What is ISO 17025 Compliant?
While researching calibration laboratories, you may come across an organization that is ISO 17025 compliant. ISO compliance communicates that a laboratory follows the standard, but has not passed or completed an audit with an accrediting body. This can be confusing because there is no simple way to verify that a lab is compliant to the ISO/IEC 17025 standard unless the accreditation process has been completed. Imagine someone getting pulled over and telling a police officer that they are driver’s license compliant, this is the same principle.
Why Choose an Accredited Calibration Laboratory vs an ISO 17025 Compliant Laboratory
Organizations often choose an accredited laboratory over an ISO 17025 compliant laboratory to mitigate risk, increase confidence, and meet quality requirements. The International Organization of Standards created 17025 as a recognizable global standard of quality and conformance. Laboratories that pass all necessary audits are awarded the accreditation, which communicates proven effectiveness of testing efforts and verification of the quality management system. The risk of process variance, inappropriate testing conditions, and poor documentation are substantially reduced when working with an accredited laboratory.
Proof of Conformance
The confirmation of performance by an accrediting body simplifies the conformance verification process for most organizations. The majority of companies find that verifying quality by checking accreditation status is much easier than conducting their own audits. Even if an organization were to research internal controls and processes, they may not know what to look for in regards to conformance.
- Technical competence of laboratory staff
- Effectiveness and conformance of test methods
- Suitability of testing environment and sampling
- Maintenance of test equipment
- Verification of test and calibration data quality
- Traceability of measurements and calibration methods to recognized standards
Quality Requirements & Guidelines
Internal, customer, or regulatory guidelines are becoming firmer with time. Requirements will often dictate the use of a third party, ISO 17025 accredited calibration laboratory. Many times this is to decrease risk throughout a supply chain.
When choosing a calibration laboratory, don’t mistake ISO 17025 compliance with accreditation. Although the terms sound similar, they are not the same. Review any quality guidelines to check if there is a requirement to use an ISO/IEC accredited laboratory. To ensure that a laboratory can meet quality requirements, review the Scope of Accreditation.