PJLA’s Accreditation Process
Process 1 – Applying for Accreditation
Laboratories should submit an application for accreditation to PJLA. This includes details of the laboratory in regards to the size, complexity and scope. We encourage laboratories to accurately complete the application as these are utilized to develop quotations for accreditation assessment time, assessment teams etc. Once PJLA reviews the application, a quotation for accreditation services will be generated. PJLA makes it a goal to process quotations within 24 hours. A follow-up call will be provided to each client receiving a quotation by a PJLA representative.
Process 2 – Accepting PJLA as Your Accreditation Service Provider
Once clients have had the opportunity to review the details of the quotation they are provided an agreement for services to review. The signing of the agreement along with a deposit confirms the laboratory’s commitment to PJLA for accreditation services. The deposit is non-refundable and will be credited against the accreditation assessment statement. During this acceptance stage, PJLA offers clients the option to receive a Pending of Accreditation Letter announcing your commitment to becoming accredited in the future.
Process 3 – Scheduling the Assessment
The PJLA scheduling department will contact new clients immediately to introduce themselves. During this time, a discussion will take place in regards to preferred assessment dates, assessor availability, assessment team structure, travel requirements and assessor accommodations. During this time the scope of your assessment will be re-verified to ensure no systematic changes have occurred within the laboratory since the application stages. Once a date is agreed upon, the assessment will be scheduled and the necessary confirmation/preparation forms will submitted to each laboratory for review and approval.
Process 4 – Preliminary Assessment Preparation
The PJLA lead assessor will contact the laboratory at least 4 weeks prior to the assessment. This will include a discussion in regards to the set-up of the laboratory, tests or calibration witness activities to be available during the assessment and the necessary documents required to perform an off-site review prior to the assessment. The lead assessor will conduct a preliminary documentation review and provide the laboratory with feedback prior to the assessment. It is imperative to provide the assessor with your documentation within the requested timeline. Lack of meeting specific timelines could cause the assessment to be postponed. Once the documentation review is completed the lead assessor will provide the laboratory with an assessment plan including start and finish times and an outline of the requirements of the standard to be assessed.
Process 5 – Conduction of the On-Site Assessment
The assessment team will start the assessment as outlined on the agenda. This will start by the conduction of an opening meeting. During this time an introductory session will be conducted as well as an overview of the scope of the assessment. The laboratory should notify the team of any changes or adjustments needed to the agenda during this time.
The assessment will be conducted once the agenda is verified and will include a review of the laboratory’s quality system and competency assessment of the tests or calibrations being performed. Laboratories are expected to have all necessary personnel available during the assessments. Lack of personnel during this time could make it difficult for the team to make a recommendation for accreditation and may cause a revisit assessment to be completed.
Once the assessment is completed, a closing meeting will be conducted. During this time all assessment findings will be distributed and a discussion will take place to ensure all parties involved clearly understand the findings, the timeline required to respond and the amount of detail required when responding to such findings (i.e corrective action response, objective evidence).
Process 6 – Nonconformance Review Process
Clients are expected to appropriately respond within 90 days of the assessment, unless other timelines are provided by the team (i.e. 30-60 days). Failure to submit a corrective action response could cause for an assessment follow-up visit to be conducted. It is encouraged for laboratories to submit corrective action responses on-time to allow the team to conduct an adequate review and provide feedback as necessary. If additional corrective action response time is needed, laboratories should contact PJLA headquarters for an extension.
Process 7 – Accreditation Decision
Once the assessment team accepts the corrective action responses the assessment material is submitted to PJLA headquarters for review. The assessment material is reviewed by PJLA technical program management and then submitted to our accreditation review committee for a final review. As a goal, PJLA makes every effort to process assessment material as soon as possible.
Process 8 – Granting of the Final Certificate
Once PJLA headquarters is notified that a favorable result has been granted by the accreditation review committee a certificate will be developed. Laboratories will receive a draft certificate for review. Once an approval is provided to PJLA headquarters and all outstanding balances are paid the final certificate will be released. Final certificate will be placed on the PJLA website under the listing of accredited laboratories. Laboratories will receive a marketing package including a plaque, banner and flag to promote their accreditation. Additionally, artwork will be provided including the PJLA accreditation symbol and information on how to utilize the ILAC MRA Mark. These graphics can be used on laboratory’s marketing material to show their adherence to the standard and demonstration to their commitment to providing quality and reliable results. PJLA encourage all laboratories to place the PJLA accreditation symbol on all test and calibration reports.