What to look for when selecting an accreditation body?
Is the accreditation body Recognized?
Is the assessor they have selected for you, qualified for your industry and the specific proposed scope of accreditation? It is extremely important that the assessor be qualified in the area (s) covered by the scope for accreditation. Without this, the true competency of your laboratory cannot be properly assessed.
Has the accreditation body established itself as an organization providing consistent and valued results for laboratories achieving accreditation?
Does the accreditation body utilize outside experience and expertise to assist in the review and approval of the assessment reports for laboratories seeking or maintaining accreditation?
Does the accreditation body have the necessary technical staff to manage the technical aspects of the accreditation program.
Is Laboratory Accreditation Bureau (L-A-B) internationally recognized?
L-A-B currently has full recognition by the Asia-Pacific Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (APLAC), which is one of the regional bodies of the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC). Along with this recognition, L-A-B has signed and is part of the ILAC Mutual Recognition Arrangement.
L-A-B is also recognized nationally by the North American Cooperation for Laboratory Accreditation (NACLA). The primary mission of NACLA is to evaluate U.S. laboratory accreditation bodies (ABs) and to grant recognition to those ABs found to be in compliance with NACLA procedures and the relevant international standards for competent ABs.
How about recognition from the automotive industry?
The automotive industry has recognized a number of accreditation bodies for the purpose of accrediting inspection, testing and calibration laboratories providing services to automotive industry suppliers under the QS 9000 and TS 16949 standards. L-A-B is one of the accreditation bodies accepted by the Automotive Industry.
What guiding standard does L-A-B follow?
ISO/IEC 17011 Calibration and testing laboratory accreditation systems - General requirements for operation and recognition is the governing document for the operation of accrediting bodies such as L-A-B.
The evaluations by organizations such as NACLA and APLAC are to determine the conformity of the accreditation body to this standard as well as any additional requirements the evaluating and recognition body may have.
How long has L-A-B been in operation?
L-A-B began operations in 1999 when a need for additional accreditation bodies in the USA was recognized after the automotive industry initiated new requirements within the QS 9000 and TS 16949 standards.
How many laboratories presently have accreditation from L-A-B?
L-A-B accredits nearly four hundred laboratories and growing rapidly. The list of accredited laboratories may be found on this web site under "Directory of Accredited Laboratories" found on the home page.
How may someone obtain a listing of the scope of accreditation for those laboratories accredited by L-A-B?
L-A-B publishes the listing of accredited laboratories on this web site. Look under "Directory of Accredited Labs" and then use the search capability to find the laboratory you are looking for. Once you have displayed the laboratory's listing, click on the area titled "scope" and the actual scope for the laboratory will be displayed.
How do I contact the L-A-B accredited laboratories?
Each listing of a laboratory on the L-A-B web site contains contact information in the form of a named contact person, e-mail address and web site link, where provided by the laboratory.
How do I apply for accreditation through L-A-B?
Laboratories can apply online through our website. Simply go to the "Get a Quote " button at the top of our webpage. L-A-B sales department is always available to answer any question you may have. Please contact (260) 637-2705 or e-mail [firstname.lastname@example.org]. Our website offers many helpful tools describing the accreditation process such as the "Steps to Accreditation" menu on our website.
How long does it take to achieve accreditation?
It is primarily dependent on your level of conformance to the ISO/IEC 17025 requirements. A laboratory essentially in conformance, will be able to achieve accreditation within three to four months from the time the accreditation process has started. All corrective actions and financials must be cleared prior to the granting of accreditation.
How does L-A-B's program work?
The accreditation offered by L-A-B involves a visit every twelve months in order to maintain the accreditation. After the initial accreditation is granted, the assessor will conduct an abbreviated surveillance visit in each of the following two years. The fourth year will involve a re-assessment upon successful completion of which, the accreditation will be renewed for another three years.
How does L-A-B stay up to date on the requirements?
L-A-B technical staff participate on numerous committees and organizations involved in laboratory operations and accreditation of laboratories. View a listing of the memberships L-A-B utilizes on the Memberships page on this website.
How does L-A-B qualify Assessors?
L-A-B investigates the candidate's experience in the required field. Without the appropriate technical experience, L-A-B does not take the candidate to the next step. Assessors must complete a training class, witness assessments in there field and participate as an assessment team member. After completion of the previous requirements the assessor must have demonstrated the necessary assessor attributes and have been witnessed during an assessment by one of L-A-B's staff or designated assessors. Witnessed assessments must be conducted periodically and at a frequency stipulated by L-A-B's policy in effect at the time.
Does L-A-B provide consulting services?
Accreditation Bodies are not permitted to provide consulting services, as this would constitute a conflict of interest.
L-A-B does provide a list of people or organizations offering consulting services, but will never make a recommendation on the effectiveness of the individual or organization.
How does L-A-B avoid conflict of interest within it's group of assessors?
When L-A-B talks to an assessor about a client, the assessor must inform L-A-B of any reason why his/her taking on the project for this client may be considered a conflict of interest.
After L-A-B selects the assessor, the client is notified and is provided with a copy of the assessor's Bio, which includes their past work experience. The client may reject an assessor if it can be shown that there may be a conflict of interest between parties.
How do I obtain a copy of ISO/IEC 17025?
A copy may be purchased from several organizations through immediate download. NCSLI offers copies for sale at http://www.ncsli.org/. The International Standards Organization (ISO) has licensed the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) in the USA to sell copies of the standard. To obtain a copy, go to the www.ANSI.org