ASTM International Committee E01 on Analytical Chemistry of Metals, Ores and Related Materials held a workshop, "Impact of Accreditation on Reference Materials and Method Development in Analytical Laboratories Supporting the Metals and Ores Industries," on May 19, 2014, at the Gaithersburg, MD, campus of the National Institute of Standards and Technology. The workshop took place the day before the semiannual meeting for E01, which happened at NIST on May 20 & 21, 2014.
Ever-increasing testing demands for metals, alloys, ores, and mining byproducts have been accompanied by more complex requirements for quality system accreditation. Because many industry test methods for chemical metrology require numerous reference materials for calibration and quality assurance, the accreditation of certified reference material producers has become more demanding as well.
Accreditation processes that tighten requirements for approval of reference materials used in industry laboratories may needlessly restrict the supply of reference materials and negatively impact the quality of test results unless the requirements are understood and agreed to by all impacted parties.
The workshop brought together experts from standards development, accreditation, reference materials development, testing labs and product quality assurance to explore the complex intersection of these topics. The goal was to share insights and rationales for streamlining these processes and for creating a continuing venue for cooperation.
This workshop was not intended as a training event. The purpose was to bring together metals industry labs, accreditation bodies, CRM producers, and NIST to discuss the relationships among the various parties and to begin to work together to harmonize the roles of organizations on all sides of the issue. The workshop did not explain how to attain accreditation of a laboratory, nor did it explain the proper use of reference materials, except in the context of any requirements established by accreditation bodies. The participants discussed whether said requirements for use of CRMs and in-house RMs are appropriate and correct.
E01 Committee on Analytical Chemistry of Metals, Ores and Related Materials
ASTM posts the E01 committee and meeting information at this link: http://www.astm.org/COMMITTEE/E01.htm. There you can find a list of subcommittees, standards documents and work items. ASTM welcomes participation in the development of its standards. The committee welcomes all participants to its meetings and workshops, whether ASTM members or not.
Discussions involved quality system standards, such as ISO 17025 and the Guide 30 series, ASTM E2857-11, and industry accreditation documents. It is recommended to familiarize yourself with these and other relevant documents.
Subsequent to this workshop, ASTM Committee E01 developed E2972-15 Standard Guide for Production, Testing, and Value Assignment of In-House Reference Materials for Metals, Ores, and Other Related Materials. This standard is recommended reading for laboratory managers, quality assurance officers, and laboratory accreditation auditors.