New edition ISO/IEC 17025 improves conformity

Following a three-year revision, the new Standard for Laboratory Competence for testing and calibration labs, ISO/IEC 17025: 2017, was published by ISO in December.

The last version of ISO/IEC 17025 was published in 2005 and, since then, market conditions and technology have changed. The new version covers technical changes, vocabulary and developments in IT techniques. It also takes into consideration the latest version of ISO 9001.

The key changes are:

Scope – all laboratory activities including testing, calibration and associated sampling have been revised.

Structure – the standard now aligns with other existing ISO/IEC conformity assessment standards.

Process – the approach now matches that of newer standards such as ISO 9001 (quality management), ISO 15189 (quality of medical laboratories) and the ISO/IEC 17000 series (standards for conformity assessment activities), putting the emphasis on the results of a process.

IT –  hard-copy manuals, records and reports will gradually be replaced by electronic versions.

ISO 9001:2015 –  a new section has been added introducing the concept of risk-based thinking.

Terminology – updated to align with ISO/IEC terminology, which has a set of common terms and definitions for all standards dedicated to conformity assessment.

Global’s Managing Director commented:

“As an organisation which facilitates asbestos testing and sampling, Global Environmental will benefit from these revised standards, allowing us to demonstrate that we operate competently and generate valid results which should aide communication with clients. Cooperation between laboratories and other bodies should be improved and test reports and certificates will now be transferrable from one country to another.”