Published on: 19/03/2018
The EA Laboratory Committee held its 35th meeting in Madrid on 14-15 March
Beatriz Rivera, managing director of ENAC, gave a warm welcome speech to the LC colleagues,
pointing out it was a first for ENAC to host such an EA committee meeting for 2 days, attended by more than 60 delegates.
The main issue on the agenda and also on everyone’s mind is the new ISO/IEC 17025 standard, published on 30 November 2017 with a 3 years transition period that started on the 30th November. It means that by 30 November 2020 all valid accreditations have to be granted on the basis of ISO/IEC 17025:2017.
To support the transition, the LC took several measures. Starting in September 2017 with a breakout session that focused on new issues identified in the then draft “DIS”, the LC set up a train-the-trainer workshop in January.
Two sessions took place between 23 and 26 January and were successful events. Having considered the feedback received from the participants in detail, the LC considered the need for a new workshop to be set up to support harmonization in the implementation of the new requirements.
It was finally agreed to wait for the first assessments to take place –some NABs are reported to start in May or even earlier -, to wait for the NABs to implement in practice the new requirements and gain substantial experience.
Issues will arise during the first months of the transition for new concepts and approaches have been introduced. The proposal is to collect the issues through a survey to be distributed in October/November. The results will be used to design the program of a follow up workshop planned to take place in March 2019.
Meanwhile LC members will have the opportunity to raise their questions either to the LC directly for horizontal issues or to the technical nets for more specific points. The material collected will also be used to reflect on the March 2019 event.
The Committee confirmed the setting up of 2 new technical networks. Ludmila Marina, LATAK became the Convenor of the new TN for Mechanical, Electrical and Construction products while Kondylia Sotiriou became the Convenor for the new TN Consumer goods and Toys.
The LC now operates with 7 TNs. In addition to the new TN: TN Calibration, TN Forensics, TN Environment, TN PTPT/RMP and TN Food & Feed. It is important to recall that TN are an important tool for harmonization. It is the virtual place where to exchange on day-to-day accreditation assessment practices, share experience and identify topics for discussion at an EA LC or even ILAC level.
Stakeholder input remains very active. EUROLAB presented the Cook Books worked out to assist labs in the transition to the new standard; EGOLF welcomed the appointment of an LC TFG in charge of harmonizing practices of accreditation in the EXAP sector and the EDQM delegate confirmed the good cooperation with EA in joint assessments.
After fruitful cooperation within the EEE-PT Working Group, the LC endorsed the final draft of EA Guidelines for the assessment of the appropriateness of small ILCs within the process of laboratory accreditation. The document will soon be available on the EA website.
The LC will meet next on 25-26 September in Tallinn, Estonia.