The extension to ESG’s UKAS accreditation has been awarded to the company’s Bridgend laboratory to cover asbestos bulk identification. The detailed assessment criteria for the accreditation are based on the international standards ISO/IEC 17025, which are used for evaluating laboratories throughout the world, ensuring that Bridgend offers the highest quality analysis for its clients.
ESG offers analysis of asbestos fibre content of a sample, as it is a strict requirement of all Management, Refurbishment and Demolition Asbestos Surveys. In addition, it is a requirement of Regulation 5 of the CAR 2012 that an employer shall not carry out work in demolition, maintenance, or any other work which exposes or is liable to expose his employees to asbestos unless a suitable assessment has been carried out. This assessment determines the material type and subsequent analysis the asbestos fibre type.
All of ESG’s asbestos analysis is carried out using methods in strict accordance with the HSE document HSG 248 The Analyst Guide. Polarised optical microscopy analysis is carried out on small samples of materials at ESG’s laboratories. This analysis technique is thought to be fast, inexpensive, and reliable as well as being sufficient to identify the range of asbestos fibre types that occur in building materials and other contaminated materials, in most circumstances.
UKAS’s strict accreditation process meant that the Bridgend team faced three stages of assessment for its analysis during the audit. As part of this, specialist technical assessors evaluated all the elements of the laboratory that contribute to the production of accurate and reliable test or calibration data. Moreover, the thorough assessment included; technical competency of staff, validity and appropriateness of test or calibration methods, traceability of measurements and calibrations to national standards, suitability, calibration and maintenance of test or calibration equipment, testing or calibration environment, sampling, handling and transportation of test or calibration items, as well as quality assurance of test and calibration data.
The attainment of this accreditation has been achieved through a team effort from David Birkin - Operations Manager, Charles Cooper – Asbestos Technician and Matthew Harris – Quality & Technical Manager. Each of the team has played their own part in ensuring that the asbestos bulk identification processes and methodologies met UKAS’s robust criteria.
Matthew Harris – Quality & Technical Manager, said: “We are proud of obtaining this UKAS accreditation as it shows that we are performing industry-leading bulk asbestos analysis here in Bridgend. The accreditation has been achieved through the team’s hard work in ensuring that our polarised optical microscopy analysis met UKAS’s strict criteria. Our clients can now be assured that their analysis of asbestos fibre content of a sample will be carried out to the highest possible standard. We’re confident that our new UKAS accreditation, coupled with our 24 hour turnaround on samples, will offer a more robust service for our clients.”
Following the accreditation, UKAS will periodically review SOCOTEC’s Bridgend laboratory to ensure its continued compliance with requirements, and to check that its standard of operation is being maintained. For more information about UKAS, you can visit http://www.ukas.com