Maintaining accreditation events continues to be of utmost importance in the process of laboratory accreditation. And while on-site assessments became a challenge as early as March 2020 with Covid-19 regulations, and as we have all adapted in this environment, accreditation bodies have risen to the challenge and now offer remote and virtual assessments.
In the case of AASHTO re:source, they suspended all on-site assessments and now offer remote assessments initially to labs with immediate needs to maintain their accreditation. They also followed up with informational webinars with details regarding remote assessments and what to expect. On their most recent Webinar on July 14th, AASHTO re:source announced that all assessments will be remote until further notice.
Find all questions and answers regarding AASHTO re:source remote assessments.
Required documentation for remote access
One of the documents you will find when reviewing the remote assessment process is the 12-step flowchart. On step 2 you will find information that is required prior to the scheduled assessment date. I’d like to highlight the key documents: AASHTO R18 documents and records. It is here where the laboratory will be required to provide all records within your quality manual since your last assessment, at a minimum. It’s important to note that the R18 Standard requires a 5-year record retention minimum.
Providing your quality manual to the assessor
Getting your documents to the assessor can be a complex process if you’re not organized. However, AASHTO re:source provides laboratories within their account to upload the QMS documents with limitations on size, while other options may be available with cloud services. Keep in mind that all remote assessments have a base fee, plus an hourly rate, so being organized will save you money.
Assessor access with R18LabQMS
R18LabQMS may be the best thing that ever happened to the management of your quality manual when it comes to sharing with the assessor. When access is granted to the accessor, all required documents and records are there at the click of a button, no uploading of files and everything is listed in order as it is in the management, and technical sections within the quality manual. There is a section that contains history for equipment calibration, standardizations, checks, and maintenance procedures in a neat organized electronic filing cabinet broken down by category specifically designed for the assessor.
Granting access to the assessor
Assessors can create an account (from the Login Page) and request to view a user’s Quality Management System (QMS) prior to an on-site assessment that is permission-based with read-only access.
Create an assessor account
Go to the Login Page and cick the assessor sign-up tab. Once the assessor creates an account they can go back to the login page to log in. Once logged into the assessor’s page, the assessor can select a laboratory to request access to view the user’s quality manual. The user of the requested laboratory must grant access to that assessor before being able to access the requested quality manual. The user can then disable that access at any time.
Primary lab manager approval
Once the assessor makes the request to view your quality manual, the Primary Lab Manager (PLM) will receive an email. The request will appear on the dashboard within the assessor widget where you can approve or deny the request. Please note the PLM can remove access within this widget at any time. The same assessor approval process appears under the manage lab tab on the bottom left-hand column, view/edit.
Q: Will AASHTO re:source accept R18LabQMS as a way to provide the accessor the required AASHTO R18 documents and records during a remote assessment?
A: Yes! This question was asked on the most recent webinar “Remote Assessments” on July 24th.
Resources and training opportunities
Once you work through the setup process, the following links can be found in the lower right-hand corner of the application;
AAPT (Association of Asphalt Paving Technologist)
This is a great opportunity to kick the tires and learn more about an organization that’s in its 96th year. There’s a wealth of knowledge within its membership.
SEAUPG (Southeastern Asphalt User/Producer Group)
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.