Training for technicians may be one of the most important activities within the laboratory. Lack of proper training will affect the overall quality of tests results, variability, and ultimately, the bottom line.

Whether or not your laboratory is accredited, technician training is a must. You must have training procedures in place, not only for new technicians coming on board but also for experienced and seasoned technicians to be assured they are following the most current test standards.

What does AASHTO R18 say?

Procedures within the R18 standard have two requirements. The first requirement is found in Section 5.5.1 and outlines the requirement that the laboratory must have a procedure and method in place to ensure technicians are trained properly, regardless of their level of experience.

Once a technician has been trained and deemed competent to run all aspects of standard tests, they are then required to go through competency checks on a periodic basis with a frequency based on experience and competency as outlined in section 5.5.2. Past requirements were 12 months, however, this is now at the discretion of the laboratory procedure management.   

It’s also important to note that section 5.5.3 states that tests for competency check are to be done by observing the technician perform the tests.

And then there’s record keeping

The second requirement is proper record keeping. Not all procedure requirements include a frequency requirement, but in the case of technician training records, there is. So how is this done within the R18LabQMS application?  After logging in, click on the Evaluations tab along the top, then click on New Technician Evaluation and follow the prompts. When completed, this will create a record that will automatically be placed in the quality manual.

User questions

Q: One question that seems to still pop up consistently is, ‘How do I give the assessor access to my quality manual?’

A: This is initiated by the assessor by having access to the login page (same as user). Create an account by clicking on the “Assessor Sign Up” tab, this is where the assessor will create their login credentials. Assessors can then log in to the Assessor Dashboard and request to view your quality manual. The laboratory will be notified by email when this happens. Laboratories can then allow assessor access from their dashboard that is permission-based and view only. Access can be disabled at any time.  

Resources

R18LabQMS YouTube Channel
Training and informational videos that include version updates, R18LabQMS demos and more.

R18LabQMS has a knowledge base
Accessible from the dashboard within the application, top right “help”.

Training opportunities

Once you work through the setup process, the following links can be found in the lower right-hand corner of the application;
Support
User Guide
 R18 Blog
WebEx – Additional training, please let us know and we can set this up.
Onsite Training – Fee-based, please inquire.

Upcoming meetings

SEAUPG 2018 Annual Meeting & Exhibits
Southeastern Asphalt User / Producer Group
Raleigh, NC, November 12-15, 2018

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

– Gary Irvine
R18LabQMS Program Manager