ISO 17025 is an international standard designed specially for testing and calibration laboratories. It covers testing and calibrations performed using standard methods, non-standard methods and laboratory developed methods. It is applicable to all organisations involved in the performance of testing or calibration regardless of the number of personnel or the extent of the scope of testing and/or calibration activities. For many organisations the ISO 17025 requirements apply only to a part of their business, as they will have customer requirements to have an accredited laboratory. For many it is a commercial decision, giving them access to business that can only provide because they are an accredited laboratory.
For organisations that already have QMS (Quality Management System) e.g. ISO 9001, ISO 13485, AS9100 or TS 16949 the standard will appear different. It has only two main requirements. Clause 4 specifies the requirements for sound management which is similar to Clause 4 of ISO 9001. Clause 5 on the other hand specifies the requirements for technical competence for the type of tests and/or calibrations undertaken by the laboratory. Even though at Almir Business we normally promote integrated management systems, in most cases for ISO 17025 we would recommend that a separate management system is established. The main reason for this approached is that difference in requirements for ISO 17025 and it also helps for audits at a later stage.
The awarding of accreditation to the International Standard is controlled, in Ireland, by the Irish National Accreditation Board, INAB. INAB have outlined a process is to guide organisations through accreditation consisting of the initial enquiry stage, application, pre-assessment, assessment, clearance of non-compliances, recommendation to the INAB Board, Award of accreditation and Maintenance of accreditation. Full details of this process is available on www.INAB.ie .
Almir Business has successfully implemented ISO 17025:2005 in several client organisations across both testing and calibration disciplines and are currently assisting a client in the food sector with their implementation project relating to testing methodologies. Should you require any more information regarding ISO 17025:2005, please contact Brian Lyons, firstname.lastname@example.org or 086 8218869.