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What is a Scope of Accreditation?

What is a Scope of Accreditation?

A scope of accreditation is the official and detailed statement of activities the laboratory is accredited for. In essence, it is an formal list of tests and/or calibrations that your laboratory is accredited to perform.

When you are looking to becoming accredited to ISO/IEC 17025, the scope is a critical part of this process – much more detailed than Scope requirements in other ISO Management System Standards (like ISO 9001). Many laboratories forget about the importance of defining their scope when getting accredited or re-accredited. Rather than careful consideration, organizations will often quickly put their scope together and submit it the accreditation body without thoroughly considering what activities they want to be accredited to perform. When defining your scope, you should consider what is functional for both you and your customers.

In essence the scope of accreditation serves two purposes:

  1. To define the specific areas the laboratory’s activities that are to be covered the the accreditation
  2. To provide the user of an accredited laboratory with a clear idea of the specific calibrations covered by the accreditation.

Flexibility of Scope

Organizations need to consider the level of detail included within the scope of accreditation to ensure that there is an empirical balance between the amount of information needed by users of the accredited laboratory and the flexibility on the part of accredited laboratories to offer their services within appropriate scopes of their recognized competence.

If your scope is too detailed this can result in unnecessary demands for constant changes in scopes of accreditation. In return this can cause process delays and unwarranted restriction of competent services to laboratory users. On the other hand, when there is too little detail this can result in a laboratory offering accredited calibration service in an area of which it can not be assessed.

When you are trying to find the balance between the detail and flexibility of your scope, you should consider the organization’s ability to update or modify generic methods, or to implement new methods. 

How to Create A Scope Of Accreditation

Follow the five step process listed below to develop your laboratory scope:

  1. Contact your Accreditation Body and Get the Draft Template.
  2. Read your Accreditation Body’s policies and requirements.
  3. Research other laboratory scopes with similar capabilities.
  4. Enter your data into the Scope of Accreditation template.
  5. Submit it to your accreditation body with your application.

When you create the your scope the form should include:

  • Name,
  • Location,
  • Technical or Quality Manager,
  • Contact information,
  • Certificate number,
  • Expiration date, and
  • List of accredited activities.

Many laboratories use their scope to attract potential and future customers, and if you plan to do the same it is important that you keep your scope up-to-date.

Testing Labs vs Calibration Labs

For Testing Laboratories the scope must include the tests or types of tests performed and materials or products tested and, when necessary which methods used. For Calibration Laboratories the scope must include the calibrations, encompassing the types of measurements performed, the Calibration and Measurement Capability (CMC) or equivalent.

In general, most testing laboratory scopes of accreditation do not include statements or estimates of measurement uncertainty; making it challenging for customers to compare the capability and quality of testing laboratories. In this industry, the scope of accreditation should allow customers to confidently find and select a laboratory that will meet their requirements, and provide reassurance, and that is why working with a laboratory that is accredited to ISO/IEC 17025 is ideal. 

Below, you will find testing and calibration labs and their parameters. Please expand each tab for more information.

Testing Areas and Parameters

The following are examples of parameters within each testing area. Check those testing parameters for which your laboratory is seeking accreditation. If you do not see your parameter, check “other” and specify in the space provided. This document is used in conjunction with the draft scope of accreditation above.

Acoustics and vibration

Biological/microbiological

Pharmaceutical/nutraceutical

Biotechnology/biochemical

Chemical

Animal drug testing

Paint

Fasteners

Fertilizers

Metals

Solvents

Inorganics/organics

Coal

Other-specify:      

Construction materials

Dimensional inspection/measurement

Electrical

Environmental

Air

Asbestos

Environmental lead

Water

Bioassay

Radon

Underground storage

Solid/hazardous wastes

Other 

Mechanical

Fasteners and metals

Paint

Plastics

Rubber

Windows and doors

Paper

Other     

Non-destructive

Optical/photometric/radiometric:

Ionizing radiation

Thermal

Multi-disciplinary

Information technology

Medical/veterinary

Forensic

Occupational

Health/hygiene

Food/beverage

Calibration/Measurement Areas and Parameters

The following are examples of parameters within each calibration area. Check the calibration parameters for which your laboratory is seeking accreditation. If you do not see your parameter, check “other” and specify in the space provided. This document is used in conjunction with the draft scope of accreditation above.

Dimensional

Angularity    

Gage blocks    

Hand tools (mics, calipers)    

Step gages    

Measuring wires   

Laser frequency/wavelength    

UMM/bench micrometers    

Roundness    

Surface texture

Optical reference planes    

OD cylindrical diameter    

ID cylindrical diameter    

CMMs

Threaded product    

Height gages    

Surface plates   

Radius gages   

Indicators

LVDT

Microscopes   

Video/optical measuring machines    

Other

Mechanical

Air speed   

Flow rate (air or liquid)   

Hydrometers   

Mass   

Volume   

Force   

Density

Ultrasonic reference block    

Ultrasonic transducer    

Vibration    

Torque   

Pressure/vacuum

Hardness testers    

Acoustics     

Scales and balances    

Pipettes     

Other    

Thermodynamic

Humidity    

Thermometry    

IR thermometry    

Thermocouples/pyrometer indicators

Other    

Electromagnetic – DC/Low Frequency

DC voltage    

AC voltage    

DC current    

AC current    

Resistance    

Capacitance    

Inductance

Voltage/current converters (to 1 Mhz)   

Current transformers   

High voltage resistors   

LF power/energy

magnetic    

mixed dividers    

phase meters    

power-frequency    

DMMs    

pulse waveform

Resistance dividers    

Oscilloscopes    

Voltage transformers    

Calibrators    

RTD/thermocouples

Other      

Electromagnetic – RF/Microwave

RF power    

Attenuation    

Phase    

Amplitude modulation    

Frequency modulation    

Distortion

Harmonics    

Electromagnetic field strength    

HF capacitance    

HF inductance    

Q-standards

Reflection    

Transmission    

SWR    

Other      

Time and Frequency

Frequency/time (source/measure)    

Time dissemination    

Timers and stopwatches

Other    

Ionizing Radiation

Dosimetry   

Radioactive sources   

Other-specify:      

Chemical Quantities

PH   

Conductivity   

Viscosity   

Refractometry   

Other     

Optical Radiation

Laser power energy   

Photometric   

Radiometric   

Spectrophotometric   

Wavelength

UV radiometric-standard detectors   

UV radiometric-standard source   

Attenuation

Other   

ISO/IEC 17025 All in One Package

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