What is ISO 17025?
ISO 17025 is an internationally recognized standard used mainly by testing and calibration laboratories. Basically, when a laboratory is accredited to ISO 17025, it demonstrates competence and ensure accuracy of results for their clients. The International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) states that ISO 17025 calibration is relevant for any industry or organisation whether small or large.
For any product development, testing and calibration are critical parts of the process. Customers require assurance that their products are being tested accurately and valid results are recorded with the measurement equipment. If the equipment used undergo ISO 17025 calibration, meaning they have been calibrated by an ISO 17025 accredited calibration laboratory, this provide assurance for clients that measured results are accurate.
ISO 17025 has many similarities with ISO 9001, but ISO 17025 is more focused on proficiency and competence when it comes to measurements and it is applicable to organisations with a testing and calibration function.
Many laboratories use ISO 17025 to improve their capability to produce valid and accurate results in combination with an effective implementation of Quality Management System (QMS). Ultimately, this standard is a formal international recognition of a competent laboratory.
Importance of ISO 17025 Calibration
When a laboratory gets accredited to ISO 17025, it often changes the way how the laboratory work. The QMS implemented on basis of ISO 17025 will completely reform the current laboratory system and often introduce new policies and procedures. These changes will have a positive effect on the laboratory, its employees and clients. However, the calibration process might increase the paperwork, quality control, workload and cost of laboratory functions. Another additional workload on laboratory personnel is validation of test methods if not already completed. Calibration standards, reference material and calibration of equipments requires additional running cost.
The importance of ISO 17025 calibration can be analysed by three different perspectives; the laboratory staff, the laboratory itself and the clients. From the staff’s viewpoint, they will work with more confidence because the measurement errors and their sources can be identified easily and corrective actions can be implemented. For the laboratories, this calibration defines the capability of the laboratory to carry out certain tests which helps in formal recognition of the laboratory. Now from the Customer’s perspective, when the clients choose an accredited laboratory to perform their tests, they are sure that they are going to get accurate and valid results. This makes it easy for them to rely on the test results for their products and ultimately results in increased customer satisfaction.
Benefits of ISO 17025 Calibration
When implementing an ISO 17025 management system in a test laboratory it can often be an advantage to use an ISO 17025 Consultant. It often reduces the time and the consultants increased experience across various types of laboratories can prove to be a great advantage.
The cost of the accreditation is often covered several times in terms of the benefits it provides. Following are some of the benefits when accrediting a calibration laboratory to ISO 17025.
Qualified Working Approach
Implementation of ISO 17025 makes the job responsibilities clear for all employees. The laboratory establishes the policies and procedures which conclude which operations are required to be done by the personnel. They fulfill organisation’s expectations by following the defined policies and procedures. The reduction of errors is improved by implementing risk management approach. These efforts for acquiring a professional approach will help the organisation become more competitive and their services become more reliable.
For any business, customer relations are very important. ISO 17025 helps laboratories build a positive relation with their customers by acknowledging their feedback. Confidentiality also plays a very important role in building trust with the customers.
Capability manifestation assures that only skilled and trained staff can perform laboratory tests. For this the laboratory has to implement high-tech testing procedures. The laboratory personnel must be aware of all the procedures and they should be able to handle all the errors or difficulties that may arise during the process. The manifestation of capabilities assure that the tests and their results are valid. It also helps to make the laboratory’s reputation sustainable.
The most important benefit of an ISO 17025 accreditation is the validity of final results. The results of tests may vary due to many factors depending upon nature of testing and an ISO 17025 accredited laboratory has the controls in place to minimize the range of variation. Thus, the final results are valid and accurate.
If you are looking to get your test or calibration laboratory accredited to ISO 17025, then contact us for a free consultation on how we can help with your project.