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Laboratory accreditation for PPE producers

Gain accreditation for your laboratory so that you can provide meaningful test data to potential customers.

It is vital that any form of personal protective equipment (PPE) is fit for purpose and meets specified performance criteria. Product and material testing plays a vital role, and there are benefits for manufacturers with their own in-house testing facilities. For instance, manufacturers and material suppliers benefit from being able to present meaningful and accurate test data to potential customers. Resourcing companies benefit from more reliable evaluation of products, and a general improvement in product quality and fitness-for-purpose.

SATRA has developed an accreditation programme to provide PPE manufacturers with  third party assessment and recognition of the competence of in-house test facilities.

SATRA test laboratory accreditation is available to SATRA members and is based on the essential elements of ISO 17025 General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration.

In order to become accredited, the laboratory has to be well controlled and responsibilities within the laboratory clearly defined. Typically the laboratory must have someone to manage it, to ensure that the control procedures are implemented on a day-to-day basis, and have suitable equipment and trained staff who can competently perform the tests. The ‘manager’ must be independent of the production process and our assessment will include a check of the company structure. SATRA provides advice on appropriate test methods, staff training, equipment calibration, and provides any assistance that may be required to bring quality procedures up to our minimum requirements. Both conditioned and unconditioned laboratories are catered for. Laboratories achieving control of conditions within 20 ± 2°C and 65 ± 2 per cent relative humidity or 23 ± 2°C and 50 ± 2 per cent relative humidity (depending on the test method) are designated as ‘Grade A’ laboratories. Grade B laboratories are uncontrolled but with atmospheres within the temperature range 18 – 25°C, and they qualify for ‘check’ tests only.

 

 

There is no restriction on the type of tests carried out in an accredited laboratory, or the type of test method used. However, laboratories are encouraged to use standard methods wherever possible to ensure comparability of results between laboratories. Testing staff must be competent in the performance of the tests that they carry out. Training records, including full details of the test methods, must be maintained for each member of staff. The laboratory must be furnished with all of the test and measuring equipment that is required to carry out the tests, and this should be adequately maintained and calibrated. SATRA will also expect laboratories to take part in correlation exercises.

The time to achieve SATRA laboratory accreditation depends on a variety of factors such as the number of test methods involved, equipment and calibration status and competence and experience of the technical staff. Typically this usually takes six calendar months. We have also accredited some laboratories in a matter of days, although these organisations have generally been operating for some time and have established quality systems, often with some form of accreditation already in place. The laboratory can be accredited for just one test method or any number. Scopes can be extended during the regular audit visits by SATRA.

Further information on SATRA's PPE certification and testing services is available at www.satra.com/ppe

How can we help?

A SATRA accredited in-house test laboratory can bring benefits to PPE manufacturers and material suppliers, enabling them to present potential customers with test data that is both meaningful and accurate – backed by accreditation from SATRA, one of the world’s foremost PPE testing authorities. Please email quality.services@satra.com for further information on how to join the SATRA Accredited Laboratory Programme.