Muscat: The Directorate General of Standards and Metrology of the Ministry of Commerce said that the Testing-PT was an organised set of programmes to compare practical tests between laboratories. This test is objective method of judging actual performance of a laboratory among a group of participating laboratories and approves its efficiency.
Tahani Bint Mohammed Al Khadhouriya of the Chemical Food Laboratory in the Ministry of Commerce and Industry said: "Laboratory recognition programmes are fully dependent on this type of assessment. It is a must to participate in this efficiency assessment process and continue with it. The test is professionally organised to maintain accreditation."
"Efficiency tests were the best ways to monitor the laboratory performance. Samples are distributed to participating laboratories by accredited international bodies or bodies, then the results were collected and evaluated centrally by the organisers of these programmes," Al Khadhouriya said.
"Each laboratory is then informed of its performance compared to the performance of other laboratories. Their results are compared with the real results. On the basis of this, these laboratories are evaluated and ranked," she added.
Al Khadhouriya said that the credibility of the laboratory results depended on a number of factors. The most important of them is the accuracy of the performance of the equipment, quality of the materials used and performance of the technical staff. She pointed out that the precision in the performance of the equipment can be controlled by calibration, maintenance and periodic inspection.
The quality control is done by compliance with storage and handling conditions as documented during the procurement process. As far as the performance of the examiners or testers are concerned, it is monitored through internal comparison between the results of the laboratory and the individual performances.
Al Khadhoury said: "The efficiency test contributes in increasing the confidence in the results of examinations and tests carried out by the laboratories. This also helps in the international recognition of these laboratories. The laboratories which are successful in the efficiency tests are considered reference laboratories for other laboratories working in the same field."
She added that any laboratory which wants to demonstrate confidence in its results must take part in the efficiency tests frequently. The clause of efficiency tests is one of several items in ISO / IEC 17025, which deals with procedures which the laboratory can take to ensure confidence in the results of the tests.
The tests carried out by the accreditation organisations were basic and mandatory for accreditation. These accreditation organisations give importance to efficiency tests to ensure that these laboratories were capable of carrying out precise tests and to reveal the practical situation in which the laboratory operates.