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PSNS & IMF Laboratory First to Receive ISO Accreditation

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070928-02
Release Date: 9/28/2007 9:42:00 AM

By Jerry Meyers, Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility Public Affairs

BREMERTON, Wash. (NNS) -- Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility's (PSNS & IMF) Laboratory Division (Code 134), responsible for chemical and materials analysis, became the first Naval Shipyard Laboratory to be fully accredited under the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) Laboratory Quality Accreditation Office (LQAO).

Code 134 personnel who made definitive contributions to achieving accreditation were presented with special achievement awards by Capt. Daniel J. Peters, PSNS & IMF commander, during a shipyard ceremony on Aug 13.

LQAO implements the International Standard Organization (ISO) 17025, “General Requirements for the Competence of Calibration and Testing Laboratories.”

“Code 134’s accreditation covers all of the testing performed by the laboratory that is not already covered by other internationally recognized accrediting authorities,” said Frank Hnatovic, PSNS & IMF Laboratory Quality manager.

Striving to achieve accreditation for all scopes of testing became an important task in 2006 when NAVSEA Instructions 4855.31 and 4855.32 were revised and their scope expanded to require Naval shipyard laboratories to establish a quality system in compliance with the current international industry standard for laboratories (ISO 17025) for all laboratory operations not covered by the Naval Nuclear Program.

“The requirements of ISO 17025 encompass all aspects of laboratory operations,” said Edward Hartzog, director of the NAVSEA LQAO. "The goal of LQAO accreditation is to ensure testing is documented and performed by properly trained personnel following controlled test methods and procedures to generate reproducible data that meets the required standard of quality.

“Naval shipyard laboratories are unique within the laboratory community because of the diversity of analytical services that they must provide to support the complex shipyard environment,” said Hartzog. “The results of analyses provided by these laboratories have a direct impact on the facility’s mission whether being used to determine environmental compliance of a waste discharge, the requirements for personnel protective equipment, suitability of a coating system for application to a critically coated surface, or acceptability of a material to be applied to systems.”

“The accreditation process as a whole involves having both a documented quality system and procedures, as well as demonstrating proficiency for all of the analyses performed,” said Hnatovic.
For the Navy, the Laboratory Division ISO 17025 accreditation means a higher level of quality and confidence for their customers.

“When Sailors at sea in the Persian Gulf operate a shipboard component or system, they have an expectation that it will work correctly each and every time,” said Gary Brunson, Code 134 division head. "This gives our ultimate customer, the Sailors, a higher level of assurance with the equipment they rely upon to safely complete their mission every day."

“Unlike the typical assessments that focus on a single area of laboratory operations, this accreditation process assesses the laboratory’s quality system and application of its requirements throughout the laboratory,” added Hartzog. "All aspects of laboratory operations are reviewed, including personnel training, proficiency reporting and testing."

“PSNS & IMF Code 134 has done an excellent job establishing a model quality system that meets, and in many cases exceeds, the requirements of the NAVSEA Laboratory Accreditation Program. I would like to extend my personal congratulations to the laboratory on a job well done," he said.

The accreditation will last for two years which is similar to the other accreditations the laboratory already holds.

“This was a laboratory-wide accreditation, its success involved everyone in the laboratory,” said Hnatovic.

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