What is a conformity assessment according to ISO 17020?

Did you know that the inspection bodies that evaluate the dependability and quality of the goods and services offered by businesses require their regulatory certification?

The ISO 17020 standard, which guarantees the proficiency of the inspection bodies and the objectivity and consistency of their inspection activities, covers this regulatory requirement.

The conformity assessment standard ISO/IEC 17020 specifies standards for several types of organizations that carry out inspections, surveys, and risk evaluations. The standard has classified the accreditation/examination bodies into Type A, Type B, and Type C classes based on the services they provide.

The international standard addresses several tasks performed by conformity assessment inspection bodies, such as:

  • The investigation of components, goods, facilities, operations, methods, or services.
  • Determining whether the inspected services and goods comply with the relevant requirements.
  • Reporting to clients and authorities the outcomes of the actions taken in the first two steps.

ISO 9001 vs. ISO 17020 differences

Although they are two independent standards, ISO 17020 Certification and ISO 9001 Certification are close enough to frequently be misunderstood or lumped together. Any organization wishing to conduct inspections for organizations, clients, or authorities must adhere to conformity assessment standard ISO 17020.

The ISO 9001 Certification, on the other hand, is a global benchmark for quality management systems that businesses may use to prove they can deliver goods and services that adhere to legal and customer criteria.

The ISO 17020 Accreditation Certification Process

The International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) and International Accreditation Forum (IAF) both recognize the accreditation procedure, which is based on the most recent ISO/IEC guidelines (IAF). Monitoring, auditing, and approval of the QMS are three stages in the sequential process of inspection for the ISO 17020 accreditation certification.

The following are the general certification process steps for conformity assessment standard ISO 17020:

  • Every set inspection parameter is subjected to a thorough assessment and gap analysis by inspecting bodies.
  • Before the standard is applied, all levels of employees receive training.
  • Documentation guidelines are provided, including information on how to follow quality manuals compliant with ISO 17020, inspection criteria, and standard operating procedures (SOPs).
  • Both corrective measures and follow-up visits are carried out.
  • An internal audit will be performed by a consultant.
  • An external audit will be carried out by an accreditation organization body like ENAS.
  • Both conformities and non-conformities will be assessed and fixed, if appropriate.
  • A decision on accreditation is made, and a certificate is presented.
  • Additional conformity assessment evaluation and monitoring.

The Value of Having a Documented Quality Management System

1. Global momentum and acceptance: The ILAC and IAF acknowledge the conformity assessment standard ISO 17020 accreditation, which improves the perception of inspection bodies for their superior inspection services on the international market.

2. Technical capability of individuals and processes: The accreditation keeps track of and guarantees the technical proficiency of the inspection bodies’ quality management systems. This enables them to increase organizational trust for their decisions made during inspection processes and outcomes.

3. Reliable equipment and results are made: possible by the compliance standard, which offers greater direction and control for equipment maintenance and inspection records. This improves the objectivity, accuracy, and impartiality of inspection results. If any corrective action has been taken for certification, this also gives a more accurate reflection of that.

4. Saving money and lowering risk: Conformity assessment standard Accreditation lessens or eliminates the need for re-inspection or rework, which cuts down on the amount of time and money lost during inspections.

The compliance standard directs the inspection bodies to make objective judgments and consistently use the inspection procedure. This fosters trust and consumer satisfaction. It boosts client confidence in the effectiveness of their quality management system, the quality of their goods and services, and the dependability of their outcomes.

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