Inspection bodies provide information about the conformity of inspected items with objective criteria such as regulations, standards, specifications, inspection schemes or contracts. This may be on behalf of the body’s parent organisation (first party) or for commercial clients and government authorities.
Inspections may be undertaken in conjunction with testing and/or certification but, unlike these other conformity assessment activities, often involves the application of professional judgement based upon expertise, practical experience and the contextual understanding of the relevant activities.
The parameters considered may include:
– Fitness for purpose
– Ongoing safety compliance of installations or systems in operation
Inspection activities may also be undertaken at various points in a process:
– Design verification – does a design meet specification?
– Factory – ensuring consistency of production (important to product certification systems)
– Fabrication – is the construction in accordance with the design?
– Installation – ensuring that installation does not compromise the integrity of what is being installed
– In-service – ensuring continuing operation integrity
The international standard used as the basis for accreditation is ISO/IEC 17020 – Requirements for the operation of various types of bodies performing inspection.
In principle, inspection accreditation has a breadth of application equivalent to that of laboratory accreditation. NATA’s inspection sector currently has 196 accredited inspection bodies across the following areas.
- Seed production inspections – genetic make-up and contamination
- Inspections of meat and meat products for export – suitability and integrity
- Grain Inspections – weight verification and sample collection
- Site contamination – surveying and assessing presence and condition of contaminants
- Occupational hazards inspections – hazard identification, evaluation of controls, workplace characterisation and risk assessment
- Pedestrian surfaces – evaluation of elements supporting access and mobility
3. Infrastructure and Asset Integrity
- Cargo Inspections – pre-shipment inspection, sampling from shipments and conformity verification of products and commodities
- Surveillance and inspection of structural steelwork – fabrication and site work
- Concrete structures inspections – pre/post-pour concrete elements and structures
- Coating inspections – protective coatings, preparation of surfaces, supply (includes containment of debris and residues)
- Metering Systems – in-field performance of hydrocarbon and water metering systems
- Flexible Hoses assemblies – safety and integrity of offshore and onshore applications
- Lifting Equipment – in-service verification of work equipment and attachments for lifting and lowering loads, height safety equipment for personnel.
- Pressure Equipment – compliance with occupational health and safety requirements, environmental protection and avoidance of property damage.
4. Manufactured Goods
- Medical Devices – safety and functionality examinations of equipment used in medical settings
- Explosion-protected electrical equipment – ongoing inspections of equipment used in mines, refineries and similar hazardous and potentially explosive settings
- Diesel Engine Systems – integrity and safety inspections in mining and similar situations producing potentially explosive atmospheres
- Electromagnetic compatibility – assessment of electrical and electronic products for compliance with regulatory requirements covering electromagnetic emissions and immunity to interference
- Radio frequency and microwave radiation safety – modelling of radiation patterns and field-strength from transmitters (including mobile phone towers) for compliance with occupational and public exposure limits
- Timber and timber products – determining serviceability, durability and suitability for the purpose
These are the current activities covered by NATA accreditation but, as mentioned, inspection accreditation is applicable to a very broad range of disciplines. If your particular interest is not reflected by the current range of activities described above, don’t conclude it can’t be accredited.
For additional information about the Inspection Body accreditation program, please contact Amir Murad at: email@example.com