ISO/IEC 17025:2017 specifies requirements for the competence, consistent operation and impartiality of accreditation bodies assessing and accrediting conformity assessment bodies.
This standard enables laboratories to demonstrate that they operate competently and generate valid results, thereby promoting confidence in their work both nationally and internationally. It facilitates cooperation between laboratories and other bodies by generating wider acceptance of results between countries, avoiding the need for further testing.
Since February 2015, the Working Group 44 of CASCO in charge of the revision have regularly met to elaborate the new document to adapt to the changes of market conditions and technology. EA was represented by two representatives, Trevor Thomson, from UKAS, the British NAB, and Laurent Vinson, from COFRAC, the French NAB, respectively Vice Chair and Chair of the EA Laboratory Committee.
The revision will imply changes mainly on the terminology, as well as modifications on:
- the scope, to cover all laboratory activities, including testing, calibration and the sampling associated with subsequent calibration and testing;
- a new approach to align the standard with the other existing such as the ISO/IEC 17000 and ISO 9001 (quality management) and focus on the results of a process instead of the detailed description of its tasks and steps;
- the incorporation of the use of new technologies to allow, for example electronic records and results;
- the introduction of risk management to take into consideration the new version of ISO 9001:2015.
The EA Laboratory Committee is planning train-the-trainer activities for EA NAB staff and assessors in January 2018.