ISO/IEC 17025 – General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories
What is ISO/IEC 17025?
ISO/IEC 17025 is the main standard used by testing and calibration laboratories. There are compatible with the ISO 9001 standard, but ISO/IEC 17025 includes the concept of competence. It applies directly to those organizations that produce testing and calibration results.
There are two main sections in ISO/IEC 17025 – Management Requirements and Technical Requirements. Management requirements are primarily related to the operation and effectiveness of the quality management system within the laboratory. Technical requirements address the competence of staff, methodology and test/calibration equipment.
Laboratories use ISO/IEC 17025 to implement a quality system aimed at improving their ability to consistently produce valid results. It is also the basis for certification of the system or further accreditation of the laboratory. Since the standard is about competence, accreditation is simply formal recognition of a demonstration of that competence.
Benefits of ISO 17025 Certification
Implementing ISO/IEC 17025 as part of a laboratory’s quality program provides both laboratory and business benefits such as:
- Having access to more contracts for testing and/or calibration as some organizations only give contracts to certified or accredited labs
- Helps to get more contracts from companies that give preference to laboratories that have an ISO 17025 management system
- Improves national and global reputation and image of your laboratory
- Continually improving data quality and laboratory effectiveness
- Having a basis for most other quality systems related to laboratories, such as Good Manufacturing Practices and Good Laboratory Practices