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New edition of ISO/IEC 17025 just published

By Sandrine Tranchard on 1 December 2017

The most popular standard for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories has just been updated, taking into account the latest changes in laboratory environment and work practices.

ISO/IEC 17025:2017, General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories, is the international reference for laboratories carrying out calibration and testing activities around the world.

Producing valid results that are widely trusted is at the heart of laboratory activities. ISO/IEC 17025:2017 allows laboratories to implement a sound quality system and demonstrate that they are technically competent and able to produce valid and reliable results.

ISO/IEC 17025 also helps facilitate cooperation between laboratories and other bodies by generating wider acceptance of results between countries. Test reports and certificates can be accepted from one country to another without the need for further testing, which, in turn, improves international trade.

In order to reflect the latest changes in market conditions and technology, the new edition of the standard encompasses the activities and new ways of working of laboratories today. It covers technical changes, vocabulary and developments in IT techniques and takes into consideration the latest version of ISO 9001 on quality management.

The three Convenors of CASCO working group 44 (CASCO/WG 44) that revised the standard tell us why the new version of ISO/IEC 17025 is so important for laboratories:
A botanist gives nourishment to a flowering potted plant. He is in a greenhouse surrounded by flowering plants. Discover the new ISO/IEC 17025:2017

Laboratories already accredited to ISO/IEC 17025:2005 will need to transition their processes to the new version within a three-year period from the publication date of the new standard. The Joint ILAC-ISO Communiqué explains this timeframe transition.

ISO/IEC 17025:2017 was developed jointly by ISO and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) under the responsibility of the ISO Committee on conformity assessment (CASCO).

What are the main changes in the 2017 version?

The scope has been revised to cover testing, calibration and sampling associated with subsequent calibration and testing.
The process approach now matches that of newer standards such as ISO 9001 (quality management), ISO 15189 (quality of medical laboratories) and ISO/IEC 17021-1 (requirements for audit and certification bodies).
The standard has now a stronger focus on information technologies and incorporates the use of computer systems, electronic records and the production of electronic results and reports.
A new chapter introduces the concept of risk-based thinking.

Vote starts on final draft of ISO 45001 for occupational health and safety
By Elizabeth Gasiorowski-Denis on 30 November 2017

Every day, thousands of lives are lost due to work accidents or fatal diseases linked to work activities. These are deaths that could and should have been prevented, and must be in the future. A new standard in development aims to help organizations do just that, and it has now reached one of the final stages in its development.

ISO 45001, Occupational health and safety management systems – Requirements with guidance for use, will help organizations provide a safe and healthy workplace for its workers and other people, prevent deaths, work-related injury and ill health as well as continually improve occupational health and safety (OH&S) performance. It has just reached the Final Draft International Standard (FDIS) stage, meaning interested parties can once more submit feedback on the draft before its final publication expected in March 2018.

Latest estimates from the International Labour Organization (ILO) show that, each day, more than 7 600 people die as a result of work-related activities (that’s over 2.78 million a year), and over 370 million accidents occur on the job annually. The burden to employers and employees alike is immense, resulting in losses to the wider economy from early retirements, staff absence and rising insurance premiums.

Applicable in all parts of the world and across all sectors, the future ISO 45001 is intended to reduce this terrible toll. It will be the first global standard of its kind, giving organizations a universally accepted framework for improving employee health and safety, reducing workplace risks and creating healthier, safer working conditions.

The upcoming standard will follow in the footsteps of ISO’s other management systems approaches, such as ISO 14001 (environment) and ISO 9001 (quality). It will also take into account other international standards in this area including OHSAS 18001, ILO-OSH guidelines, various national standards and the ILO’s international labour standards and conventions.

David Smith, Chair of ISO/PC 283, the project committee developing the standard, said that alignment of ISO 45001 to the suite of ISO management system standards will come as a welcome addition. “We now have an International Standard for OH&S, aligned with other business standards such as ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and ISO/IEC 27001, that helps organizations manage this key risk as part of their business processes.”

“ISO 45001 is a significant improvement on OHSAS 18001, which has established that standardization using the risk-based approach works across the world and business sectors,” he added. “Effective application of ISO 45001 will reduce the risk of harm in the workplace.”

ISO 45001 is being developed by ISO project committee ISO/PC 283, Occupational health and safety management systems. The secretariat is currently held by BSI, the ISO member for the United Kingdom. 

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