Proficiency testing - FAQS - AMIS - African Mineral Standards

AMIS-ISO

Can a laboratory participate in round robins for methods they arent yet accerdited for?

Absolutely. How else are you going to get accreditation for that method?

Can any mineral laboratory join the AMIS interlaboratory testing scheme program (AITS)?

Yes, but with conditions. Being a producer AMIS needs a strong pool of laboratories prepared to deliver good results quickly. Any mineral laboratory is welcome but the laboratories must have the capability for that kind of analysis and they must report results within the specified time. If a lab proves incompetence over time or fails to deliver results, they will be dropped and they will have to re-apply to re-join.

What is a PT scheme?

Proficiency testing involves the use of interlaboratory comparisons for the determination of laboratory performance. The need for ongoing confidence in laboratory performance is not only essential for laboratories and their customers but also for other interested parties, such as regulators, laboratory accreditation bodies and other organizations that specify requirements for laboratories.

ISO/IEC 17011 requires accreditation bodies to take account of laboratories' participation and performance in proficiency testing.

Is AMIS competent to run laboratory proficiency testing schemes?

The AMIS PT Schemes are run according to the guidelines set out in ISO/IEC Guide 43 Parts 1 and 2.

The general requirements with which a provider of proficiency testing schemes shall meet in order to be recognised as competent to provide specific types of proficiency testing schemes are set out in ISO Guide 43 whichincludes not only guidance on development and operation of proficiency testing and selection and use of proficiency testing by laboratory accreditation bodies, but also useful descriptions of typical types of proficiency testing.

Providers complying with ISO Guide 43 are considered to operate in accordance with the principles of ISO 9001:2000 as applied to the design and provision of specific types of proficiency testing schemes.

AMIS has been running proficiency testing schemes for almost ten years and has over 360 Proficiency Reports on the AMIS website.

How often are PT Schemes run?

For the past couple of years we have been doing over 50 per year. 

What types of schemes are run?

This will vary year on year depending on what CRM’s are in production. 

Can a laboratory choose which types of scheme to participate in?

You will not be asked to participate is any type of scheme outside your laboratories capabilities.

Can a reference material producer also run laboratory testing schemes

Yes, 5.5.6 ISO/IEC Guide 43-1 encourages the use of surplus test items as reference materials. For AMIS, the laboratory testing scheme is a benefit from the manufacture of CRM’s

How many laboratories need to participate to make a round robin meaningful?

The more the better. In practice we need a minimum of 15 laboratories for Certification. The same minimum number are required for a worthwhile round robin.

ISO Guide 35:2003 recommended complicated materials need 10-15 laboratories reporting. The concept of the determination of the property values of an RM based on agreement among methods and/or laboratories is based on at least two assumptions; 1) that there exists a population of methods/laboratories that is equally capable in determining the characteristics of the RM to provide results with acceptable accuracy; 2) that the differences between individual results, both within and between methods/laboratories are statistical in nature regardless of the causes (35:10). In practice a large number of labs is needed to overcome the effects of individual lab biases. The more complex the procedure, the larger the between-laboratory variances, the larger the number of participating labs needed to achieve a property value having a "satisfying uncertainty" (35:10.2.2). ISO Guide 35: 2003, Certification of reference materials --General and statistical principles.

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