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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 1. Administration
Agency 30. Department of General Services
Chapter 46. Accreditation for Commercial Environmental Laboratories
12/10/2019

1VAC30-46-220. on-Site Assessment.

A. The standards for on-site assessment are found in Volume 2, Module 3 of the TNI standards. The requirements specific to environmental laboratories are set out in this section.

B. DCLS shall conduct a comprehensive on-site assessment of an environmental laboratory prior to granting final primary accreditation to the laboratory.

C. Frequency of on-site assessment.

1. DCLS shall reassess each accredited laboratory every two years starting from the date of the previous assessment plus or minus six months.

2. Other on-site assessments.

a. If DCLS identified a deficiency on a previous on-site assessment, the agency may conduct a follow-up on-site assessment.

b. DCLS may conduct an on-site assessment under the following circumstances:

(1) A laboratory applies to modify its scope of accreditation;

(2) A transfer of ownership occurs that affects personnel, equipment, or the laboratory facilities; or

(3) A laboratory applies for an exemption or a variance.

c. Any other change occurring in a laboratory's operations that might reasonably be expected to alter or impair analytical capability and quality may trigger an on-site assessment.

D. Announced and unannounced on-site assessments. DCLS, at its discretion, may conduct either announced or unannounced on-site assessments. Advance notice of an assessment shall not be necessary.

E. Preparation for the on-site assessment.

1. Prior to the actual site visit, DCLS may request in writing from a laboratory those records required to be maintained by this chapter.

2. DCLS may opt not to proceed with an on-site assessment based on nonconformities found during document and record review.

F. Areas to be assessed.

1. DCLS shall assess the laboratory against the standards incorporated by reference and specified in 1VAC30-46-200 and 1VAC30-46-210.

2. The laboratory shall ensure that its quality manual, analytical methods, quality control data, proficiency test data, laboratory SOPs, and all records needed to verify compliance with the standards specified in 1VAC30-46-200 and 1VAC30-46-210 are available for review during the on-site assessment.

G. National security considerations.

1. Assessments at facilities owned or operated by federal agencies or contractors may require security clearances, appropriate badging, or a security briefing before the assessment begins.

2. The laboratory shall notify DCLS in writing of any information that is controlled for national security reasons and cannot be released to the public.

H. Arrival, admittance, and opening conference.

1. Arrival. DCLS and the laboratory shall agree to the date and schedule for announced on-site assessments.

2. Admittance of assessment personnel. A laboratory's refusal to admit the assessment personnel for an on-site assessment shall result in an automatic failure of the laboratory to receive accreditation or loss of an existing accreditation by the laboratory, unless there are extenuating circumstances that are accepted and documented by DCLS.

3. Health and safety. Under no circumstance, and especially as a precondition to gain access to a laboratory, shall assessment personnel be required or even allowed to sign any waiver of responsibility on the part of the laboratory for injuries incurred during an assessment.

4. Opening conference. An opening conference shall be conducted and shall address the following topics:

a. The purpose of the assessment;

b. The identification of assessment personnel;

c. The test methods that will be examined;

d. Any pertinent records and procedures to be examined during the assessment and the names of the individuals in the laboratory responsible for providing assessment personnel with such records;

e. The roles and responsibilities of laboratory staff and managers;

f. Any special safety procedures that the laboratory may think necessary for the protection of assessment personnel;

g. The standards and criteria that will be used in judging the adequacy of the laboratory operation;

h. Confirmation of the tentative time for the exit conference; and

i. Discussion of any questions the laboratory may have about the assessment process.

I. On-site laboratory records review and collection.

1. Records shall be reviewed by assessment personnel for accuracy, completeness, and the use of proper methodology for each analyte and test method to be evaluated.

2. Records required to be maintained pursuant to this chapter shall be examined as part of an assessment for accreditation.

J. Observations of and interviews with laboratory personnel.

1. As an element of the assessment process, the assessment team shall evaluate an analysis regimen by requesting that the analyst normally conducting the procedure give a step-by-step description of exactly what is done and what equipment and supplies are needed to complete the regimen. Any deficiencies shall be noted and discussed with the analyst. In addition, the deficiencies shall be discussed in the closing conference.

2. Assessment personnel may conduct interviews with appropriate laboratory personnel.

3. Calculations, data transfers, calibration procedures, quality control and quality assurance practices, adherence to test methods, and report preparation shall be assessed for the complete scope of accreditation with appropriate laboratory analysts.

K. Closing conference.

1. Assessment personnel shall meet with representatives of the laboratory following the assessment for a closing conference.

2. During the closing conference, assessment personnel shall inform the laboratory of the preliminary findings and the basis for such findings. The laboratory shall have an opportunity to provide further explanation or clarification relevant to the preliminary findings. If the laboratory objects to the preliminary findings during the closing conference, all objections shall be documented by the assessment personnel and included in the final report to DCLS.

3. Additional problem areas may be identified in the final report.

L. Follow-up and reporting procedures.

1. DCLS shall provide an on-site assessment report to the laboratory documenting any deficiencies found by DCLS within 30 calendar days of the last day of the on-site assessment.

2. When deficiencies are identified in the assessment report, the laboratory shall have 30 calendar days from the date of its receipt of the on-site assessment report to provide a corrective action plan to DCLS.

3. The laboratory's corrective action plan shall include the following:

a. Any objections that the laboratory has with regard to the on-site assessment report;

b. The action that the laboratory proposes to correct each deficiency identified in the assessment report;

c. The time period required to accomplish the corrective action; and

d. Documentation of corrective action that the laboratory has already completed at the time the corrective action plan is submitted.

4. If the corrective action plan, or a portion of the plan, is determined to be unacceptable to remedy the deficiency, DCLS shall provide written notification to the responsible official and technical manager of the laboratory, including a detailed explanation of the basis for such determination. Following receipt of such notification, the laboratory shall have an additional 30 calendar days to submit a revised corrective action plan acceptable to DCLS.

5. DCLS may withdraw accreditation from a laboratory under 1VAC30-46-100 B 5 if DCLS finds the second revised corrective action plan to be unacceptable.

6. The laboratory shall submit documentation to DCLS that the corrective action set out in its plan has been completed within the time period specified in the plan.

7. DCLS, under 1VAC30-46-100 B 6, may withdraw accreditation from a laboratory if the laboratory fails to implement the corrective actions set out in its corrective action plan.

8. DCLS shall grant final accreditation as specified in 1VAC30-46-70 K upon successful completion of any required corrective action following the on-site assessment.

Statutory Authority

§ 2.2-1105 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Volume 32, Issue 01, eff. November 1, 2015.

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