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Updated ISO 17025 standard to be published at end of 2017

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ISO/IEC 17025 has moved to final stage of development before publication at the end of the year.

ISO/IEC 17025 has moved to final stage of development before publication at the end of the year.

The revision process is now at the Final Draft International Standard (FDIS) stage.

Scope now covers all laboratory activities including testing, calibration and the sampling associated with subsequent calibration and testing.

The International Standard, published by ISO and IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission), contains requirements enabling labs to improve ability to produce consistently valid results which gain wider acceptance between countries when labs conform to the standard.

The revised standard puts emphasis on results of a process instead of detailed description of its tasks and steps and incorporates the use of computer systems, electronic records and production of electronic results and reports.

It is being revised due to changes in the lab environment since publication more than a decade ago.

Steve Sidney, one of the convenors of the working group revising the standard, said: “The last version of ISO/IEC 17025 was published in 2005. Since then, market conditions have changed and we felt we could bring some improvements to the standard.”

Calibration, testing and analysing a sample is the daily practice of more than 60,000 labs globally.

Heribert Schorn, working group convenor, said the standard takes the new version of ISO 9001 into consideration.

“The revision was needed to cover all the technical changes, technical developments and developments in IT techniques that the industry has seen since the last version.”

The review was started in February 2015 after a joint proposal by the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) and the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS). 

Warren Merkel, another convenor of the working group, said that ISO/IEC 17025 impacts the results delivered by laboratories in a number of ways.

“The standard requires them to meet criteria for competence of their personnel, the calibration and maintenance of their equipment and the overall processes they use to generate the data. This requires laboratories to think and operate in a way that ensures their processes are under control and their data are reliable.”

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