Common On-Site Assessment Findings: Under the Microscope

Overcoming Legacy Obstacles with Innovative Approaches
Oral Presentation

Prepared by M. Friedman
State Water Resources Control Board, 500 N Central Ave, Suite 500, Glendale, California, 91203, United States

Contact Information: [email protected]; 818-551-2014


It's understandable that a laboratory may feel that it is under the microscope when an assessor comes to call. With so many potential areas of compliance, both quality systems and methods-based, the challenge of preparing for an on-site assessment can be daunting. Where to begin?

Checklists are often cited as a tool for the lab to prepare for an assessment, but they can hinder as much as they help, giving the lab a false impression that the assessment would cover only the areas enumerated on the checklist, thus leaving them blind to other areas deserving of attention. Checklists can also be overwhelming, especially to small labs: TNI's 2009 Standard Quality Systems Checklist, created as guidance to laboratories and assessors preparing for assessment against the 2009 TNI Standard, contains over 700 discrete items spanning the quality systems and chemical testing modules alone. Add in method-specific requirements, and the potential areas of examination can skyrocket.

Another approach to preparing for an on-site assessment involves using historical data the past experiences of both labs and assessors to identify areas most likely to be cited in a future assessment: the low-hanging fruit, if you will. A statistical analysis of on-site assessment findings collected from a variety of accreditors and assessors, both NELAP and non-NELAP, may reveal trends and give insight into these areas. In this presentation, Ms. Friedman will deep-dive into a database of assessment reports to shed light on the most commonly-cited findings.