ISO/IEC 17025:2017 is the primary competency standard for testing and calibration laboratories. Accreditation to this standard means a qualified third party has validated a calibration lab’s quality system, documentation and process against its operational claims.
ISO/IEC 17025:2017 requirements are relatively simple. They include:
- Documented Training Program
- Test Equipment Certification
- Technician Proficiency Testing
- Measurement Uncertainty Budget (must be available, reported and accounted for in results)
- Internal/External Audits
Although important, ISO/IEC 17025:2017 by itself is insufficient to ensure high quality pipette calibration.
One reason for this is ISO/IEC 17025:2017 is not specific to any one type of measurement. For example, ISO 17025 applies to calibration of oscilloscopes, dental x-ray equipment, micrometers, and torque wrenches, as well as to pipettes.
Therefore, a quality pipette calibration cannot be defined solely by the ISO 17025 standard.
For example, a pipette calibration could be performed outdoors, on a mountain top, on a submarine or in your conference room—all locations where it is impossible to control for important environmental variables–and still meet ISO/IEC 17025:2017 requirements. None of these would pass ISO 8655 muster, however. For more on the differences between the two ISO standards, see Why ISO 8655 Compliance Should Be Your Litmus Test.