Proficiency Testing (PT) is an evaluation tool for laboratory performances against pre-established criteria by means of inter-laboratory comparisons (ISO/IEC 17043: 2010).
The demand for independent proof of competence from the regulatory bodies and customers means that Proficiency Testing (PT) is relevant to all testing laboratories in all countries. It is the requirement of accreditation to ISO/IEC 17025 that laboratories take part in a proficiency testing scheme, if a suitable scheme exists. Thus, together with the use of validated methods, PT is an essential element of laboratory quality assurance.
Tanzania Bureau of Standards as a PT provider
All the Bureaus of Standards in the EAC region have been given a mandate to organize Proficiency Testing Schemes as part of the EAC SQMT improvement. And TBS has been among the PT providers in EAC coordinating the EAC PT Scheme and other several Inter-laboratory Comparisons (ILC) within and outside the EAC region.
Under the umbrella of EAC PT Scheme, Partner States have one provision in a year covering 21 matrices among which TBS provides eight (8) matrices which are edible salts, fertilizers, fruit juice, honey, steel bars, roofing sheets, solar panels and electric cables.
The other remaining 13 matrices are provided by the EAC Partner States through the bureaus as well.
How to participate
Proficiency Testing (PT) schemes operate by providing participating laboratories with similar samples for concurrent testing. The laboratory analyses the samples, preferably as part of its normal routine, and reports the results to the PT provider. The laboratory is then provided with the report showing how closely their results agree with the accepted values, and where necessary, can then take appropriate actions to improve performance.
All participating laboratories are coded for confidentiality purposes.
The cost of participation in a PT scheme gives good value for money compared with the consequences of producing inaccurate results which might put the public health at risk, damage a company’s reputation, loss of profit, or contravene national regulations.
The EAC PT round always starts with the announcements in May each year followed by registrations and series of other PT activities including sample dispatch to all registered participants in September. After results submission and evaluation there will be evaluation reports sent by January but only the participants who paid will be able to receive them. At the end of each PT round which is mostly in March each year all the bureaus organize evaluation workshop in any EAC Partner State for all the participants in all 21 matrices for feedback and planning for the next round.
NB: The cost of participating in each matrix is 220 USD covering all the parameters/analytes mentioned and there will be extra portions upon requests at 50 USD and use them as a reference material or quality control.
Kindly download the following attachments for more details:
1. EAC brochure
2. New Matrices brochure
3. EAC PT general information
4. EAC PT matrices