The A2LA Workplace Training blog is a resource for information related to international standards, quality systems, conformity assessment, and measurement training. Topics covered include helpful how-to’s and informational content, news related to A2LA WPT and the industry in general, spotlights on customers and examples of best practices, and other topics related to A2LA WPT courses and the industries they serve. Our writers and collaborators strive to provide content that is accurate, informative, consistent, and clear to best serve those seeking to learn. Do you have a special request or an idea for a topic? Please contact marketing@A2LAWPT.org.
The world of conformity assessment has its own specialized jargon that can make understanding requirements challenging, especially to organizations who are pursuing accreditation for the first time. We find that our customers often try to find information on ISO/IEC 17025 certification, only to learn that what they actually need is ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation, or may research product registration, but ultimately learn that in their region the process is called certification. In ordinary speech, the words accreditation, certification, and registration are often used interchangeably, but the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has specific definitions for these terms that differ somewhat from their everyday use.
Food testing labs will soon see their regulatory environment change somewhat as part of the FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), which seeks to implement its own laboratory accreditation program for food testing labs. The goal of this program is to ensure the safety of the U.S. food supply and protect U.S. consumers by helping ensure appropriate oversight of certain food testing that is relevant to public health. It will also ensure that the testing is done according to appropriate model standards which will help produce consistently reliable and valid test results.
A2LA WorkPlace Training (AWPT) has partnered with Qualtrax, a leading provider of custom quality management system (QMS) software, to create 17025 QMS QuickStart: a specialized software solution with preloaded content that helps small labs achieve ISO/IEC 17025 conformance.
After months of careful deliberation and design work, A2LA WorkPlace Training is pleased to unveil a new logo and branded color scheme to better reflect our unique company identity. The new design will have two official forms: one with the company name in its entirety and one that features a shortened acronym, AWPT, that we will be gradually phasing into use. The marketing department is incorporating the new branding changes to our website, forms, contracts, user portals, course materials and more, so customers will soon notice a fresh new look to many aspects of AWPT’s public presence.
A2LA WorkPlace Training has had many opportunities over the years to support the US government and armed forces through many different forms of specialized training, both online and in person. Although our custom and public training options are a great opportunity for us to deliver more specialized training material, the courses that have had by far the most extensive use in this field are e-learning courses. Our virtual training for metrology, calibration, and international standards like ISO/IEC 17025 are broadly applicable in these fields, which contributes to their widespread use.
Self-paced e-learning has been part of the public consciousness for a few decades now. In fact, the idea was popular even before the internet was commonplace, when courses were delivered to users on compact disks. Although the premise is simple, there’s a good reason e-learning has persisted and evolved with the available technology, even as other remote training options have also become available. E-learning is a flexible and uniquely scalable training delivery method for subjects like metrology and calibration training, which makes it a practical choice for large organizations where many employees need to learn the same information in a standardized way. Unlike with instructor-led training, any employee can take e-learning courses at any time, rather than waiting for a scheduled class. Further, the organization can be certain that the training for all employees across is consistent, even if it is accessed at different times and in different locations. A2LA WorkPlace Training clients have put e-learning to use in an incredible array of industries, and it has proven especially popular for large-scale applications in the aerospace field.
Digital quality management systems, also called “eQMS,” are becoming increasingly common, especially as the technology that supports them becomes more widely available and user-friendly. The COVID-19 pandemic has made remote access to information more important than ever and highlighted the shortcomings of traditional paper-based QMS, but the benefits of switching to an eQMS extend far beyond the unique challenges imposed by a global pandemic. Digital QMS allow for better accessibility, better document control, faster and more streamlined processes, and other advantages that affect both efficiency and company culture. The transition from a traditional paper system to an eQMS, however, requires a commitment of time and resources that often drives decision-makers to put it off for as long as possible.
Happy first anniversary to A2LA Workplace Training! Although AWPT has a very long history, June marks our one-year anniversary as an independent non-profit organization after separating from our partner company, American Association for Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA). Our first year has been an eventful one, to say the least, and our team is excited to have such a landmark to celebrate in these tumultuous times. We have made incredible strides in twelve short months: launching several new product lines, pivoting many of our services to a digital delivery method, and developing both our skills and our relationships through hard work and collaboration.
Whether you’re approaching the process for the first time or have dozens of audits under your belt, conducting a document review as part of your internal audit to can be intimidating. A2LA WorkPlace Training instructors frequently get questions from learners about document review best practices and what documents require the most attention during a review. Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Depending on your facility, your industry, and the standard or standards you are accredited to, your experience will be somewhat different. There are, however, strategic ways to approach a document review that will help to set you up for success.
Over the course of the last several months, AWPT has hosted 16 public courses online and a handful of remote training courses for internal staff and assessors. The subject matter included ISO/IEC 17025 compliance training for industries such as calibration, food testing, and cannabis testing, as well as auditing courses, measurement uncertainty courses, and courses on other ISO standards. Virtual Classroom courses have been well-attended and have received consistently positive feedback. Although the pivot to remote learning was necessitated by travel restrictions and limits on in-person gatherings, AWPT will continue to take advantage of remote learning tools in the future, offering both hybrid learning options and additional Virtual Classroom courses.