APLAC - A2LA - ISO/IEC Guide 43-1 (1997) - 17025 - Laboratory Proficiency Testing


Fully vaccinated are you?
Laboratory Proficiency Testing

> Date: Tue, 5 Oct 1999 17:12:30 EDT
> What if no one else out in this large world performs your type of proficiency
> testing? We for example perform Irradiance calibrations of Xenon Arc sources,
> how do we participate where there are no others?
> Bob Buerger
> Atlas Electric Devices
> 773-327-3005 ext. 477


Date: Wed, 06 Oct 1999 19:02:35 -0500
From: George Kugler
To: Greg Gogates

Hello All,

With reference to proficiency testing.

Guide 25 states the definition in section 3.15, where appropriate in 4.2.j, reference to in 5.2.n, participation in in sections 5.6.b and 9.3.

The definition in section 3.15 as copied from the Standard states "Determination of the laboratory calibration or testing performance by means of interlaboratory comparisons."

I take this to mean that proficiency testing is defined as interlaboratory comparisons and that the latter applies.

I would like to hear comments regarding this as I believe proficiency testing is interlaboratory comparisons.

Somewhat confused.

George Kugler
Automation Concepts


Date: Fri, 15 Oct 1999 06:17:28 -0400
From: "Kenneth A. Grams"
To: Greg Gogates
Subject: Re: Accuracy


The practice of measuring a .000020 tolerance hole with a gage pin regardless of the pins accuracy is not usually considered good practice. It is very difficult to put a pin that has a diameter of .0001"-.0002" smaller into a hole. Secondly, reaming does not generate a hole with that tolerance. It usually has to be jig ground and lapped. For example, your typical XX Class ring gages are made to that .000020" tolerance and they are defininately not reamed! The normal practice is using air gages or dial bore gages with the appropriate indicator. The problem you may encounter is that the hole size may not lend itself to this method. When dealing with holes smaller that .25, an air gage is about your only choice. The pins will only get you in the "BALLPARK". Forget the pins!

Ken Grams CMM Services, Inc
Date: Fri, 8 Oct 1999 09:45:21 -0400
From: "Peter S. Unger"
To: 'Greg Gogates'

To dispel the possible misunderstanding that proficiency testing is not required by laboratory accreditation bodies, I thought it best to share with you the APLAC (Asia Pacific Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation) Policy on Proficiency Testing Requirements approved at the APLAC General Assembly meeting in October 1998:

3.3 Proficiency testing and other interlaboratory comparisons

(a) An applicant body to the APLAC MRA for calibration and/or for testing needs to demonstrate the technical competence of its accredited laboratories by their satisfactory participation in proficiency testing activity where such activity is available. The minimum amount of appropriate proficiency testing required per laboratory is:- one activity prior to gaining accreditation; one activity relating to each major part of their scope of accreditation at least every four years.

Note 1. Appropriate proficiency testing activity includes international or national interlaboratory comparison or measurement audits run or approved by the accreditation body itself. Preference should be given to international interlaboratory comparisons (i.e., APLAC, EA or equivalent) where these are available.

Note 2. Four years is the maximum interval. Accreditation bodies are encouraged to shorten that interval where there are significant changes to a laboratory's staff or scope of accreditation.

Note 3. An applicant body should use proficiency testing programs which comply with the operational procedures detailed in ISO/IEC Guide 43-1 (1997).

Note 4. An applicant body should fully document its policies and procedures in relation to the selection and use of proficiency testing programs (refer ISO/IEC Guide 43-2 (1997)).

(b) An applicant body needs to demonstrate that the proficiency testing its accredited or applicant laboratories undertake is effective, linked to the assessment process and that appropriate corrective action is carried out when necessary.

(c) APLAC runs proficiency testing programmes and interlaboratory comparisons (ILCs) in some fields of testing and calibration. Every applicant or signatory to the MRAs for calibration and testing shall participate, as far as available and practicable, in order to verify the competence of its accredited laboratories.

The European cooperation for Accreditation (EA) has similar requirements. Proficiency testing is one of the major confidence building activities undertaken by EA and APLAC among the signatories to their respective mutual recognition arrangements (MRAs). An applicant accreditation body to either the APLAC MRA or EA MRAs must participate and satisfactorily complete recognized proficiency testing activity as a prerequisite before acceptance as a signatory can be extended. The developing MRA of the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation *(ILAC) is likely to have similar requirements for proficiency testing activity.

Proficiency testing is not only a good tool to be used by laboratories to ascertain their performance against others, I trust it is now well understood that it is a fundamental evaluation tool used by accreditation bodies to demonstrate satisfactory performance of its accredited labs. When that performance is determined to be unsatisfactory, then appropriate corrective actions need to be implemented and reviewed. So when proficiency testing is available and deemed appropriate and directly relevant to a laboratory's scope of accreditation, participation is required.


Peter Unger
A2LA President
5301 Buckeystown Pike, Suite 350
Frederick, MD 21704
Direct Line: 301 644 3212; Fax: 301 662 2974
Web: www.a2la.org
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