Disruptions related to the COVID-19 pandemic may be making it difficult to get your test equipment calibrations done on schedule. However, calibration alternatives may be available.
Are your equipment calibrations nearing their due date or are they past due? Are you having difficulty scheduling with the calibration provider because of the need of social distancing?
There are alternative means to ensure the validity of the measurement equipment until these calibrations can be completed. Organizations may rely on equipment verification and validation processes to maintain confidence in measurement results.
Verification to Maintain Confidence
A verification decision typically is taken each time an item is calibrated. It is used to determine if the measurement data fall within specifications. A verification decision also may be used to maintain confidence in equipment capabilities if they temporarily fall outside of the calibration interval.
A verification can be performed using a standard or “known value artifact” and/or another piece of “current” calibrated test equipment to verify the accuracy of the test equipment in question through comparing the measurements.
Validate Fitness for Use
Validation is performed to determine if measurement and test equipment is fit for its intended use. Test equipment that does not meet all the specified limits may still be fit for purpose for some but not all operations. A piece of test equipment may be identified for several purposes (tests) in a laboratory; an out-of-tolerance data point for one measurement parameter may not affect some of those tests.
Accredited ISO/IEC 17025 laboratories and their clients must have confidence in measurement results. If you rely on verification or validation processes to maintain confidence in measurement results, you would need to record these activities. In addition, you need to determine through your risk assessment how often you should verify or validate the test equipment.