Industries using NATA Accreditation

NATA accreditation provides authoritative recognition of the technical competence of a facility for the range of activities it offers supporting industry.  These activities may include testing, calibration, inspection, reference material production, provision of proficiency testing services, medical imaging and compliance with Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) principles.

NATA currently identifies the industries using descriptors in the scopes of accreditation of accredited facilities.  These descriptors in the scopes are referred to as "Activity Types".

More information on the process of accreditation can be found in How to become accredited.

Accreditation standards and programs
NATA uses a number of standards that define the basic criteria for accreditation.  These standards are further supplemented by specific interpretative criteria and guides informed by industry and developed by NATA.

Facilities may be accredited against more than one standard and accreditation program offered by NATA e.g. testing and inspection.

NATA can also tailor its services to meet the needs of particular organisations.  Indeed, NATA has a strong record of developing specialist accreditation programs for particular industry or professional needs.

Each accreditation program relates to a specific standard.  These standards include:

ISO/IEC 17025

ISO 15189

ISO/IEC 17020

ISO/IEC 17043

ISO 17034

RANZCR Standards of Practice for Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology

ASA Standard for Sleep Disorders Services

OECD Principles of Good Laboratory Practice

Research and Development

 


ISO/IEC 17025

Testing and Calibration Accreditation
NATA currently identifies industries accredited for testing and calibration covering the following:

  • Agribusiness
  • Animal Health
  • Calibration
  • Environment
  • Food and Beverage
  • Healthcare, Pharmaceutical & Media Products
  • Human Testing for Workplace Monitoring and/or Community Screening
  • Infrastructure & Asset Integrity
  • Legal
  • Manufactured goods
  • Materials

Agribusiness

Agribusiness covers testing of:

  • animal and vegetable samples for pesticide residues;
  • plant material for the presence of harmful or spoilage causing microorganisms, disease causing organisms and vectors.

Many of the analytes tested are similar to those in food and beverage but the samples are not considered food as they may be unprocessed or in the process of being transformed from their primary production state.

Animal Health
Animal health covers testing of animal derived samples for the diagnosis, monitoring and treatment of disease.  Testing is typically performed by either government or private facilities, including veterinary practices and university veterinary schools.

Calibration
Accreditation currently covers the services of chemical metrology, dimensional metrology, mass and mass related quantities, electrical metrology, temperature metrology, optical metrology, radiometry, acoustic calibrations and vibration calibration.

Environment
Testing in this area is on samples derived from the natural and/or built environment.  Results from such tests can be used to inform the customer of contamination issues, such as the presence of asbestos or PFAS/PFOS, or for monitoring of environmental conditions such as algal blooms or the presence of macro-invertebrates as an indicator of stream and river health.

Food and Beverage
Testing in this area covers food and beverages including:

  • potable water for quality parameters;
  • compositional parameters and the presence of both chemical and microbiological contaminants;
  • food borne allergens.

Healthcare, Pharmaceutical & Media Products
This area covers the chemical and microbiological testing of pharmaceuticals and microbiological media.

Human Testing for Workplace Monitoring and/or Community Screening
Testing performed in this area is on human samples for biological monitoring to specific substances in workplaces or for screening a targeted community. Testing may cover monitoring for possible exposure to heavy metals, organo-metals, trace elements, pesticides, residues, hydrocarbons and other contaminants of the environment.  Testing in this area excludes that for diagnostic testing which is covered under “Human Pathology”.

Infrastructure and Asset Integrity
This area deals with testing for the evaluation of the integrity of:

  • major industrial assets, such as pipelines, power stations, chemical plants and cranes;
  • public infrastructure assets, such as roads, sewers, bridges and military assets.

Tested items tend to be of high value and risk, for which testing is predominantly performed in-situ and aimed at ensuring safe operation while maximising the usable life of the asset.

Testing can involve a wide range of investigative and analytical approaches, such as geotechnical evaluation and non-destructive testing.

Legal (including Forensic Science)
The accreditation of forensic facilities allows the customers of these services (such as the courts and police) to have confidence not only in the technical competence of the testing undertaken but also in case management, the reporting associated with legal cases and the presentation of results in court.

Testing covers a broad range of disciplines including:

  • controlled substances;
  • toxicology;
  • chemistry and criminalistics’
  • firearms;
  • document examinations;
  • fingerprints;
  • crime scene investigations;
  • signal processing;
  • electronic evidence;
  • forensic biology;
  • DNA testing;
  • parentage testing for the Australian Family Law Courts.

In addition to the forensic science disciplines, this area of testing also includes:

    • medico-legal drug testing;
    • testing as defined by the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities and the National and State Racing Authority Rules;
    • testing as defined by the rules of international, national and state authorities involved in canine competitions;
    • analysis for sports drugs and drug metabolites as defined by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

Facilities accredited in any of NATA’s accreditation programs who have their results interrogated in a court of law may seek additional accreditation for forensic operations.  This is offered as an add-on through the Forensic Operations Module (FOM) which specifically covers sample integrity through chain of custody procedures and court testimony capability.  The FOM is not offered as a standalone accreditation.

Manufactured Goods

This area of accreditation deals with the outputs of manufacturing processes, for which the testing generally involves an evaluation of functional performance. These functional attributes can:

  • relate to safety, as might apply to household appliances, toys and protective equipment;
  • be based around the verification of product performance claims, for example, according to a ‘rating’ scheme such as electrical energy efficiency or water usage efficiency;
  • be based on other defined performance requirements such as might apply to building products or motor vehicles.

This area of testing can involve a wide range of investigative and analytical approaches, such as mechanical, electrical, optical, thermal, acoustic and software assessment.

Materials

This area of testing deals with the assessment of industrial materials which are often used as inputs into a manufacturing process.  Items classified in this area are generally of homogeneous composition for which the testing predominantly relates to material composition and/or properties.  This activity has a strong focus on chemical analysis and related physical evaluations.


ISO 15189

Human Pathology

The human pathology accreditation program is administered by NATA in conjunction with the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia (RCPA).

NATA/RCPA accreditation to ISO 15189 is available to facilities performing tests in the various disciplines of human pathology including:

  • assisted reproductive technologies;
  • anatomical pathology (histology and cytology);
  • chemical pathology;
  • cytogenetics;
  • genomics;
  • haematology;
  •  immunohaematology;
  • immunopathology;
  • microbiology.

Medicare rebates for eligible pathology tests are only available to facilities holding NATA/RCPA accreditation.

The program also offers accreditation for a limited range of samples of non-human origin for environmental investigations and/or infection control purposes, and in addition medico-legal drug testing.  These services are not Medicare rebateable.


ISO/IEC 17020

Inspection

Through its inspection accreditation program, NATA provides inspection bodies with a means of demonstrating to their customers their recognised inspection skills and commitment to professional excellence and competence.NATA inspection accreditation is available to all inspection services, both in-house and independent services, covering various industries.  For example:

  •  inspections that support agribusiness, for example, cattle, crops, processing and shipment of agricultural products and supporting infrastructure;
  • environmental inspections which include surveys and specific-feature assessments in the natural and built environment as well as modelling of features and assessment of processes that impact the environment, such as the clearance of hazardous materials;
  • inspections in the area of infrastructure and asset integrity for ensuring the safe operation of the item inspected while maximising its usable life.  Such inspections are predominantly conducted in-situ and tend to be on items of high value and risk.
  • inspections of manufactured goods which involves an evaluation of functional attributes such as those relating to safety, verification of product performance or other defined requirements;
  • inspections of materials concerning the composition and/or properties of the item inspected;

More information on the process of accreditation and ISO/IEC 17020 can be found in Inspection Accreditation.


ISO/IEC 17043

Providers of Proficiency Testing Schemes

NATA’s accreditation program of proficiency testing scheme providers enables facilities that are interested in planning, providing and evaluating proficiency testing schemes to achieve and demonstrate their competence.

The program provides the international testing and calibration community with a functional and operational system of accredited providers of proficiency testing schemes conforming to international criteria.

Full details can be found under Proficiency Testing Scheme Provider Accreditation.


ISO 17034

Reference Materials Producers

NATA’s accreditation program of reference material producers confers recognition of the technical competence of facilities which produce reference material and/or certified reference materials.

Reference materials serve the various needs of testing facilities.  Those reference materials with certified values are widely used for the calibration of measuring instruments and for the evaluation or validation of measurement and testing procedures. Their use makes possible the transfer of the values measured (or quantities assigned) between testing, analytical and measurement facilities.


RANZCR Standards of Practice for Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology

Medical Imaging

The RANZCR/NATA Medical Imaging accreditation program is jointly administered by NATA and the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists (RANZCR).

The RANZCR/NATA program offers accreditation to sites in accordance with the RANZCR Standards of Practice for Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology.  The program is open to all types of diagnostic imaging services and covers the modalities of:

  •  bone mineral densitometry.
  •  computerised tomography;
  •  general radiography;
  • interventional radiology;
  •  magnetic resonance imaging;
  •  mammography;
  • nuclear medicine;
  • ultrasound.

All facilities accredited under NATA's Medical Imaging accreditation program are recognised by the Commonwealth Department of Health and Aging (DoHA) as meeting the compulsory Diagnostic Imaging Accreditation Scheme requirements.  Compliance with the Scheme allows for access to Medicare rebates for eligible medical imaging services.

Diagnostic Imaging Accreditation Scheme

NATA is an approved accreditor under the Commonwealth Government’s Diagnostic Imaging Accreditation Scheme. Facilities must be assessed against the Diagnostic Imaging Accreditation Scheme Standards in order to be eligible to provide Medicare funded services for any item under the Diagnostic Imaging Services Table (DIST) of the Medicare Benefits Schedule.


ASA Standard for Sleep Disorders Services

Sleep Disorders Services

The Sleep Disorders Services accreditation program is jointly administered by NATA and the Australasian Sleep Association (ASA).

The NATA/ASA program offers accreditation to services in accordance with the ASA Standard for Sleep Disorders Services. The program is open to all types of sleep disorders services and covers administrative support, clinical management services, diagnostic studies and treatment studies.


OECD Principles of Good Laboratory Practice

Recognition of Compliance with the OECD Principles of Good Laboratory Practice

NATA is the responsible authority for Australia’s Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) compliance monitoring program.

NATA GLP recognition is available to facilities conducting non-clinical environmental health and safety studies for the purpose of registering or licensing pharmaceuticals, pesticides, veterinary drug products industrial chemicals and similar products.

For more information, see OECD Principles of GLP Recognition.


Research and Development (R&D)

Accreditation for research and development provides a means for:

  • ensuring that technically robust and traceable practices are in place;
  • providing opportunity to evaluate and manage the risks inherent in research;
  • providing a level of certainty in the process, even though results/outcomes are unknown, without hindering the freedom or direction of the research.

Additionally, accreditation assists with collaborations nationally and globally and with the translation of research to industry.

The accreditation criteria consist of a set of principles applicable to any research and development activity.  To demonstrate compliance against these principles, an R&D facility is required to adopt a specific code or standard.  The code or standard adopted will be dependent on the R&D activities performed, for example, ISO/IEC 17025 for testing activities.