WHY DO YOU NEED LABORATORY ACCREDITATION?
Contractors may need to give evidence of the quality of materials or equipment supplied in the performance of contracts.
Most of the products that are exported or imported need to comply with quality specifications and safety regulations before they can be released on the market.† Evidence of compliance is usually given in the form of valid test data produced by reliable laboratories.
Laboratory accreditation will eventually enable test and/or calibration reports to be accepted internationally and this will help in eliminating technical barriers to international trade and consequently facilitating commercial activities between other countries and Mauritius.
Some local legislation like the Environment Protection Act 2002 require that only environmental data provided by an accredited laboratory shall be admissible evidence in any proceeding before a court of law or before the Environment Appeal Tribunal.† Other regulatory sectors might come up in the near future with similar instruments for regulating conformity testing activities in their respective sectors.
HOW DOES MY LABORATORY BECOME ACCREDITED?
MAURITAS accredits testing and calibration laboratories against the international standard ISO/IEC 17025, General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories.† The accreditation process will consist of a pre-assessment, which is a short exercise aiming at identifying gaps and giving the laboratory the opportunity to correct the deficiencies before the full assessment exercise.† MAURITAS will assess, through visits, whether your laboratory complies with the requirements of ISO/IEC 17025 and if it does, it may become accredited with MAURITAS.† It should be noted that accreditation is not provided for all laboratoryís areas of testing but only for those tests for which the laboratory applies for accreditation and for which it is assessed as competent.
BUT ISNíT ISO 9000 CERTIFICATION ENOUGH?
ISO 9000 certification can be granted to a laboratory upon the audit of its quality management system.† Although this will give confidence in the laboratoryís quality management systems, it will give no indication about the technical competence or ability to provide reliable and accurate test data.
Technical competence will be ensured through proper technical evaluation against internationally accepted criteria which is ISO/IEC 17025 (formerly ISO/IEC Guide 25).
WHO WILL ASSESS MY LABORATORY?
MAURITAS will be using foreign assessors as well as Mauritian assessors who will be experts in the specific field of testing/calibration being assessed.† Assessments should be considered as a peer-review and value-adding exercise for the laboratory since the outcome of the process will always improve laboratory operations whatever the results of the assessments.
HOW MUCH WILL ACCREDITATION COST?
The cost of accreditation for testing and calibration laboratories depends on the number of fields and number of tests or calibrations in each field for which application is made while that for certification bodies depends on the number of schemes for which application is made.
MAURITAS fees structure for assessment of conformity assessment bodies is made up of application fee, assessment fee and annual fee.
IS MAURITAS COMPETENT ITSELF FOR ASSESSING THE COMPETENCY OF MY LABORATORY?
Before granting accreditation to your laboratory, MAURITAS itself must comply with 17011 which sets out the general requirements for the operation of an accreditation body so that the accreditation granted may be recognized at the national and international level.
Besides, MAURITAS is
(a)† An Associate Member of the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) which is the highest international body of cooperation in laboratory accreditation.
(b)† A Full Member of the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) which is the international body for accreditation of certification bodies.