Calibration Labels - Is it a requirement that you spell out the word calibration?


Diane Smith

On your calibration label; is it a requirement that you have the word calibration spelled out or can it say "CAL".
Also for the "due date" does it have to say "date due" or can it say "due"?
All of this is in the interest of saving space and thus cutting down on the label size.

Jerry Eldred

Forum Moderator
Super Moderator
I don't know of any requirement that specific. In one of my previous posts I believe I described how in some circumstances you may not have to have a label.

The bottom line is that you must have a method that ensures the measurements made by any instrument are properly traceable to some standard units of measure (that is a VERY abbreviated description of a lot of detail requirements).

It is not quite so important how the label is worded. What is more important is that the user/operator of the calibrated instrument knows when he or she can or cannot use that instrument to make measurements.

I have heard in some instances having a chart on a wall listing due dates for instruments (operators had to be trained to assure they knew how to understand the chart). I have heard of using color coded dots (same rules). I began developing a label-less method where all measuring instruments were on a production database with due dates entered, so that a past due instrument could not be used in the system. There are a lot of variations on what could be used.

All that rambling to say that no, it does not matter whether CAL or CALIBRATION, or DUE or DATE DUE. What is important is knowing that users absolutely know how to, and demonstrate that they know how to interpret them, and that instruments absolutely will not be used past the due date.

I might recommend that which ever wording you use, be sure it is defined in your policy, so your labeling is unambiguous.


I have to agree with Jerry - I don't know of any general requirement that specific. In every case where I have seen a detailed requirement for what should be on a calibration label, it has originated inside the organization. What goes on there is whatever YOU say belongs there.

As an example, the calibration labels from the lab I am working with have the company logo, equipment asset number, due date, initials of the technician, department number of the lab, and the department number of the owner. That information keeps QA and the government regulatory agency happy, and there is no reason for anything more. Everything is pretty small print (8 point) except the due date -- that is 12 point and bold-face to make it stand out. The whole thing is 3/4 inch high and 1 inch long, and automagically computer generated.

As Jerry mentioned, other threads have included discussion that a label may not be "needed" at all. I personally hesitate to go that far, but I have seen another system that works. This has labels of a sort, but there is no text at all on them.
  • The tools have calibration intervals in weeks.
  • The calibration lab has assigned a color to each week.
  • Each tool has a colored band or label on it. It is due for recalibration during the week of that color.

Is the system documented? Do the people affected know how to use it? Is it effective in achieving the goal?
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