Measurement and risk go hand-in-hand. Risk is known to be an undesirable situation that has a high chance of occurring and causing negative consequences. Measurement focuses on exactly that, the high chance of risk and the negative consequences associated with it, such as incorrect measurement.
Measurement decision risk can be defined by ANSI/NCSLI Z540).3 as the probability that an incorrect decision will result from a measurement. To ensure measurement quality assurance, there must be an equal balance of effort and risk. In other words, the level of effort, which is a decision and a direct risk, along with the risk results, which is the consequences and the indirect risk, must be considered.
MEASUREMENT RISK IN THE LAB
To avoid measurement risk within a calibration lab, it is essential for the personnel to consider measurement uncertainty and tolerance required uncertainty (TUR) before deeming an instrument “in tolerance.” One way measurement risk can be minimized in a calibration lab is by ensuring personnel are replicating how the instrument or piece of equipment is used in the field. Other ways a calibration lab can lower measurement risk is by ensuring the staff is competent and complaint with all measurement standards and is knowledgeable in proper equipment usage.
IS YOUR LAB MINIMIZING RISK?
The best way to ensure that your calibration provider is minimizing measurement risk is to determine if the calibration lab is accredited or non-accredited. Accredited calibrations labs are required to calculate uncertainty ratio to ensure compliance with measurement standards, while non-accredited labs are not required.
Other ways to determine if your calibration provider is minimizing measurement risk include:
- Checking the types of equipment used by your calibration provider to calibrate your instrument. If better equipment is used for calibration and the equipment has a lower resolution and better repeatability, then measurement risk is being minimized.
- Ensure that your calibration provider is using low enough Calibration and Measurement Capability (CMC). This also minimized measurement risk.
- Be sure to pay attention to the uncertainty values listed in your calibration report and location of measurement. Each calibration report should include TUR values for every measurement point. By being aware of calibration repeatability and what it should be, measurement risk is minimized.