6 Powerful Laboratory Resource Requirements for ISO 17025 – Clause 6 of the ISO 17025 Standard

laboratory resource requirements for ISO 17025


Clause 6 of ISO 17025 is titled “Resource requirements” and specifies the requirements for the resources that an organization must have in order to operate a competence-based laboratory. These resources include personnel, facilities, equipment, materials, and quality management systems.

The clause outlines the general requirements for personnel, including the need for qualified and trained staff, as well as requirements for the facilities, such as adequate size, cleanliness, and safety. It also specifies the need for appropriate equipment and materials, including the requirement that the equipment be properly calibrated and maintained.

Moreover, the clause outlines the requirements for a quality management system, including the need for documented procedures and documentation control, as well as the requirement for ongoing improvement of the system.

Laboratory Resource Requirements for ISO 17025 | Clause 6.1: General

To be able to achieve accreditation, organizations must have laboratories in line with the following criteria:

  • Competent personnel
  • Suitable facilities
  • Calibrated and equipment in good working order
  • Policies and forms to ensure good traceability
  • Support services such as administration and technical

Laboratory Resource Requirements for ISO 17025 | Clause 6.2: Personnel

In terms of personnel, the standard requires that laboratories have qualified and trained staff who are able to perform their duties effectively. This includes having personnel with the necessary education, training, and experience to carry out the work. It also requires that there be sufficient staffing levels to ensure that the laboratory is able to meet its commitments and produce reliable results.

All personnel working within the laboratory must document every necessary step that is taken for transparency purposes. They must also have the competency for each function influencing the results of laboratory activities, including education, qualifications, training, technical knowledge, skills, and experience.

Thus, the laboratory shall have procedures in place and keep records for:

  1. Deciding the competence requirements – Job descriptions with established criteria;
  2. Choice of personnel – Recruitment procedure;
  3. Training of personnel – Training procedure, including all necessary records;
  4. Supervision of personnel – Training records;
  5. Authorization of personnel – Authorisation of competence;
  6. Monitoring competence of personnel – Ability or interlab exercise.

Furthermore, the laboratory shall have a procedure to authorize personnel to perform laboratory activities such as:

  1. Development, modification, verification and validation of methods;
  2. The analysis of results, including statements of conformity or opinions and interpretations;
  3. Report, review and authorization of results.

Laboratory Resource Requirements for ISO 17025 | Clause 6.3: Facilities and Environmental Conditions

The standard also requires that laboratories have suitable facilities that are of appropriate size, cleanliness, and safety. This includes having the necessary infrastructure, such as electricity, water, and heating, as well as appropriate ventilation and lighting.

The premises, including environmental conditions, shall be suitable for the activities and shall in no way affect the validity of results. This is dependent on the type of activities taking place, which may include microbiological analysis, which will require specific sterility conditions or chemical analysis, which shall require humidity and temperature control for certain reactions to take place. These requirements shall be controlled, recorded and monitored in accordance with relevant standards or where they affect the results.

Laboratory Resource Requirements for ISO 17025 | Clause 6.4: Equipment

Equipment and materials are also an important resource for a laboratory. The standard requires that laboratories have appropriate equipment that is calibrated and maintained to ensure its accuracy and reliability. It also requires that laboratories have access to the necessary materials and supplies to perform their work.

The laboratory shall have access to several equipment that shall aid or complement their activities. This equipment should have a procedure documenting the handling, transport, storage, use, and planned maintenance of the equipment, to ensure it is properly functioning and to prevent contamination or deterioration. Before using or returning to service, the laboratory shall have a document detailing the specified requirements, to which the equipment should conform to.

Equipment should be verified and confirmed by ensuring that the equipment fits its purpose within the laboratory’s activities. Responsible personnel should calibrate this measuring equipment and ensure that it fits the measurement uncertainty budgets, stipulated within the quality policies. Maintenance and calibration planners should be documented and reviewed periodically to adjust as necessary, to keep confidence in the status of calibration. Such calibration validity is to be clearly labeled and coded to allow the equipment user to find the calibration status or period of validity.

Furthermore, in cases where calibration and reference materials include reference values or corrective factors, a procedure should allow the updating of these values, and ensure that they are implemented correctly. On the other hand, management should also prevent unintended adjustments of equipment, which may result in the invalidating of reports.

If, for any reason, the equipment gives questionable results, due to mishandling or overloading, the said equipment must be removed from use, and, if permissible, isolated to prevent the use, or at least clearly labeled. The same equipment must only be returned to service, upon verification and fulfilling the criteria as set up within the lab’s policy. If upon further investigation, the laboratory finds deviations from specified requirements, management should start the process of nonconforming work procedure.

Equipment logs shall be recorded, including the following:

  1. A unique code to identify the equipment, including software and firmware version
  2. The name of the manufacturer, the model or serial number, and any other unique identification;
  3. Evidence of verification that equipment conforms with the specified requirements;
  4. Location;
  5. Calibration dates, results, adjustments, acceptance criteria, and the due date of the next calibration;
  6. Documentation of reference materials, results, acceptance criteria, and relevant dates;
  7. Maintenance plan and a maintenance log, where relevant to the performance of the equipment;
  8. Details of any functional problems with the equipment, and any maintenance is done on the equipment.


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Laboratory Resource Requirements for ISO 17025 | Clause 6.5: Metrological Traceability

The laboratory shall document and keep metrological traceability of its measurement results from a proper ISO Guide 34 (ISO 17034) reference. The measurement results are to be traceable to the International System of Units (SI), through:

    1. Calibration provided by a competent (accredited) laboratory; or

    1. Certified values of certified reference material (ISO guide 34) provided by a competent producer with metrological traceability;

    1. Direct realization of the SI units is ensured by comparison, directly or indirectly, with national or international standards.

If in some cases, such metrological traceability is not technically possible, the laboratory shall prove metrological traceability to a proper reference, such as ISO guide 34 reference material or results of reference measurement procedures, with specified methods or consensus standards that are clearly described and accepted for their intended use.

The standard requires that laboratories have a quality management system in place. This includes having documented procedures in place for all activities, as well as documentation control to ensure the integrity and traceability of the results produced by the laboratory. The quality management system must also be continuously improved to ensure that the laboratory is operating at the highest level of competence.

Laboratory Resource Requirements for ISO 17025 | Clause 6.6: Externally Provided Products and Services (Subcontracting)

In cases where laboratories require subcontracting activities, they must ensure that only suitable products and services are used, when:

    1. Intended to be incorporated into the laboratory’s own activities for e.g.: used to partially fulfill a calibration requirement;

    1. Supplied directly to the client by the organization, as received from the sub-contractor, being partial or not e.g.: subcontracted analysis;

    1. Required to ensure the smooth operation of the laboratory;

In such instances, the laboratory shall have a procedure to keep records for:

    1. Defining, reviewing, and approving the lab’s requirements;

    1. Defining the criteria for evaluating, selecting, checking of performance and re-evaluation of the external providers;

    1. Ensuring the externally supplied products and services conform to the laboratory’s established requirements;

    1. Any actions arising from evaluating the performance and re-evaluations of the external providers.

On the other hand, the laboratory will be needed to communicate its requirements for:

    1. The products and services to be provided;

    1. The acceptance criteria;

    1. Competence, including required qualifications;

    1. Activities that the laboratory intends to perform at the external provider’s premises.


All in all, the purpose of Clause 6 is to ensure that the laboratory has the necessary resources to operate effectively and produce reliable results. The resource requirements include persons, buildings, equipment, systems, and support services. All internal and external laboratory staff must be competent and unbiased, according to the criteria. People directly involved in testing/calibration/sampling activities are included, as are those indirectly involved, such as technical personnel.

WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT laboratory resource requirements for ISO 17025?

Luke Desira is an ISO management system consultant whose purpose is to take your organisation to the next level. Start your journey towards ISO 17025 accreditation by watching an introductory clip! To further learn about ISO 17025 Laboratory Management System click here! Else, you can dive into the more detailed stuff and further learn about Laboratory Resource Requirements for ISO 17025, with articles about ISO 17025 Laboratory Sampling Requirements and Measurement and Uncertainty in ISO17025.

All management systems based on ISO Standards should be in line with your organization’s objectives, and ISO 17025 – Testing and Calibration Laboratories should be no different. Have a look at the ISO Certification specialised by Industry to further understand which ISO standards are suitable for your organization.

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