that an effective management system, equipment is calibrated correctly, and that the lab meets these accredited standards.

How Does this Benefit You as the Customer?

ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation helps you minimize risk by ensuring that you are choosing a technically competent lab that has a quality system in place. When the lab goes through the accreditation process, they observe the laboratory personnel. It is imperative that the staff understands how to operate the equipment and how the equipment affects calibration results. Therefore, the personnel is technically competent.

The assessment process ensures that the lab’s environment does not invalidate the results of calibrations or adversely affect the required quality of a measurement.

They require accredited labs to meet the highest industry standards, therefore, you can be confident in the results. It allows you to avoid expensive retesting.

Primary Standard Internationally

The ISO/IEC 17025 is the international standard. It also facilitates cooperation between testing laboratories and other bodies, establishing wider acceptance of results between countries and organizations. Test reports and Certificate of Analysis (CoA) can be accepted by organizations present in different countries without the need for further testing, which leads to better international trade and avoids expensive costs of shipping your equipment overseas to be calibrated.

Due Diligence in Finding a Lab

When choosing to work with an ISO 17025 accredited laboratory, you can rest assured that your equipment will be handled accurately and in a compliant manner. Research the company and make sure that they are ISO 17025 accredited. They will be able to apply risk based thinking and a process approach to the requirements of the ISO 17025, to manage risks and drive improvement more efficiently for your lab.  For this reason working with an accredited lab, they will save you costly downtime and disruptions to your laboratory’s work schedule.