Inspection is the systematic examination of the extent to which a product, process or service fulfils specified requirements by observation and professional judgement accompanied as appropriate by measurement, testing or gauging which should be based on accurate and reliable data.
Inspections activities are varied and may be very simple such as checking of quantities, to very complex such as inspections of dangerous machines, lifts, pressure equipment, agro-foodstuffs, electrical installations, etc. Some of the inspections are a legal requirement and are covered by legislation. The objective of every inspection is to reduce the risk to the owner, the buyer and to the user of the item being inspected.
Decisions by Inspection Bodies have effects on business continuity, safety of persons and property. Wrong decisions may lead to financial losses and loss of limb or life.
This is why Governments, manufacturers, suppliers and customers want to have confidence in the competence of the Inspection bodies that perform inspections on their behalf. They want to be sure that the inspection bodies have the personnel, facilities, and technical expertise to carry out inspections professionally and competently and that they operate a management system which enables them to control and continually improve their performance.
Inspections can be used in the voluntary and regulated areas, for the assessment of conformity of a product, project, service, process or installation with relevant requirements based on professional judgement.
Accreditation provides assurance of competence of inspectors, relevance of methods for conducting inspections and impartiality of results. Accreditation establishes that the Inspection Body meets the requirements of the international standard for inspection bodies namely EN ISO/IEC 17020.
In September 2013 IAF-ILAC-ISO jointly issued a Communiqué on the Management Systems Requirements of ISO/IEC 17020:2012, Conformity assessment – Requirements for the operation of bodies performing inspection. This stated that “An inspection body’s fulfilment of the requirements of ISO/IEC 17020:2012 means the Inspection body meets both the technical competence requirements and management system requirements that are necessary for it to consistently deliver technically valid inspection results. The management system requirements in ISO/IEC 17020:2012 (Section 8) are written in language relevant to inspection body operations and are aligned with the pertinent requirements of ISO 9001.”
A copy of this communiqué may be downloaded.
Applying for accreditation
Information on the Accreditation process and Application forms for the accreditation of your inspection body may be found in the Publications section.