Proficiency testing (PT): The determination of the calibration or testing performance ofa laboratory or the testing performance of an inspection body against pre-establishedcriteria by means of interlaboratory comparison.
Proficiency testing is one of the powerful methods of checking the validity of the test and/or calibration results. PT is the use of the inter-laboratory comparison for determining the performance of individual laboratories for specific tests/calibration. Participation in proficiency testing programmes provides laboratories with an objective means of assessing and demonstrating the reliability of data they are producing. The primary objective of proficiency testing is to provide the laboratories with an information and support to demonstrate and improve quality of their testing and/or measurements. It also supplements the laboratories own internal quality controlling procedures by adding an additional external evaluation of their testing/calibration capabilities. However, the generation of authenticated test/calibration data may be ensured by employing a suitable quality management system in the laboratory.
All ISO 17025 accredited testing and calibration laboratories are required to participate in proficiency testing programmes conducted by ISO 17025 or the nodal organizations appointed by ISO 17025.
Proficiency Testing is the use of inter-laboratory comparison for determining the performance of individual laboratories for specific tests. Participation in proficiency testing programmes provides laboratories with an objective means of assessing and demonstrating the reliability of data they are producing. The primary objective of proficiency testing is to provide the laboratories with an information and support to demonstrate and improve the quality of their analytical measurement. it also supplements the laboratories own internal quality control procedures by adding an additional external evaluation of their testing capabilities. However, to produce the authenticated test data, it is required to maintain quality management system in that laboratory .ISO/IEC 17025 has prescribed the requirements for maintenance of quality system in the testing and calibration laboratories. Testing and Calibration Laboratories use this standard in the development and implementation of their Quality system. Accreditation bodies use this standard to assess the testing / calibration laboratories for considering of accreditation.
To meet the requirements of APLAC MR001 it is mandatory for all accrediting bodies to undertake proficiency testing programmes for its accredited laboratories. All applicant laboratories are required to successfully participate in at least one Inter – Laboratory Proficiency Testing in accordance with ISO/IEC Guide-43 (I)- 1996. For this purpose all alternative techniques covered in ISO/IEC Guide-43 shall be acceptable.
For calibration laboratories, measurement audits will be considered to be a complimentary effort to Inter-Laboratory Proficiency Testing. Technical assessors for calibration laboratories will be provided with artifacts with their characterization by National Physical Laboratory, new Delhi or any other NMI’s who are signatory to BIPM including PTB and NIST. ISO 17025 regularly organizes PT programmes for its accredited as well as applicant laboratories. Non-accredited laboratories are also invited to participate in these programmes. The programmes are run through nodal laboratories identified by ISO 17025. ISO 17025 has also prepared & published ISO 17025 – 162 Guidelines for Proficiency Testing programmes for Testing and Calibration Laboratories for conducting PT programmes ISO 17025regularly participates in the PT programmes organized by APLAC and other international bodies.
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