With laboratories undergoing major audits every two to four years, traceability is vital to demonstrate that measurements are accurate and that they meet the required standards for accreditation. Customers need products with traceability so they can show that the right product has been used if an incident were to occur. Failure to use an accredited standard could break the traceability chain, exposing the laboratories to financial risk and lost time and productivity.
For example, laboratory managers in the LNG sector must consider traceability when determining heating values of cargo during custody exchange. With a documented, traceable product the laboratory can demonstrate how the results were calculated back to recognised international standards. If the traceability chain were to be broken, the laboratory would not be able to show how the verified results can be relied upon by third parties – exposing the laboratory to potential financial consequences.
In another example, traceability and accreditation are important for laboratory managers in the food sector, with requirements around residue testing which can have significant impacts for food exporters. In the instance that a residue test fails and food has already been exported, this may result in food being dumped which would have massive cost implications for the business.
With this in mind, it is more important than ever that laboratories maintain quality standards. The following are some of the key standards for testing and calibration laboratories.