ISO 17025 Accreditation

What is Accreditation?

Accreditation is a voluntary, third party-reviewed process. As part of accreditation, a laboratory's quality management system is thoroughly evaluated on a regular basis to ensure continued technical competence and compliance with ISO 17025. Laboratory accreditation can only be granted by an accreditation body, or AB. Although there are a number of accreditation bodies in the world, customers should choose calibration and testing laboratories accredited by ABs having an MRA with ILAC.

What is the difference between accreditation and certification?

Certification : third-party attestation related to products, processes, systems or persons.
Accreditation : third-party attestation related to a conformity assessment body conveying formal demonstration of its competence to carry out specific conformity assessment tasks.

Reference : ISO/IEC 17000:2004 - Conformity assessment - Vocabulary and general principles

What are the benefits of being ISO 17025 accredited laboratory?

These are some of the key benefits of being accredited.

  • Building Trust
    In the global industry, customers are becoming more demanding and seeking assurances on the products and services you provide them. By getting accreditation, your customers will have the confidence in the quality of products and services that you provide. This will enable you to build trust between you and your customer.
  • International Recognition
    Through the various mutual recognition arrangements between accreditation bodies, overseas markets will accept your company more readily if they know you have been certified by a SAC accredited certification body or accept your test results or inspections if you are an accredited laboratory or inspection body.
  • Minimises Risk
    Accredited organisations reduce the risk of providing unreliable test results, services and products, and are able to meet the customers’expectations.
  • Reduce Costs
    Although accreditation comes at a cost, the cost savings resulting from being accredited will outweigh the cost of accreditation. Cost savings may result from improve productivity, reduce downtime, reduction of re-testing, etc.
  • Demonstrate credibility
    No organisation will want to spend money on getting a report or certificate that has not been accredited by a competent body. A SAC accredited organisation is able to demonstrate competence for the report or certificate through its sound management system and the use of trained and competence personnel.

    Lab accreditation recognizes a lab's technical capability and is usually specific for tests of the systems, products, components, or materials for which the lab claims proficiency. Accreditation allows a lab to determine whether it is performing its work correctly and according to appropriate standards. This does not guarantee that a given analytical result is correct, but it does establish standards that must by met and a framework approach to detect nonconformities when they occur. Good labs will have defensible results, but accreditation means that the results are defensible to a recognized standard that does not change when lab personnel or circumstances change.

What is the ILAC MRA? Why is it Important?

In order for accreditation bodies to recognize each others' accreditations, the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) developed a standard for accreditation bodies: ISO/IEC 17011. ABs having a Mutual Recognition Arrangement (or MRA) with ILAC agree to maintain conformity with the current version of 17011 and to regularly submit themselves and their own quality management systems to peer review. By complying with ISO 17011, ABs demonstrate that they are capable of accrediting testing and/or calibration laboratories to the ISO 17025 standard. In essence, the ILAC arrangement guarantees that test results are mutually acceptable between different governmental and regulatory organizations on regional, national and international levels and that these test results meet the same minimum standards for quality regardless of the lab's accreditation body. Each member of the agreement recognizes other members' accredited laboratory as if they themselves had performed the calibration because the MRA ensures that each laboratory is actually complying with the same minimum standards.

The increasing popularity of ISO 17025 as a means of insuring product quality has spawned a flurry of demand for compliance.

THE 10 STEPS for ISO 17025 accreditation:
  1. Read the Standard for familiarity.
  2. Hire a consultant like Lakshy to partner your ISO 17025 implementation. Create/Revise a checklist for compliance with the consultant.
  3. Conduct an internal audit to the checklist.
  4. If no non-conformities are found, skip to step 8.
  5. Otherwise, list non-conformities and relate each to a specific clause of ISO 17025.
  6. Change the process and /or documentation to eliminate the non-conformities.
  7. Go to step 2.
  8. Schedule and host an audit by a certified ISO 17025 registrar.
  9. Change the process and /or documentation to eliminate the non-conformities.
  10. Schedule a follow-up audit or communication to clear any non-conformities.