ISO/IEC 17025 (INSPECTION BODY ACCREDITATION)
It is the main ISO standard used by testing and calibration laboratories. Originally known as ISO/IEC Guide 25, it applies directly to those organizations that produce testing and calibration results.
The contents of ISO/IEC 17025 – The ISO/IEC 17025 standard itself comprises five elements that are Scope, Normative References, Terms and Definitions, Management Requirements and Technical Requirements. The two main sections in ISO/IEC 17025 are Management Requirements and Technical Requirements. Management requirements are primarily related to the operation and effectiveness of the quality management system within the laboratory. Technical requirements includes factors which determines the correctness and reliability of the tests and calibrations performed in laboratory.
Laboratories use ISO/IEC 17025 to implement a quality system aimed at improving their ability to consistently produce valid results. It is also the basis for accreditation from an accreditation body. Since the standard is about competence, accreditation is simply formal recognition of a demonstration of that competence. A prerequisite for a laboratory to become accredited is to have a documented quality management system. The usual contents of the quality manual follow the outline of the ISO/IEC 17025 standard.
Laboratory accreditation is highly regarded both nationally and internationally as a reliable indicator of technical competence. Many industries, such as the construction materials industry, routinely specify laboratory accreditation for suppliers of testing services and a passport to submit tenders to contractors that require independently verified laboratories.
laboratory accreditation uses criteria and procedures specifically developed to determine technical competence, thus assuring customers that the test, calibration or measurement data supplied by the laboratory or inspection service are accurate and reliable. Many accreditation bodies also publish a directory of their accredited laboratories, which includes the laboratories’ contact details plus information on their testing capabilities.