February 28, 2014

What is a Chain of Custody? Is it required?

Oregon State Law requires that laboratories follow certain guidelines, in order to assist PRFs and facilities in complying with the rules. One of these guidelines requires that a laboratory follow either The ISO/17025;2005 Standard (International Organization Standard) or NELAC rules.

Section 5.8 of the ISO Rules describes the protocol for the handling of test and calibration items, which is also called a Chain of Custody.

A Chain of Custody system is required to protect the laboratory, as well as the customers. It requires the laboratory to have procedures, accountability, and responsibility for their testing process. It also requires that a laboratory have a control system to ensure that samples have not been tampered with or have not been mixed up at any point of the test process. This protocol is required from the start to the end of the testing process.

Rule 5.8 Handling of test and calibration items. 5.8.1. The laboratory shall have procedures for the transportation, receipt, handling, protection, storage, retention and/or disposal of test and/or calibration items, including provisions necessary to protect the integrity of the test or calibration item, and to protect the interests of the laboratory and the customer (ISO/17025;2005).

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