Accreditation of Testing Laboratories
Accreditation of a testing laboratory consists in a formal recognition granted by a third party (in Italy, ACCREDIA www.accredia.it), that proves the laboratory’s technical competence in performing some identified tests. This must not be confused with the overall recognition of the laboratory.
ACCREDIA grants the accreditation for certain tests when the laboratory proves that its activities comply with the requirements of the international standard ISO/IEC 17025:“General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories”. This standard refers to testing laboratories, indicating either the laboratories of chemical analyses, chemistry-physics, microbiology, or the mechanical and electric testing laboratories. Besides the technical competence, the laboratory must prove to have put into practice the basic principles of any quality management system (whose reference standards are the ISO 9000 series).
In order to comply with the UNI CEI EN ISO/IEC 17025 standard, a laboratory must adjust its operational and organizational methods to two different and complementary categories of requirements set by the standard:
Management requirements: similar to ISO 9001 ones and including not only the implementation of a documentary system , describing carefully and clearly the way in which the laboratory is able to ensure the reliability of the tests, but also the organization and structure of the laboratory, the assessment of suppliers, the management of orders, the control of documents and data, the management of advertising, non-compliance, corrective and preventive actions, the internal audits and the re-examinations of the quality management system;
Technical requirements, such as the personnel’s skill, management of the equipment, (this is also provided by UNI EN ISO 9001), of the samples, the reference materials, the samples to be tested and the carrying out of tests, the knowledge of the measure's uncertainty related to tests, the expression of results in a test report.
The test reports of accredited laboratories are validated in all the countries which signed an agreement of mutual recognition with ACCREDIA. In order to have an updated list of the signatories countries, please visit the EA (European Cooperation for Accreditation - website: www.european-accreditation.org)