The applicant laboratory submits its completed application to CLAS. This application includes a signed application form, a completed checklist indicating compliance with each of the elements of ISO/IEC 17025, and a requested CLAS scope which describes the measurement capabilities for which the laboratory is seeking CLAS certification and SCC accreditation. The requested scope also provides their associated calibration and measurement capabilities (CMC) together with a description of how these capabilities are supported by the laboratory.
The application is reviewed by CLAS staff for adequacy and completeness of information. Regular contact is maintained between the applicant laboratory and CLAS staff until complete understanding and agreement is reached on the details of the application and its compliance with the requirements of ISO/IEC 17025.
CLAS reviews the laboratory's quality system documentation for compliance with ISO/IEC 17025. It then carries out an on-site assessment of the applicant laboratory's implementation of its quality system. This assessment reviews and evaluates the laboratory's overall organizational structure, procedures, processes, and resources and ensures that the requisite management and quality system are in place. Any deficiencies in the laboratory's implementation of its quality system and its operations are identified and the laboratory is asked to provide an appropriate response to these findings.
CLAS conducts an on-site assessment of the applicant laboratory's technical capabilities. A CLAS Technical Advisor, along with NRC measurement expert(s) visits the laboratory to assess the applicant's equipment, system, procedures, staff, and laboratory environment to ensure that they are adequate to make the necessary measurements. At the same time, the proficiency testing activities are agreed upon. It may be measurement verification by traceability (verification takes place through calibration of the applicant's reference standards), measurement verification by artefact (NRC asks the applicant to carry out measurements on artefacts provided by NRC) or a combination of the two. Using the appropriate statistical tools, the results are analyzed and agreement is reached on the scope of CLAS certification.
Once a laboratory has satisfied all quality system and technical requirements, it is eligible for CLAS certification and a recommendation is made to SCC for accreditation. When the necessary approvals have been successfully processed through the SCC system, SCC grants accreditation and issues a joint certificate for CLAS certification and SCC accreditation.
CLAS does a full quality system and technical reassessment of each accredited laboratory on a regular basis to ensure continued compliance with accreditation criteria. The first reassessment is scheduled one year following the date of accreditation and then every two years thereafter.
Upon successful completion of the reassessment, the laboratory is eligible for renewal of its CLAS certification and a recommendation is made to SCC to renew its accreditation. When necessary approvals have been successfully processed, the laboratory is notified in writing of continued accreditation.
A laboratory can request an extension to its accredited scope at anytime. If this should occur between the scheduled reassessment cycle, the laboratory will have to bear the costs.
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