Laboratory Q&A

Q: Can a company be accredited if it doesn't have a laboratory facility, and performs only on-site (field) calibrations?

A: There is no requirement that there be a physical laboratory. A number of accredited CMM and surface plate calibration laboratories do all of their work on-site.

Q: When performing on-site calibration, is it mandatory to have our own standard, or can we use the customer’s standards, rented standards, or other borrowed standards?

A: It is not mandatory that a laboratory own the standards it uses. They may be leased or the customer’s standard may be used as long as the standard used meets the traceability requirements of ISO/IEC 17025 and ILAC P10. It’s the laboratory’s responsibility to ensure those requirements are met.

Q: We are finishing our internal audit prior to a visit from ACLASS next month. Our internal auditor is issuing a nonconformance for a calibration he witnessed. The technician did not use an accredited standard to monitor the environment, nor did she record the environmental conditions (temperature and humidity) on the certificate of calibration. I reviewed several certifications from my calibration standards that are calibrated by accredited laboratories and none of the certifications list the instrument that was used to record environmental conditions. Is this a nonconformance?

A: ISO/IEC 17025 requires that there be enough information on the certificate to replicate the conditions of the calibration. This is why the temperature and humidity have to be recorded. The traceability requirements for all standards used apply to environmental monitoring instruments, too, but there is no requirement to record the specific instrument used.

Q: What are the requirements to be compliant with ANSI Z540 aside from those listed in the ACLASS checklist?

A: It's not clear if you’re referring to ANSI/NCSL Z540-1 or Z540.3, but in both cases the ACLASS checklist is designed to cover all the requirements not already covered by ISO/IEC 17025. There are no additional requirements and ACLASS only assesses labs already accredited (or in the process of being accredited) to ISO/IEC 17025 to those two national standards.