ISO/IEC 17025 is an international standard for evaluating the competence of calibration laboratories. It includes portions of the ISO 9001 standards relating to organization and management plus it encompasses the entire calibration system to produce metrics for the:
- Calibration rig components,
- Administrative systems for process operations,
- Personnel proficiency,
- Documentation supporting the traceability
- Total measurement uncertainty for the entire calibration facility
By it’s stringent procedures, ISO/IEC 17025 ensures that the entire calibration process is traceable to the International System of Units (SI), personnel are technically competent and methods and practices in place produce precise and valid results.
Contrary to other claims of traceability (like NIST Traceable*) which are not governed by the authorities and where the liability of the claims of traceability is the responsibility of the individual laboratory, ISO/IEC 17025 involves a rigorous third party assessment to make sure that all of the requirements identified in the standard are met and periodic reviews are used to determine if the standards are maintained.
The ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation procedure also includes the evaluation of the total measurement uncertainty (accuracy and repeatability) of each component on the calibration rig and inter-laboratory proficiency testing to provide individual laboratory confidence by comparing ISO/IEC17025 accredited labs to each other.
* Unfortunately, NIST does not govern calibration facility claims of traceability. The responsibility of NIST-traceable claims resides with the individual laboratory.