AIHA LAP E-News 2022 Year-End Edition
Message from the Managing Director
Happy New Year AIHA LAP Accredited Labs and Stakeholders!
As we embark on a new year, the AIHA LAP Team thanks you for your continued support over the past year and, I want to take this opportunity to fill you in on some of our achievements in 2022:
- Having undergone a joint evaluation from ILAC regional bodies the Asia Pacific Accreditation Cooperation (APAC) and the Inter American Accreditation Cooperation (IAAC) in 2021, AIHA LAP was approved by full members of both regional bodies in Q1 of 2022 following their review of our joint evaluation report. Our next joint evaluation is scheduled for 2025.
- AIHA Laboratory Accreditation Programs was recognized to accredit laboratories for the Laboratory Accreditation for Analyses of Foods (LAAF) program under the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) final rule. The FDA Program was established to support accredited laboratory testing when called for by FDA as it responds to food safety-related issues. LAAF accredited labs (those accredited by AIHA LAP and other FDA approved accreditation bodies) will be allowed to test food under these circumstances. AIHA LAP will be accepting applications for those labs that want to be accredited to LAAF so that they can conduct food testing on behalf of FDA. Those laboratories already accredited under FoodLAP, will simply need to add LAAF to their scopes and may not need another onsite assessment.
- Using risk-based approaches, our site assessors began to conduct more hybrid assessments (combination of remote and onsite assessments) and transition back to full onsite assessments after over two years of remote assessments and post remote surveillances. Almost every AIHA LAP accredited lab has undergone at least one remote assessment since we started them in 2020. LAP feedback indicates that Site Assessors and accredited laboratories generally viewed remote assessments favorably, but everyone is anxious to resume on site assessments. Our assessors continued to build upon their knowledge and expertise around all types of site assessments meeting almost every month to discuss assessment techniques and strategies.
- We hosted another successful virtual LAP Annual meeting in March 2022 with staff, site assessors and volunteers to discuss many important topics and continue the dialogue on assessing labs during the pandemic. Martin Harper gave a presentation at the joint session on the importance of considering wall deposits in their industrial hygiene lab analyses. We will continue to focus on this topic in the coming year making additional materials for our labs.
- On World Accreditation Day 2022, AIHA LAP announced its re-brand including a new logo and tagline that was included on our website, our labs’ accreditation certificates, and other promotional material. With this “re-brand,” we are telling our own story about who we are and what we offer but more importantly, we want to share with laboratories and their customers, the value of AIHA LAP accreditation
- In the second quarter of 2022 AIHA hired a Marketing and Communications Specialist position who in his first 6 months, has already significantly improved LAP’s inbound marketing efforts and expanded its digital marketing strategy. LAP now has developed a new website, increased its social media engagement through frequent and diverse high-quality content, overseen a rebranding of its digital identity, expanded its digital presence to new channels (i.e. YouTube), and ensured a successful rollout of the new brand identify across multiple platforms, including Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube.
- AIHA LAP continued to sustain its laboratory enrollment despite the challenging times that many labs experienced in 2022. While a handful of labs dropped their accreditation due to lack of business, we continued to see growth in our environmental microbiology program and accredit labs under a new field of testing - RT-PCR (reverse transcription PCR) - under the molecular scope category.
- Throughout 2022, significant updates and upgrades have been made to AIHA LAP’s Data Management System (DMS) to continually improve our laboratories’ experience submitting accreditation applications, approving laboratory personnel changes, accessing LAP resources and guidance information, and paying laboratory invoices virtually, among other activities. Recently, additional functionality has been added to the platform through the use of push notifications and multi-step instructional guides to assist laboratories and better communicate important information. LAP looks forward to continuing to improve our users’ experience in DMS in 2023.
- We had to say farewell to two of our most skilled site assessors who retired in 2022 (Sandy Moore and Kathy Jones) and thank them and wish them all the best in their next chapters of their lives. AIHA LAP also added three new site assessors to its ranks: Viorica Russo and two former LAP volunteers Michael Saleh and Irma Faszewski. We also trained 5 additional site assessor candidates in Q3 many with EMLAP and food lab backgrounds which will help us meet the continued demand for these types of assessments in the future. All of the assessor candidates are expected to be qualified by Q2 of AA2023.
As we look toward 2023, we expect to deliver the following:
- We are excited to give our staff, site assessors and volunteers an opportunity to engage in a face-to-face meeting by having the next LAP Annual meeting in Phoenix, AZ in May 2023. This meeting is being held days before AIHce EXP 2023 which will allow our volunteers and site assessors to join their colleagues at Conference which will include a sampling and testing track this year.
- In Q1 of 2023, AIHA LAP expects to finally announce the launch of a Beryllium Field/Mobile Accreditation Program which will allow mobile units and field operations analyzing beryllium (outside of fixed site labs) to be accredited.
- We will launch a new outreach and education program that will help labs promote their accreditation on their websites and social media platforms. This new program will increase engagement and collaboration with member labs, resulting in the creation of exclusive visual content and content marketing strategies.
- Finally, we will continue to conduct research around sampling accreditation that is now allowed under ISO 17025:2017 and move to establish both a standalone sampling accreditation program as well as sampling fields of testing under programs where it is appropriate.
The year 2022 has given us a deep appreciation of what we have been able to accomplish with our site assessors, volunteers and more importantly, our accredited laboratories. We continue to be very optimistic and energized as we move into 2023. We look forward to engaging our laboratories, volunteers, and stakeholders -- to serve the accredited laboratory community at such a critical time of change.
Happy New Year!
Cheryl O. Morton
IMPORTANT NEWS FOR LABORATORIES
AIHA LAP Policy Changes Planned for 2023
In 2022, we accepted suggested policy changes that were considered by both the Policy Task Force and the Analytical Accreditation Board (AAB). Those final approved changes will be posted for stakeholder review and comment early in 2023 and any comments will be further considered by the Task Force and the AAB. We expect the final 2023 Policies to be published along with the revised 2023 Accreditation Application in March 2023. The Policies will be effective immediately and all AIHA LAP assessments including surveillance and follow-up assessments will be conducted against the 2023 AIHA LAP Policies. At that time, the revised Site Assessor Checklist will be sent to laboratories already accredited to ISO/IEC 17025:2017. For questions about the process for 2023 Policy Changes, please contact Lena Bulgakova at email@example.com
SITE ASSESSORS NEWS
Gary Griffin Named New Chief Site Assessor
AIHA LAP is pleased to announce Gary Griffin as its new Chief Site Assessor (CSA) having officially started the role in 2023 after shadowing Keith Nicholson for over a year. Keith stepped down from the role on December 31. We thank and congratulate Keith Nicholson and welcome Gary to this role.
Remembering Maureen Hamilton
We are sad to report that retired AIHA LAP Site Assessor Maureen Hamilton passed away on December 27, 2022. Maureen started her career as analytical chemist for one of the first labs accredited by AIHA (the Hanford Lab) in 1972 and became an AIHA Site Assessor in 1995 covering IH, lead and microbiology until her retirement in 2016. She was an outstanding assessor for whom we always got positive feedback. Maureen, who once served as Chief Site Assessor, was a friend and mentor to other assessors and conducted training sessions on traceability for LAP. We honor the life and legacy of Maureen Hamilton who was part of the AIHA LAP family.
More Site Assessors Sought
AIHA LAP continues to look for new assessors, whether available part time or full-time. As an AIHA LAP site assessor, you will have opportunities to visit laboratory sites all over the country and world, auditing them to ISO/IEC 17025:2017. AIHA LAP will provide the training needed to understand our policies and get started. Training refreshers are hosted yearly. If you would like more information and to inquire about the position, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
NEWLY ACCREDITED LABS
Congratulations to the following labs for becoming newly accredited AIHA LAP laboratories or for having new AIHA LAP programs added to their scopes:
To review the full list of our newly accredited and reaccredited labs each month, please check the AIHA LAP website.