Maintaining your QMS

With many labs, it is easy in the busy season to put off changes that occur within your Quality Management System. One area that is easily overlooked are processes and procedures that are not related to equipment procedures. Within R18LabQMS, this can easily be monitored on the dashboard under the recurring checklist.

On the first of each month, each section of AASHTO R18 will be listed with the option to dismiss (no changes) or click the link to be taken to the QMS to make changes and updates. The recurring checklist serves as a monthly reminder that assures the user of an updated QMS, preparing you for your next On-site inspection.

So, let’s be more specific with a couple of examples with a more subtle and easily overlooked change. In the case of a new employee who has been promoted from a technician level to a management position, this would involve three changes; User Role within the application, updated job description and a biographical sketch/resume.  Another example would be the method used in test reporting and updating that process in section 6.3.1.

Another area that can be easily overlooked is maintaining records of Proficiency Samples with low ratings (rating of 0, 1, and 2).  This requires laboratories to document low ratings using the Proficiency Sample Corrective Action Report. In the past, laboratories were required to send this form to AMRL, however, you are now only required to maintain this record and include it with your PSP Records; not doing so will result in a non-conformity during an on-site assessment.

We are coming up on our 2nd on-site inspection after implementing R18LabQMS with the first assessment using v1.0. There have been many upgrades since the initial launch in March 2013 that should make this upcoming inspection go much smoother for both the laboratory and assessor. We are currently on v1.6.6 with more releases scheduled for Q4 2015, stay tuned for blog updates when releases are implemented.

For all questions regarding quality management systems for your laboratory whether you are accredited or not please contact us and learn how R18LabQMS can add value to your company.

– Gary Irvine