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IAEA Laboratory for Occupational Radiation Monitoring Receives New International Accreditation

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Calibration of instruments for use in the accredited workplace monitoring services. (Photo: M. Kraus/IAEA)

The IAEA’s laboratory providing radiation monitoring and protection services has recently received its accreditation to a newly published revised edition of an international standard, certifying that it meets the highest level of quality in consistent operation and impartiality. The updated standard comes with new requirements in several areas allowing for a greater flexibility in processes, procedures, documented information and organizational responsibilities.

“We are very glad to have our compliance with ISO/IEC 17025:2017 confirmed, providing assurance that this essential service continues to operate at a very high level and to generate accurate results,” said Peter Johnston, Director of the IAEA's Division of Radiation, Transport and Waste Safety.

The laboratory, located in Vienna and in Seibersdorf, Austria, provides technical support services to the IAEA as well as guidance and training to laboratories in occupational radiation monitoring worldwide. Such monitoring is needed to ensure that activities are conducted safely, and that individual exposures stay below dose limits. Workplace monitoring is carried out to verify that radiation levels in the IAEA’s workplaces remain within established limits and to ensure precise planning to optimize doses when working with radiation sources.

In 2006, the laboratory received ISO accreditation granted by an internationally recognized assessment body for the first time. Two recent external assessments were concluded without any further recommendations or findings and noted the high level of commitment to quality amongst the laboratory staff.

“Since the publishing of the new ISO/IEC 17025:2017, we worked on strengthening our internal training, risk management processes and gap analysis, internal audits, and quality management documentation,” highlighted Tobias Benesch, Acting Quality Manager at the IAEA. Through these steps, the laboratory’s quality management system was transitioned to achieve compliance with the new standard while maintaining accredited services and supporting everyday work of IAEA staff. 

In the last decade, experts from countries including Azerbaijan, Brazil, Chile, Jamaica, Malaysia, Mongolia, Qatar, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea and Spain have received training and support in assessment of occupational radiation exposure and quality management systems. Such opportunities help local experts gain important technical skills needed to set up their own services and laboratories.

“During a very effective recent scientific visit to the IAEA laboratory, I became familiar with the methods employed by the lab and the quality management system,” said Mohammed Hassan Kharita, Director of Radiation Safety in the Occupational Health and Safety in Qatar. “We are now in touch with IAEA obtaining assistance in developing specifications for our laboratory,” he added.

In addition, the laboratory has supported expert missions, fellowships and training courses in 110 countries.

Laboratories interested in the approach taken to transition to ISO/IEC 17025:2017 are invited to contact the laboratory.

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