IS/ISO/IEC 17025:2017 Clause 4.1 Impartiality

#1
Hi everyone. I want to have some insights related to the section Impartiality which has been added to the revised guidance document IS/ISO/IEC 17025:2017. Under this section they have mentioned requirements for impartiality in four scentences which do have a vast meaning which can be interpreted and applied in various ways. What i want to know ours is a testing laboratory which has been recognized by NABL, now how can we implement imaprtiality?? Does it require to establish a new procedure?? or else we can justify that the requirements stated under impartiality section are getting indirectly reflected in our existing procedures?? If it requires to establish a new procedure for impartiality, then should we reflect impartiality for the technical sytem or process or management system??

Thanks in advance.
 
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Benjamin Weber

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#2
The requirements regarding impartiality are not completely new in 17025:2017. Similar requirements were already in the 2005 edition, see subclauses 4.1.4, 4.1.5 b) and 4.1.5 d) (here impartiality is explicitely mentioned!).

So actually, when your lab was already accredited to the 2005 edition, there shouldn't be much to do for compliance with the 2017 edition.

17025:2017 goes a little more into detail when it comes to impartiality and gives a few examples (e.g. in the note to subclause 4.1.4).

What you should now do is:

(1) Have a procedure to identify the possible risks, that could lead to a loss of impartiality. Since there is no requirement, how this should be done, you are free to choose a way, that fits you. This might be a formal risk analyis or just a meeting, where you discuss these possible risks.

(2) Record the identified risks and the evaluate, if you have to take any precautions to minimize the risks.

(3) In case you identified risks, where you have to act you should record the implementations.

(4) Re-identify and re-evaluate the risks regularly, e.g. once a year and when certain triggers might occur (complaints, audits, lab acqusisiton by another economic stakeholder, management review)

There are some general aspects that might affect impartiality:
- There is only one client you work for (or one client that generate the majority of your sales volume): You maybe are willing to deliver "client-friendly" test results, because the dissatified client may go to another lab and as result you get into financial problems.
- There is a relation between the lab staff and the client, e.g. one tester owns a lot of shares of a client company, is the brother-in-law of the owner of the client company or similar. These are typical conflicts of interests, that should at least be disclosed and recorded.

I hope this helps a littel to clarify.
 
#3
The requirements regarding impartiality are not completely new in 17025:2017. Similar requirements were already in the 2005 edition, see subclauses 4.1.4, 4.1.5 b) and 4.1.5 d) (here impartiality is explicitely mentioned!).

So actually, when your lab was already accredited to the 2005 edition, there shouldn't be much to do for compliance with the 2017 edition.

17025:2017 goes a little more into detail when it comes to impartiality and gives a few examples (e.g. in the note to subclause 4.1.4).

What you should now do is:

(1) Have a procedure to identify the possible risks, that could lead to a loss of impartiality. Since there is no requirement, how this should be done, you are free to choose a way, that fits you. This might be a formal risk analyis or just a meeting, where you discuss these possible risks.

(2) Record the identified risks and the evaluate, if you have to take any precautions to minimize the risks.

(3) In case you identified risks, where you have to act you should record the implementations.

(4) Re-identify and re-evaluate the risks regularly, e.g. once a year and when certain triggers might occur (complaints, audits, lab acqusisiton by another economic stakeholder, management review)

There are some general aspects that might affect impartiality:
- There is only one client you work for (or one client that generate the majority of your sales volume): You maybe are willing to deliver "client-friendly" test results, because the dissatified client may go to another lab and as result you get into financial problems.
- There is a relation between the lab staff and the client, e.g. one tester owns a lot of shares of a client company, is the brother-in-law of the owner of the client company or similar. These are typical conflicts of interests, that should at least be disclosed and recorded.

I hope this helps a littel to clarify.

Thank you so much Benajmin for the clarification, information you have provided.
 

Tallinec

Starting to get Involved
#4
Venkatesh Swamy,

In you procedure or in other document: 1)you shall list up available and possible risks of impartiality; 2)to provide actions to be done or actions in progress to eliminate/minimize identified risks of impartiality (see 1).

Examples:

Available risk of impartiality: salaries of technicians depend on number of issued testing reports.
Action to be done to eliminate the risk: to add in labor contracts of technicians a provision that their salary does not depend on number of issued testing reports.

or:
Possible risk of impartiality: owner of lab presses technicians to use obscure wording in testing reports.
Action to be done to minimize the risk: to add in labor contracts of technicians a provision that in professional activities they take orders only from the senior technician of lab.
 
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