The Technical Records in Calibration Documentation

with 2 Comments


Recording as part of our documentation is not a new activity. I believe that most of you that are engaged in this technical field are doing some kind of documentation or recording of results as part of your daily job activity.

In this post, I will present with you the following:
1. technical records that we need during calibration,
2. the reason why we need to record,
3. what to includes in the technical record,
4. and the right way to amend a record as per ISO 17025: 2017 and I believe also applicable to ISO 9001.
5. the related clause under ISO 17025:2017 and ISO 9001:2015 related to technical records


I also discuss the lists of calibration documents which includes the form that we need to have in order to maintain compliance to requirements of ISO 17025 standards  during the execution of our calibration work.


The Need for Technical Documentation in Calibration

Are you familiar with the sayings “If it is not recorded then it is not calibrated”?

I do not remember who wrote that (you can comment it below). Based on the quality standard today in every industry, the above statement is very true.

As per my experience, calibration activities consist of 60% documentation and only 40% calibration (the technical aspect).
There is more work performed in documentation compared to executing the actual calibration of instruments.

Below is also some guide questions why we need to “Have” and ‘’Maintain’’ Forms and Technical Records in Calibration:

  • How can you make your calibration execution thorough and more faster?
  • Do you know exactly what to check or verify during calibration?
  • When performing calibration, do you sometimes forget other requirements of the procedure?
  • How do you know that you followed the requirements of your customer during calibration?
  • How can you repeat the same procedure all over again and to avoid missing a data?

I simple advice, if you are starting to enter this field and you do not want too much documentation as part of work, then this is not a job for you.

But of course, there are still some exceptions that depends on the design of your calibration process, but in general, this will apply (more so if you are performing under quality department)


Problems You Will Encounter If You Do Not Have Sufficient Documentation or Technical Records.

  1. If Calibration procedure is not recorded and standardize, any one has its own way of doing things which will results in more inaccurate and inconsistent results
  2. Without records, you will not have a data to review for any mistakes and correction that can be used for future improvements.
  3. No records means no work done resulting to a non-compliance during audit.
  4. You will face the issue of traceability in documentation.There is no way to back track your results to correct any issue related to reported results.


What are the Requirements of Calibration Technical Records as per ISO 17025:2017?

ISO 17025 is an International Standards design to promote confidence in the operation of Calibration and Testing Laboratories. Its requirements on calibration records under Clause 7.5, Technical Records, which states that:

7.5.1 The laboratory shall ensure that technical records for each laboratory activity contain the results, report and sufficient information to facilitate, if possible, identification of factors affecting the measurement result and its associated measurement uncertainty.

What are these Results, Reports and Sufficient Information?

  • Results like : as-found/as-left results, calibration,  and uncertainty results
  • Reporting of results follow the requirements of a calibration report or certificate and other required  information

And the content of the records shall include below (at least):

  1. Date
  2. Identity of the personnel responsible for the record
  3. Original observations, data and calculations

>> please check out the complete requirements of calibration report  here in my other post: How to Properly Use and Interpret an ISO 17025 Calibration Certificate

During recording, it shall be recorded at the time they are made and shall be identifiable with the specific task.

If ever there is an amendment or  corrections to be made, Clause 7.5.2 states that, both the original and amended data and files shall be retained and must include:

  1. the date of alteration or amendments,
  2. an indication of the altered aspects or mistakes
  3. the personnel responsible for the alterations

This means that there should be no hard erasures, a cross-out/ strikethrough is enough to cover the mistakes then a signature with date and the correct term alongside the mistakes is enough.

when making corrections

What are the Benefits of Using Forms and Maintaining Technical Records in Calibration?

It is obvious that we need to record because it is a requirement but below are some  reasons why we need to create and maintain a technical record:

  1. This is the main reason under ISO 17025:
    1. Clause 7.5.1 which states that “ to enable the repetition of the laboratory activity under conditions as close as possible to the original”.
    2. Clause 7.5.2 stated as, “ to ensure that amendments to technical records can be tracked to previous versions or to original observations”.
  2. Evidence that we perform the required calibration job as per procedure.
  3. To make your calibration results traceable.
    This means that to backtrack the person who performs the calibration including other factors that have an effect on the work done. Related to number 6 below on Measurement Traceability.
  4. Evidence of conformance to the standards (ISO 17025 or ISO 9001) and processes during audits. Technical records are used as an answer (or evidence) to most of the audit questions.
  5. Evidence that we follow the procedures or requirements completely through the data results that we record and report. Not all information is reported in the calibration report, therefore, this serves as our back-up.
  6. A requirement under ISO 9001:2015
    • under clause 7.1.5.1 which states that “The organization shall retain appropriate documented information as evidence of fitness for purpose of the monitoring and measurement resources”.
    • under clause 7.1.5.2 on Measurement Traceability which states: “The organization shall determine if the validity of previous measurement results has been adversely affected when measuring equipment is found to be unfit for its intended purpose and shall take appropriate action as necessary.”


What are the necessary Forms and Records That We Always Need to Perform Calibration?

Forms are always the best tool to use in documenting or recording your accomplished work. Forms should always be a part of every calibration procedure.

Having a forms to fill up with will provide a better and faster flow of calibration execution. It is a template that will guide and show you what to do next. Just fill in the blanks.

The following are a list of forms and records that we need to have while performing calibration:

  • Forms for recording Calibration data – we call it  Measurement Data Sheet (MDS) (others call it Measurement Data Result or worksheet) – below are its purpose:
    1. it contains all data recording of calibration results and observation –
    2. This will guide you on what information we need to record.
    3. It summarizes the calibration procedure to avoid missing out some requirements
    4. This serves as a draft for review and approval
Sample Measurement Data Sheet (MDS)


Check in this link other details of the Measurement Data Sheet (MDS)
  • Accomplished Forms or a record of Customer requirements (if available) – to determine the specific requirements of the customers
  • Calibration procedure – the exact procedure to be used, this will be reflected in the final report.
  • Manufacturer Manual – a guide for proper operation and a source for accuracy requirements for verification.
  • Uncertainty Budget Template – for easy calculation of measurement uncertainty.
  • Calibration report template – a form where the final output from the MDS will be reported and to be printed as the final calibration certificate.
  • Calibration report of the reference standard used – to determine the exact data for calculation of results.

Just remember, all these documents must be controlled in any way possible or monitored for any changes and distribution.

Conclusion

One of the requirement for every documentation and Standards is to maintain a record. I have discussed in this post the importance of maintaining technical records, what are the technical records in relation to calibration execution, the forms we need during calibration and the related clause about technical records according to ISO 17025:2017 and ISO 9001:2015.


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Best Regards,

Edwin

2 Responses

  1. Ich
    | Reply

    Thank you very much again sir Edwin for sharing a very important guidelines in this field of work.
    This is very important for me as starter in this field of work.
    Regards

    • edsponce
      | Reply

      Hi Ich,
      Happy to know that you have learned something in this post.

      Thank you for reading. Any questions you have in mind that is related to my post, please do not hesitate to message me.

      Best Regards,
      Edwin

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