1. Questions for Laboratories to be Accredited
Dr. Muayad Koji Talal Khalid Hassan
President of KSQCA QC & QM Expert
These questions are designed to assist testing and calibration laboratories set up a quality management
system that conforms to (ISO 17025:2005), the international standard for laboratory quality
management systems. Compliance with this standard provides a globally accepted base for laboratory
accreditation. The standard specifies the management and technical requirements to be met by
testing and calibration laboratories in both their organization and their management of quality.
Answering these questions will enable laboratories to identify where their current operations meet the
requirements of ISO 17025 as well as the areas where they do not. It will also guide them in develop
systems capable of achieving compliance. These questions are put in the a way to cover most
requirements of ISO 17025 and classified them to categories that makes compliance easier to achieve:
1. The quality system and its components:
The work was done by a properly qualified person who had been trained in the relevant
technical operations and had access to all information necessary to the proper execution of the
The method used was technically sound and appropriate to the sample and to the requirements
of the client?
The equipment used was properly maintained and calibrated at the time the data was
All appropriate quality control checks were carried out and the results of such controls fell within
the specifications? With respect to your management and organization.
Are there clearly assigned responsibilities for management of quality?
Are procedures in place specifically designed to ensure quality is maintained?
Are these procedures documented?
Do you have a mechanism for approval of this documentation and for ensuring that all copies
issued are kept up to date?
Do you monitor the arrangements for managing quality to ensure they are fully implemented
and being followed by all?
Where quality problems occur do you have a mechanism for taking corrective action which seeks
to develop the quality system so that a recurrence of the problem is unlikely?
Do you have a mechanism for identifying potential quality problems and taking action to prevent
Do you have a mechanism for identifying opportunities to improve the effectiveness of your
2. Monitoring and maintenance of the quality system:
Do you have a mechanism for checking that your arrangements for quality management are
being operated on a day-to-day basis by all staff?
2. Where this is found not to be the case, do you have a mechanism for taking corrective action to
ensure that the situation is remedied and not likely to recur?
Do you use the information from any quality problem to enable you to identify where the
quality system can be improved and do you act on this?
Do you have mechanisms to monitor trends in quality performance so that failures can be
anticipated and dealt with before they become critical?
Do you have mechanisms in place to scrutinize the quality system for areas where improvements
might be possible?
Do you review the performance of your quality system to determine whether it is delivering the
objectives which you have identified for it?
Do you have a record of the qualifications and experience of your staff, with objective evidence of
their qualifications, for example copies of certificates?
Do you have a clear record with regard to your proposed scope of accreditation of which
members of staff are authorized to conduct each test or calibration?
Do you have a documented procedure for training staff in quality issues and technical procedures,
Do you have a documented procedure for conducting evaluation of the competence of
staff after training and before authorizing them for the procedure in which they were
Do you have a system for recording training, including objective evidence of
Do you have a mechanism for identifying which staff conducted each procedure, test or
4. Accommodation and environmental conditions:
Have you considered whether there are any environmental factors in your laboratory which might
impact on the validity of tests or calibrations?
Are you conducting any tests or calibrations where the published procedure which you claim to
follow includes a requirement for the work to be done under specific environmental conditions,
for example temperature or humidity?
If there are such factors, do you have procedures in place to control and monitor them?
Do you have any activities which need to be separated to avoid, for example, cross
Do you have procedures in place which will create an objective, auditable record that
environmental conditions which might affect tests or calibrations are controlled and monitored?
Do you have clear instructions to staff on actions to be taken when conditions move out of
5. Test and calibration methods, method validation and quality control:
Do you have a set of methods specified as acceptable for use in your laboratory?
Are they documented to the extent necessary to ensure they are applied properly and
Does your laboratory use standard methods which are published and widely accepted?
If not, have you evidence to show that the methods you are using are fit for the purpose claimed
and acceptable to your clients?
3. Have you determined the accuracy, precision and, where relevant, the limit of detection of the
methods which you use, including standard published methods?
Do you run routine quality control samples and evaluate the results before releasing data?
Do you monitor trends in quality control results in order to anticipate possible problems?
Have you tested your methods and laboratory by use of certified reference methods and/or inter
Do you have a system for commissioning equipment and verifying its performance and
calibration before it is used for test or calibration work?
Do you have a plan for periodic calibration and verification of the performance of all equipment
which affects the validity of measurements?
Do you have records showing that this plan is followed and which enable the status of any
equipment to be verified at any point in its history of use?
Is equipment subject to regular checks or calibrations labeled so that its status can be seen
immediately by users?
7. Traceability of measurement:
Have you identified all the measuring equipment which is involved, directly or indirectly, in
measurement or calibration and which, if not properly calibrated, would affect the validity of
Is this equipment calibrated in a manner which provides traceability to the international
Do you have a management procedure to ensure that the calibration is maintained at all times,
i.e. recalibration is conducted as necessary and, where possible, equipment is monitored so that
any drift away from calibration will be detected?
Do you have records which could be audited to confirm the calibration status of the equipment at
any point in the past?
8. Administration of work and sample tracking:
Do you have procedure for logging samples into your laboratory?
Are all samples uniquely numbered as soon as practicable after receipt?
Does your system ensure that samples are stored securely and in a way that will preserve them
against any changes which may affect data generated from them?
Do you have a system for ensuring that the procedures required to be carried out on samples are
clearly communicated to laboratory staff?
Do you have a procedure to ensure reports are checked to make sure they correspond to the raw
9. Recording of results and associated data:
Does your system ensure that all observations are recorded at the time when they are made?
In this record, is the raw data always preserved so that any problems can be investigated?
Do you have a policy on how amendments to entries on laboratory records are to be made?
Does the system allow the person making any record to be identified?
10. Computer systems:
4. Do you have control of what software may be loaded onto any of your computers?
Are all computer systems, including software, checked to ensure that they record and process
Is all software secured against unauthorized changes?
Do you have records showing when software was updated and that checks were made on its
correct functioning after update?
Do you have a procedure for regular backup of data held on computers?
11. Reporting requirements:
Do you have a defined report format?
Does this comply with the detailed requirements of ISO 17025?
Does your system ensure reports always reach only those entitled to receive them?
Does the report acknowledge subcontracted work?
Do you have a policy on how to deal with situations where it becomes apparent that suspect data
has been reported?
Do you have a clear identification of staff authorized to approve reports?
12. Purchasing services and supplies:
Do you take steps to control the quality of any purchased goods or services which might affect the
validity of your data?
Do you have a list of approved suppliers and a policy on their selection ?
Do you keep this list under review and remove any suppliers found to be inadequate from a
Do you have a system for checking all received materials against the order specifications?
Do you evaluate the suitability of any sub-contractors used against a defined set of criteria?
Do you have a list of these approved sub-contractors?
Do you have a mechanism which ensures that the use of any sub-contractors found unsatisfactory
Do you obtain clearance from clients before sub-contracting work?