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Quality Digest


New Edition of ISO/IEC 17025 Published

Published: Tuesday, June 7, 2005 - 22:00

The International Organization for Standardization and the International Electrotechnical Commission recently published a new version of ISO/IEC 17025, the influential standard for testing and calibration laboratories. ISO/IEC 17025:2005 was released, among other reasons, to ensure compatibility with ISO 9001, a requirement made in an amendment to ISO/IEC 17025:1999. The new version also seeks to clarify that while the two standards are compatible, they aren’t interchangeable. Although both standards can be used by laboratories as a framework for providing customers with confidence that they’re properly managing their activities, only ISO/IEC 17025 can be used to demonstrate technical competence specific to laboratories.

ISO/IEC 17025:2005 contains all of the requirements that testing and calibration laboratories must meet to demonstrate to customers and regulators that they operate a sound management system and can generate technically valid results. Accreditation bodies that recognize testing and calibration laboratories will use the standard as the basis for accreditation.

“ISO/IEC 17025 benefits business, government and society at large,” says Alan Bryden, ISO secretary-general. “Confidence in the competence of laboratories is frequently needed by businesses when testing new products, or ensuring that finished products are for sale by government regulators and trade officials that require assurance about domestic or imported products before they can be placed on the market, or for ensuring the quality or reliability of testing and analysis relating to environmental, health or safety hazards.”

There are no essential changes in the technical requirements of ISO/IEC 17025:2005. The modifications mainly relate to the management requirements reflecting the content of ISO 9001, giving in particular a greater emphasis on the responsibilities of top management, the need to demonstrate continuous improvement in management systems and customer satisfaction, and on internal and customer communication about the management system.

More than 25,000 laboratories worldwide have been accredited to ISO/IEC 17025, according to ISO. The influence of the standard is even more significant, because many countries require its use. The International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation has set a transition period of two years from the date of ISO/IEC 17025:2005’s publication—May 12—for accredited laboratories to comply with its requirements.

For more information, visit www.iso.org.


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