the new ISO/IEC 17025 international standard for testing and calibration laboratories.12

In 2003, the ASCLD/LAB Delegate Assembly approved the implementation of an ISO/IEC 17025 program, and ASCLD/LAB began offering these accreditations in April 2004. Accreditations for forensic science laboratories are now conducted using General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories 17025 ISO/IEC (2005),13 the same requirements under which private and public laboratories are accredited. The international standards are developed through technical committees to deal with particular fields of technical activity. In order for sector specific requirements for forensic laboratories to be addressed, ISO allows for the amplification of requirements or supplemental requirements, such as ASCLD/LAB-International Supplemental requirements for the accreditation of forensic science testing laboratories (2006).

ASCLD/LAB’s areas of focus are laboratory management and operations, personnel qualifications, and the physical plant. The following must be in place for accreditation:

  • procedures to protect evidence from loss, cross-transfer, contamination, and/or deleterious change;

  • validated and documented technical procedures;

  • the use of appropriate controls and standards;

  • calibration procedures;

  • complete documentation of all evidence examination;

  • documented training programs that include competency testing;

  • technical review of a portion of each examiner’s work product;

  • testimony monitoring of all who testify; and

  • a comprehensive proficiency testing program.14

The ASCLD/LAB accreditation cycle is five years, with annual reports required from each accredited laboratory that consist of any changes in management, staff, facilities, methodologies, proficiency testing, and testimony monitoring. All accredited laboratories must maintain written copies of appropriate technical procedures, including descriptions of sample preparation methods, controls, standards, and calibration procedures, as well as a discussion of precautions, sources of possible error, and literature references. In addition, ASCLD/LAB has a policy regarding the reporting of noncompliance with requirements, a portion of which is excerpted below:






R. Stacey, President, ASCLD/LAB. Presentation to the committee. January 25, 2007.

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