Equipment procedures are the most overlooked part of a laboratory’s QMS, and quite possibly the most misunderstood, especially by those new to the accreditation process. I have found that most laboratories tend to have their own version or interpretation of what they understand AASHTO R18 expects.

While R18LabQMS allows the user to create procedure forms specific to their laboratory’s needs, there are also more generic procedures that can be used within the application. Users are always encouraged to engage with the process of creating and selecting procedures to ensure that they meet the requirements of the equipment’s cal/check/standard, maintenance and manufacturer’s requirements.  

Equipment and procedures

The standard requires a laboratory to maintain an inventory list of all major equipment that is defined as normally amortized and dedicated to testing, and to calibrate, standardize, check and to perform regular maintenance procedures on said equipment. It’s also important to note and follow the guidance of R 61, “Standard Practice for Establishing Requirements for Equipment Calibrations, Standardizations, and Checks.”

Procedures

Procedures include calibrations, standardizations, checks and maintenance. In-house procedures require a detailed procedure and shall be uniquely identified providing a detailed procedure. Example formats can be found in the R18 standard. When developing a procedure, the basic guidelines to follow are:

• Purpose
• Equipment to perform this procedure
• Tolerance as referenced in the test standard
• Procedure

This process can be the most time-consuming, however, once established and maintained within the R18LabQMS application, you can easily go back and edit and adjust your procedures forms.

Recent questions by users

Q: When performing an internal audit report, I would like to save progress and upload supporting documents. Is this possible?

A: No. However, we are in the process of upgrading the internal audit report that will include these features on the upcoming release on or about April 1st.

Q: If we have a primary lab account for our company can we have another stand-alone account (within our company) as opposed to a satellite lab and still receive the satellite pricing?

A: Yes.

What’s in store for software upgrades in 2017?

• Version 1.8.1 Q1 – Changes adapting to AASHTO R18-16 recognized by assessors April 2017.

• Quality manual section numbers updated to reflect AASHTO R18-16; April 2017

• Version 1.9.0 Q1 – 2017 upgrades; end of June 2017

• Future upgrades to be announced later in 2017.

Upcoming meetings that we will sponsor:

The 2017 AASHTO re:source Technical Exchange

Industry topics presented by AASHTO re:source staff and other subject matter experts.

March 27, 2017 – March 29, 2017

Annapolis, Maryland

AAPT (Association of Asphalt Paving Technologist)

Annual Meeting

March 19-22, 2017

Newport Beach, CA

For all questions regarding your quality management systems, whether your lab is accredited or not, please contact us and learn how R18LabQMS can add value to your company.

– Gary Irvine