ISO 17025 Laboratory Competence and Calibration
If you operate in a scientific research setting, your end customer has the right to expect results that are worth far more than the paper they are written on.
Accurate readings are the intended output of all organisations displaying an ISO 17025 accreditation. This standard is also known as Laboratory Competence and Calibration, though it is not designed solely for laboratories. Other organisations for which the standard is relevant include universities, research centres, governments, regulators, inspection bodies and product certification organisations.
Any business that undertakes activities that include science-based readings in order to measure an outcome – including sampling and calibration – is likely to benefit from achieving ISO 17025. The accreditation is also of use to engineers working on site who need to be certain that the readings they feed into their processes are accurate.
The standard was updated as recently as 2017 to reflect changes urged by the International Electrotechnical Commission that strengthen the original version of ISO 17025 accreditation. The latest iteration was developed in association with laboratories around the world. It now reflects other quality management standards, such as those set out in ISO 9001 Quality+.
Why ISO 17025 accreditation gets great results
There are several requirements for organisations looking to achieve this accreditation. Your processes must be:
- Error assessed
- Regularly audited and fed into wider management reviews.
There are wide benefits to achieving ISO 17025 accreditation. These include the ability to demonstrate competent operation and valid results; increase confidence in your work thanks to achieving a globally recognised standard; and the knock-on effect of continuously galvanising co-operation between scientific testing companies around the world.
If you perform tests for others, then ISO 17025 is also the standard used to demonstrate that your calibrations are carried out reliably and accurately. For example, if your business calibrates instruments for third parties, then the calibration aspect of the standard will apply to you. In the UK, this standard is only assessed and awarded by the UK Accreditation Service (UKAS).