Update from NCSL Part II: Selecting Calibration Points: No Simple Task
At this year's NCSL I attended a panel discussion titled “Calibration Point Selection Practices.” The panel included Jeff Gust of Fluke Calibration, Mark Kuster of Pantex Metrology, Joe Petersen of Abbott Laboratories, and Malcom Smith of Westcan Calibration Services. Quite an esteemed panel of metrologists to be sure.
Selecting calibration points for measurement equipment may seem like a simple task, but it’s not as easy as it might look. Equipment manufacturers know this, and it’s why they often provide only general guidance as to calibration intervals and practices. Imagine giving a technician a piece of equipment to calibrate. The technician does not know how the equipment is used and does not know how important the measurement is. How should it be calibrated? This subject provoked a lively conversation that could have easily exceeded the time allowed for it.
One conclusion is that it’s difficult (if not impossible) to provide a generic template or an SOP that is appropriate for all circumstances. Anyone selecting calibration points should be familiar with the equipment, the measurement parameters, and the way that the equipment is used. The rationale for selecting the calibration points should be logical and defensible. Without this approach, it’s possible that the calibration will leave the end user with unnecessary risk. On the flip side, the calibration may be more complex and costly than is required.
For our GMP compliant readers, we did a search on calibration for regulated environments and found this great webinar transcript from FDA News on addressing calibration and cleaning applications for FDA inspectors. The webinar is given by Kenneth Christie, who has a long history in calibration and validation in pharmaceutical environments. The transcript includes his bio, and information on ordering the recorded webinar from FDA News. Here is the transcript: "Equipment Maintenance, Calibration and Cleaning: Often Overlooked, but Never Forgotten!" If you don't already have it, download Vaisala's Calibration Handbook, and here is an article on "Using Saturated Salts as a Humidity Calibration Reference."
Our own calibration laboratory in Vancouver, Canada just spent the last two days undergoing an audit, so next week's blog will be: "3 Tips to Staying Sane During an Audit" by our Calibration expert, Michael Boetzkes.