Updated standard ISO/IEC 17025 for the quality management of laboratories

In order to deliver reliable measurements, laboratories must have a functional quality management system and meet the requirements of the international ISO/IEC 17025 standard. This standard was recently updated. Sirris, which has various test laboratories, does everything required to comply with this.

The ISO/IEC 17025 standard provides a framework for the quality management of laboratories and their activities: testing and calibration, both with and without sampling. This standard, which was first published in 1999 and last revised in 2005, was recently updated. This updated version (ISO/IEC 1725:2017) was restructured and includes some new requirements for testing, calibration and verification. Sirris now has two accredited test laboratories: the laboratories in Ghent and in Seraing already have ISO/IEC 17025 certificates (232-TEST). Sirris therefore made enquiries in a timely manner and undertook training provided by Belac.

What has changed?

The most important change is that the emphasis has shifted from independence to impartiality, with the focus now being on the end result of a process rather than a detailed description of the various tasks and the steps required to achieve the result. In addition, more attention is given to risks and opportunities. This means that from now on laboratories must make an assessment of their potential risks and opportunities. Attention is also paid to the increasing digitisation of documents, the risks associated with this and to metrological traceability. Furthermore, the laboratory must make concrete its decision-making rules for approval or rejection. The laboratory managers also get more decision-making rights - for example, approval from top management is no longer required.

What does this mean in practice?

Laboratories that are already accredited according to ISO IEC 17025:2005, such as the Sirris test laboratories in Ghent and Seraing, will have to change to the 2017 revised edition. A three-year transition period began with the publication of the new standard.

Sirris will do whatever is necessary and, among other things, amend both internal and external documents in accordance with the new standard. For evaluating its operation the test laboratory in Ghent uses the SWOT method and has already performed some risk analyses. These will now be further extended in accordance with the new version of the standard.
The changes bring the ISO/IEC 17025 standard into greater conformity with ISO 9001, which our test lab in Liege also complies with.

Would you like to know more about the quality tests that Sirris performs? Then take a look at the web page.