Formal third-party recognition that a body fulfils specified requirements and is competent to carry out specific conformity assessment tasks.
1.2 Accreditation body
Authoritative body that performs accreditation; here it is U.S. Accreditation
1.3 Accreditation certificate
Formal document or a set of documents, stating that accreditation has been granted for the defined scope.
1.4 Accreditation symbol
A symbol issued by an accreditation body to be used by accredited CABs to indicate their accredited status.
Request by a CAB for reconsideration of any adverse decision made by the accreditation body related to its desired accreditation status.
Process undertaken by an accreditation body to assess the competence of a CAB based on particular standard(s)and/or other normative documents and for a defined scope of accreditation.
1.7 Conformity Assessment Body (CAB)
Body that performs conformity assessment services such as: calibration, testing including medical, inspection, management systems certification, personnel certification and product certification. Namely: laboratories (including medical laboratories), inspection bodies and certification bodies.
1.8 Interested parties
Parties with a direct or indirect interest in accreditation. Direct interest refers to the interest of those who undergo accreditation; indirect interest refers to the interests of those who use or rely on accredited conformity assessment services.
1.9 Scope of accreditation
Specific tasks for which accreditation is sought or has been granted.
1.10 Accreditation decision
Process of decision on granting, maintaining, extending, reducing, suspending and withdrawing of accreditation, granting of accreditation, awarding accreditation for a defined scope of accreditation.
1.11 Maintaining of accreditation
Process of confirming the continuance of accreditation (3.1) for a defined scope.
1.12 Extending of accreditation
Process of adding conformity assessment activities to the scope of accreditation.
1.13 Reducing of accreditation
Process of cancelling part of the scope of accreditation.
1.14 Suspending of accreditation
Process of putting temporary restrictions in place for all or part of the scope of accreditation.
1.15 Withdrawing of accreditation
Process of cancelling accreditation for the full scope.
Set of activities, except reassessment, to monitor the continued fulfilment by accredited CABs of requirements for accreditation.
Observation of the CAB carrying out tasks within its scope of accreditation.
1.18 Proficiency Testing Program
Determination of laboratory testing performance by means of inter-laboratory comparisons.
1.19 Major Non-Conformity
Non-fulfilment of a requirement (nonconformity) that affects the capability of the management system to achieve the intended results.
1.20 Minor Non-Conformity
Non-fulfilment of a requirement (nonconformity) that does not affect the capability of the management system to achieve the intended results.
1.21 Remote Assessment
An assessment of the physical location or virtual site of a conformity assessment body, using electronic means.
Note 1 - a virtual site is an online environment allowing persons to execute processes, e.g. In a cloud environment.
The testing of the expertise of CAB staff by means of set interviews.
2.1 This document stipulates the general accreditation requirements for Conformity Assessment Bodies (CABs) to be fulfilled in order to get accreditation under U.S. Accreditation accreditation programs. Participation in the schemes is voluntary. All Applicants shall adhere strictly to the U.S. Accreditation terms and conditions at all times.
2.2 These terms and conditions should be read in conjunction with the other accreditation criteria documents of the respective schemes.
2.3 CABs are also required to comply with relevant international documents.
2.4 U.S. Accreditation follows the international Cross-Frontier accreditation policies for accreditations in other countries.
2.5 U.S. Accreditation offers accreditation for all types of CABs according to the latest edition of the following accreditation criteria.
2.6 ISO/IEC 17021-1 “Conformity assessment — Requirements for bodies providing audit and certification of management systems".
2.7 ISO/IEC 17025 "General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories" – for laboratories.
2.8 ISO 15189 "Medical Laboratories - Particular requirements for quality and competence".
2.9 ISO/IEC 17020 “Conformity assessment — Requirements for theOperation of various types of bodies performing Inspection.
2.10 ISO/IEC 17065 “Conformity assessment -- Requirements for bodies certifying products, processes and services.
2.11 ISO/IEC 17024 “Conformity assessment -- General requirements for bodies operating certification of persons.
2.12 U.S. Accreditation defines specific technical requirements for competence regarding personnel; equipment, test methods, quality control and reporting for each type of CAB within their respective requirements’ documents as mentioned specific Criteria’s.
3. ACCREDITATION REQUIREMENTS
3.1 The board of the U.S. Accreditation can grant accreditation if the CAB has demonstrated compliance with the accreditation requirements in an assessment carried out by the U.S. Accreditation, with due regard for the applicable regulatory framework, guidelines, interpretations and applicable International policy rules.
3.2 Cooperation with U.S. Accreditation: The CAB shall provide U.S. Accreditation and its representatives and assessors the necessary assistance, cooperation and access to relevant areas of CAB, for witnessing of conformity assessment activities and to undertake any reasonable check to verify the capability and competence of the CAB including preparation, packaging and dispatch of test items, samples or other items needed by U.S. Accreditation for verification purposes.
3.3 Safety: The CAB shall accept the responsibility for the safety of U.S. Accreditation authorized representatives and assessors in conducting activities related to accreditation, and provide all relevant safety or protective clothing or equipment and disclosing to them any hazards.
3.4 Management System: The CABs applying for accreditation shall have Management System in compliance with the relevant standards. Management system documents and records shall be in English language.
3.5 Before accreditation assessment visit, the CAB shall have conducted at least one full internal audit and one management review.
3.6 The U.S. Accreditation operates as an accreditation body for CABs that can be held responsible for their acts or omissions under American Law. A CAB that is established outside the United States, can be held responsible for its acts or omissions under local law can also apply to the U.S. Accreditation for accreditation, with due regard for the applicable regulatory framework and within the rules set by the U.S. Accreditation for foreign accreditations.
3.7 The U.S. Accreditation applies the requirements laid down in the accreditation standards published by the relevant standards institutions or other authoritative bodies.
3.8 The U.S. Accreditation uses international guidelines and application and interpretation documents published by the U.S. Accreditation and International Authorities who do not have any copy right on the guidance.
3.9 The U.S. Accreditation defines Specific Accreditation Procedures which specify the applicable requirements for different (types of) conformity assessment activities and list the supplementary guidelines and application and interpretation documents. These also contain details of the U.S. Accreditation assessment activities and possible subjects that receive special attention in the course of assessments.
4. APPLICATION FOR ACCREDITATION
4.1 An application for accreditation shall be submitted to the board of the U.S. Accreditation on the prescribed Form. The documents listed in the application form shall be submitted with the application. Documents shall be provided to the U.S. Accreditation in English. The applicant receives an acknowledgement of the receipt of the application from the U.S. Accreditation within seven working days. The U.S. Accreditation assesses the completeness and correctness of the application. The applicant will be informed of the result of this assessment within 20 working days of the receipt of the application. The validity of application will be maximum two years.
4.2 The application will be dealt with, if complete and correct.
4.3 The U.S. Accreditation will decide not to deal with the application if: The application is not complete because:
- a) The application forms have not been completed in full.
- b) The documents referred to in the application forms have not been submitted.
- c) The application Fee is not received with the application.
- d) The applicant is informed in writing if the application will not be dealt with, including a specification of the missing information and a deadline for completing the application. The application will not be dealt with until the missing information has been submitted.
- e) The application concerns an activity or field of activity that is not mentioned in Scope. If the U.S. Accreditation judges that the activities or fields of activity belong to the area of competence of the U.S. Accreditation, the U.S. Accreditation shall set a period of time in consultation with the applicant within which the activity or the field of activity can be added to the fields of activity of the U.S. Accreditation and the application can be considered.
5. PREPARATION OF AN ASSESSMENT
5.1 Following the consideration of the application as referred in section 4of this document, carries out a document review with the purpose of deciding whether the documented system of the applicant meets the requirements for accreditation.
5.2 The U.S. Accreditation assigns an assessment team for the document review. Members of the U.S. Accreditation Board, Assessment Team and members of the Accreditation Decision (Review) Committee considered to have commercial, financial or other pressures or conflicts of interest that might cause them to act in other than an impartial or non-discriminatory manner shall not be involved in the assessment and evaluation of an applicant / accredited organization.
5.3 An applicant / accredited organization shall liaise with the U.S. Accreditation secretariat on all matters relating to accreditation, and shall not communicate directly with any of the members of the Accreditation Review Committee and assessors on such matters.
5.4 An applicant / accredited organization shall be informed of the appointment of the assessment team and members of Accreditation review committee, and may object to the appointment only once, on valid grounds such as conflict of interest. The applicant can notify U.S. Accreditation in writing not to accept individual team members on the basis of alleged conflicts of interest. Such a notification detailing the reasons for not accepting the team member/member of ARC must be submitted within seven working days of the announcement of the composition of the team.
5.5 Document assessment: the assessment of system documentations such as manuals, established procedures, instructions, etc., and/or the assessment of CAB records, such as personnel files, quality control charts, reports, management review reports, audit files, etc.;
5.6 The result of the document review is recorded in a report. This report identifies any deficiencies found in respect of the accreditation requirements.
5.7 The conclusions from a document review may be:
- a) It is concluded that the applicant, despite any deficiencies found, is ready for the assessment. In that case the document review report shall not only contain a summary of the results of the pre -assessment, but also a breakdown of the assessment to be carried out and a proposed plan of the assessment.
- b) It is concluded that as a consequence of deficiencies found the applicant is not yet ready for the assessment. In that case the report shall not only contain a summary of the results of the pre-assessment, but also the identified deficiencies that must be demonstrably rectified before an assessment can be carried out. The applicant is then given the opportunity to make corrections that the U.S. Accreditation shall verify in a follow-up document review. The results of this verification are incorporated into the report and are the basis for a new conclusion.
- c) An applicant can withdraw its application on the basis of the result of the document review and resubmit it after taking corrective action.
- d) To guarantee the objectivity of the assessment team of the U.S. Accreditation and to prevent consultancy, the U.S. Accreditation may decide on a different assessment team composition for subsequent document review of the same applicant.
- e) Where the follow-up document review shows that an applicant has not succeeded in resolving the deficiencies of the document review as stated in (b), the U.S. Accreditation takes a decision about the continuation of the assessment in consultation with the applicant.
The decision on this shall be taken by the U.S. Accreditation on the basis of the advice of the U.S. Accreditation team leader of the initial assessment.
6.1 Following a positive result of the document review, the U.S. Accreditation carries out an assessment of the implementation of the system. The U.S. Accreditation uses a combination of one or more of the following assessment methods:
- a) Office assessment: an assessment that is carried out at the CAB to verify the implementation of the management system on the basis of documented evidence and interviews with the personnel.
- b) Witnessing: the observation in practice of activities carried out by the CAB (such as tests, calibrations, inspections, audits, examinations).
- c) Inter-laboratory assessment: the determination of the competence of a CAB that carries out (medical) tests, calibrations or inspections by means of inter-laboratory assessment (the comparison of results obtained by two or more CABs).
- d) Interviews: the testing of the expertise of CAB staff by means of set interviews.
- e) Remote Assessment: assessment of the physical location or virtual site of a conformity assessment body, using electronic means.
6.2 The U.S. Accreditation assigns an assessment team for the assessment referred above. The applicant can notify U.S. Accreditation in writing not to accept individual team members on the basis of alleged conflicts of interest. Such a notification detailing the reasons for not accepting the team member must be submitted within five working days of the announcement of the composition of the team. For assessments outside the United States, the U.S. Accreditation may decide to add one or more interpreters to the assessment team.
6.3 The CAB shall make the current system and technical documentation, if different from the earlier submission, written in English available to the assessment team not later than 15 working days before the start of the assessment. The U.S. Accreditation reserves the right to cancel the assessment where appropriate, the costs being for the applicant’s account in accordance with the U.S. Accreditation Fees and Charges document.
6.4 For the purposes of the assessment:
- a) The CAB shall inform the U.S. Accreditation in good time about all relevant security, safety, industrial health and hygiene instructions and requirements.
- b) The CAB shall make the necessary personal protective equipment (for safety and hygiene) available to the members of the U.S. Accreditation assessment teams.
- c) The CAB shall enable the U.S. Accreditation to observe (attend) the activities of the accredited organization.
- d) The CAB shall grant the U.S. Accreditation access to all locations, files and documents that the U.S. Accreditation considers relevant for its assessment. This may also refer to locations, files and documents of organizations related to the accredited organization.
- e) The CAB shall take action to obtain the cooperation of clients of the CAB or organizations related to the CAB where access to the locations and documents of the client of the CAB is needed in the opinion of the U.S. Accreditation.
- f)The CAB shall have practical arrangements at its disposal to facilitate cooperation and access as referred to above.
- g) The CAB shall accept that observers can participate in the U.S. Accreditation assessment teams (on behalf of the U.S. Accreditation or otherwise) for purposes such as training, peer evaluations and supervision by the U.S. Accreditation, representatives from international Forums unless the CAB promptly makes reasonable and substantiated objections to the presence of specific observers.
- h) The CAB shall not put people acting on behalf of the U.S. Accreditation in a position in which their independence, objectivity, safety or health may be put at risk.
- i) An assessment starts with an opening meeting with the management of the CAB at which, amongst other things, the purpose and the procedures are explained and the assessment plan is agreed.
- j) During the assessment the different team members assess the implementation and effectiveness of the management system and the competence of the CAB. The CAB must demonstrate that it controls all the activities at all its branches included in the application for accreditation. If the CAB carries out key activities at several locations, the U.S. Accreditation shall also carry out an assessment at these locations. Samples are taken from other locations where the CAB carries out activities that are not regarded as a key activity according to the nature and the extent of the activities at the locations concerned.
- k) The assessment team grades findings according to the current U.S. Accreditation policy with respect to classification of non-conformities as Major & Minor as defined in 1.16 & 1.17. In case of initial assessments, the time frame for closeout of nonconformities may be extended till the validity of application as per reasoning/decision by assessment team.
- l) An assessment is concluded with a final meeting at which the findings are reported verbally and the nonconformities found are reported in writing.
- m) The assessment team records the findings in a provisional report. The CAB can respond to the content of the report and propose corrections and amendments within ten working days of the dispatch of this report by the U.S. Accreditation.
- n) In case of The Major Non-conformity the CAB will submit a plan within 10 calendar days from notification of the Non-conformity. In order to close a major Non-conformity, satisfactory evidence of implementation of the agreed corrective action must be submitted within 30 calendar days from the date of Acceptance of corrective action plan by U.S. Accreditation Assessor.
- o) In case of a Minor Non-conformity the CAB will submit a plan within 30 calendar days from notification of the Non-conformity. In order to close a minor Non-conformity, satisfactory evidence of implementation of the agreed corrective action must be submitted within 90 calendar days from the date of Acceptance of corrective action plan by U.S. Accreditation Assessor.
6.5 The U.S. Accreditation shall immediately terminate an assessment or the accreditation process in the event of the following:
- a) Failure to provide access to relevant locations, staff or information.
- b) Intimidation, discrimination, threat and/or violence towards one or more persons acting for or on behalf of the U.S. Accreditation.
- c) Attempted bribery of one or more persons acting for or on behalf of the U.S. Accreditation.
- d) Demonstrable misleading of the U.S. Accreditation assessment team by the failure to provide relevant information or the provision of incorrect or incomplete information.
- e) Failure to discharge financial obligations towards the U.S. Accreditation.
6.6 If non-conformities are found, the U.S. Accreditation shall give the applicant the opportunity to take corrective action within a period of time that has been set in 6.4 (n) & 6.4 (o).
6.7 The applicant provides the U.S. Accreditation with a report within the period of time referred showing the cause, extent and action taken in respect of the nonconformities found and demonstrating the effectiveness of the corrective action.
6.8 If the organization and the assessment team have a difference of opinion about the interpretation of accreditation requirements, U.S. Accreditation can be notified of this within ten working days of the dispute arising. U.S. Accreditation will ask an U.S. Accreditation representative as per Procedures, who is not involved in the assessment to investigate the dispute. If necessary, experts from inside or outside the U.S. Accreditation may be involved in the investigation of the dispute. The assessment team leader will treat the nonconformity in question in accordance with the conclusions of the investigation. The period of time for corrective action for a non-conformity which a dispute has been submitted begins when the applicant is informed of the judgement. A submitted dispute will, as long as no judgement has been made on it, remain outside the decision-making of the assessment concerned.
6.9 In case the follow-up assessment is recommended, U.S. Accreditation carries out a followup assessment within two months of receipt of the report.
6.10 The results of the follow-up assessment are incorporated into a final draft assessment report by the assessment team, who send it to the office, and then that report is sent to the applicant for comments, if any.
6.11 The final report is then made available to the decision-maker.
6.12 The applicant may reproduce, publish and distribute a report without the consent of the U.S. Accreditation, but only in its entirety. Parts of U.S. Accreditation reports may only be published if the U.S. Accreditation has given its explicit written consent for this.
6.13 The above practice is followed in case of witness assessments also.
7. ACCREDITATION DECISION
7.1 In the case of an initial assessment or a reassessment the conclusion by the assessment team, the final report, the final proposal for the scope and any other information will be provided to Accreditation Review (decision) Committee (ARC) reviewer set up by the U.S. Accreditation. ARC formulates a recommendation to Director of U.S. Accreditation.
7.2 This recommendation may be in line with the conclusion of the assessment team, but may also differ from it. The ARC can decide with additional specific conditions to the accreditation and also the postponement of the decision in anticipation of additional information.
7.3 The applicant is notified in writing of the individual accreditation decision with the applicable conditions.
7.4 An applicant can object to an individual accreditation decision within four weeks of the date of dispatch of this decision as per rules set out in appeals procedures.
7.5 An individual accreditation decision includes conditions for the use of accreditation marks and other references to the accredited status.
7.6 The conditions to be attached to an individual accreditation decision may mean that the activities and the locations of the CAB must meet given requirements.
7.7 An accreditation is registered in the name of the CAB that has submitted the application and that the assessment has demonstrated that the CAB meets the requirements.
7.8 In addition to its registered name, the trade names given in the application can also be shown in the accreditation documents referred to in 7.8 if these trade names have been registered.
7.9 The documents sent with the Accreditation decision includes details of the scope of the accreditation, date on which the accreditation has been granted, against which standard the assessment has taken place and the period of validity of the declaration. This period of validity shall not exceed four years. The U.S. Accreditation also publishes this annex on its website.
8. ACCREDITATION MAINTENANCE
8.1 The accredited CAB shall be subject to an announced/ unannounced surveillance visits that will be carried out normally once per year. The frequency of Audits may be increased or decreased depending on the performance of CAB but initially should be at least once per year as per details in U.S. Accreditation procedure Assessment and accreditation process.
8.2 Additional special visits may be carried out at the discretion of U.S. Accreditation and as the need arises. Witness assessments shall be carried in line with IAF MD17 requirements.
8.3 A re-assessment visit shall be conducted before the end of the validity of the accreditation certificate, covering the whole scope of accreditation in order to renew the accreditation.
8.4 Extending Accreditation: The accredited CAB may apply for extending accreditation which is process of adding conformity assessment activities to the awarded scope of accreditation at any point of time. It may include addition of locations, countries, addition of new scheme(s) or scope within same scheme and Transition / migration of awarded scheme(s).
8.5 Based on the risk associated with the activities or locations to be covered in the scope extension, U.S. Accreditation shall decide the appropriate assessment technique(s) for applicant CAB. U.S. Accreditation shall also review the assessment programme and planning the subsequent assessment.
9. SUSPENSION AND WITHDRAWAL OF ACCREDITATION
9.1 A suspension or withdrawal may be made against an accredited organization for any or all scopes included in the scope of accreditation for such period as the U.S. Accreditation Board may determine if it is satisfied that the organization has:
- a) Not maintained a standard of practice complying with the accreditation criteria.
- b) Violated the terms and conditions for the accreditation
- c) Failed to rectify the non-conformities within the agreed time frame.
- d) Failed to submit the corrective actions within the agreed time frame without valid reason.
- e) Failed to pay all necessary fees levied by U.S. Accreditation.
9.2 Where any failure to comply with any criteria of accreditation is, in the opinion of the U.S. Accreditation, of a temporary nature and rectification will not be immediate, U.S. Accreditation may retain accreditation on a suspended basis for any or all of its accredited scopes.
9.3 U.S. Accreditation shall withdraw the accreditation when departures from the accreditation criteria, which lead to suspension of accreditation, are not rectified within the stipulated time frame, normally not more than nine months.
9.4 U.S. Accreditation shall inform the accredited organization in writing of the suspension or withdrawal and the reasons for the suspension or withdrawal. The organization shall have the right to appeal to the U.S. Accreditation Board.
9.5 No accreditation shall be suspended or withdrawn unless U.S. Accreditation has:
- a) Served at least two weeks’ written notice by email to the accredited organization, stating the grounds for the suspension or withdrawal, except in case of noncompliance to any applicable U.S. Accreditation specific policies or implementation of IAF MD7.
- b) Considered any written response from the accredited organization received during these two weeks.
- c) During the two weeks’ notice, the status of accreditation of the organization is considered to be in suspension and no accredited certificates/ endorsed report shall be issued.
- d) If no response has been received by the U.S. Accreditation Board against the notice of suspension or withdrawal, or if in the opinion of the U.S. Accreditation Board the explanations submitted are not satisfactory, U.S. Accreditation shall, on the expiry of the notice, suspend or withdraw the accreditation and inform the organization in writing. Relevant stakeholders will be informed of the suspension or withdrawal. The suspension or withdrawal of accreditation will be highlighted in the U.S. Accreditation website.
- e) If a written appeal is received against the above decision, the U.S. Accreditation Board shall convene an Appeal Committee chaired by a U.S. Accreditation Board member and comprising of members not involved in the evaluation of the organization to consider the explanations given, and if the organization so wishes, shall provide an opportunity for the accredited organization to be heard as soon as possible. Where necessary, appropriate technical experts may be co-opted to assist the U.S. Accreditation Committee in hearing the appeal.
- f) Any accredited organization may voluntarily withdraw its accreditation by giving written notice to U.S. Accreditation, subject to clearance of all outstanding invoice and any pending unbilled fee amount.
- g) An organization whose accreditation has been voluntarily withdrawn, withdrawn by U.S. Accreditation or suspended shall not issue U.S. Accreditation accredited certificates/ endorsed reports or represent or imply in any way to any party that its accreditation under U.S. Accreditation is operative.
- h) An organization whose accreditation has been withdrawn shall return the Certificate of Accreditation and all other appropriate documents to U.S. Accreditation immediately.
- i) For certification bodies, the organization shall provide its customer with information on the withdrawal of its accreditation and on its consequences.
9.6 Reinstatement of Accreditation: An organization whose accreditation has been suspended in part or in full may have its accreditation reinstated subject to a re-assessment. The organization shall satisfy all the criteria of a formal assessment and the award of accreditation. In case the suspension is due to non-payment of fees, the accreditation will be reinstated if fee is paid within six months from the date of suspension.
9.7 An organization whose accreditation has been withdrawn by U.S. Accreditation may reapply six months after its withdrawal date, subject to proving that reasons which caused withdrawal have been addressed to the satisfaction of U.S. Accreditation. In such cases, the CAB shall be considered as a fresh applicant.
9.8 An organization which has voluntarily withdrawn its accreditation may reapply and shall be considered as a fresh applicant.
10.1 In the event of acts by an accredited CAB that are inconsistent with the accreditation requirements, the U.S. Accreditation can take the following action:
- a) Suspension.
- b) Withdrawal.
10.2 If the U.S. Accreditation decides to suspend or withdraw the accreditation, notice thereof shall be given on the U.S. Accreditation website. Notice of a withdrawal or suspension of an accreditation of a CAB that also operates under the accreditation of a foreign accreditation body shall also be given to this body.
10.3 All requirements of IAF MD7 shall apply.
11.1 Complaints can be submitted using the form this link: https://accreditation.us/complaints. Before filing a complaint regarding an U.S. Accreditation INC-accredited entity, an attempt should be made to directly obtain resolution from the accredited entity or certified organization.
11.2 Upon receipt of a complaint, U.S. Accreditation will review the information submitted, conduct an investigation (if applicable), and make a decision regarding the outcome of the complaint.
11.3 U.S. Accreditation will communicate the outcome of the complaint process to the complainant.
11.4 U.S. Accreditation considers complaint details to be confidential information and, unless authorized by the complainant, U.S. Accreditation will not disclose the identity of the complainant unless required by law.
11.5 The investigation and outcome of a complaint shall not result in any discriminatory action by U.S. Accreditation against the complainant.
12.1 Appeals made in writing against any decision by U.S. Accreditation must be made no later than two weeks from the date of said decision. Such appeal, which shall be submitted to Manager, will be considered by the Board acting on the advice of an Appeal Committee. The Committee appointed for each appeal shall consist of a Chairman (member of the Board) and at least two members, none of which shall have any direct commercial interest in the subject of appeal. The Committee may co-opt technical experts as and when required.
12.2 The decision of the Appeal Committee shall be final and shall not be called into question or subject to review or appeal by any court of law.
13. SIGNIFICANCE OF ACCREDITATION
13.1 Accreditation should not be regarded as in any way diminishing the normal contractual responsibilities between the accredited organization and its customers. While accreditation is an indication of the integrity and competence of the accredited organization, it does not constitute a guarantee by the U.S. Accreditation of the competence of the accredited organization in any particular case.
13.2 U.S. Accreditation is in no way responsible for the charging arrangement between an accredited organization and its customers.
14. LIABILITY & FINANCING
14.1 U.S. Accreditation shall not be liable to the accredited organization for any losses, damages or expenses including injury to reputation suffered by the accredited organization and/or third parties, arising directly or indirectly from the accreditation of the accredited organization, use of the U.S. Accreditation accreditation marks, assessment activities carried out on the accredited organization by U.S. Accreditation, its representatives, employees and/or agents or U.S. Accreditation’s exercise or performance of its rights, powers, duties or obligations under these Terms and Conditions.
14.2 U.S. Accreditation receives income only from the services it provides. The major part of this income is from accreditation and assessment services.
14.3 As a non-profit organisation, U.S. Accreditation prepares budgets and sets its fees to ensure stability and independence and to ensure sufficient surplus to reinvest in the development of the organisation and the services it provides and to maintain a reserve.
14.4 The accredited organization agrees that under no circumstances shall U.S. Accreditation be liable for any special, indirect, incidental or consequential loss, damage or expense, however caused including without limitation any loss of profits or prospective profits.
15.1 The accredited organization agrees and shall indemnify U.S. Accreditation fully against all losses, damages and expenses suffered by U.S. Accreditation including but not limited to legal costs on a full indemnity basis and all claims by any third parties against U.S. Accreditation, arising directly or indirectly from the accreditation of the accredited organization, use of the U.S. Accreditation accreditation marks, assessment activities carried out on the accredited organization by U.S. Accreditation, its representatives, employees and/or any agents of CABs or U.S. Accreditation’s exercise or performance of its rights, powers, duties or obligations under these Terms and Conditions. The CAB must indemnify U.S. Accreditation from and against all expenses, losses, damages and costs that U.S. Accreditation may sustain or incur as a result directly or indirectly of any loss or damage to any property or injury or death of any person caused by negligent act or omission or willful misconduct by the CAB in connection with accreditation activities. The CAB shall also indemnify U.S. Accreditation from any such claims by the CAB against U.S. Accreditation for directly or indirectly of any loss or damage to any property or injury or death of any person caused by negligent act or omission by the U.S. Accreditation and its assessment teams.
16. APPLICABLE LAW
16.1 This terms and conditions shall be construed in accordance with and governed by the Laws of United States and the parties hereby agree to submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the US Courts.
17.1 Application Fee: A nonrefundable application fee is due with the submission of the application for U.S. Accreditation accreditation. Application Fee (nonrefundable): $5,000 (it can be change from time to time).
17.2 Application Fee for accredited CBs seeking to add new industry certification schemes (i.e., ENERGY STAR, SQF, etc.) or new certification schemes that include products that are outside of the technical areas for which the CB has been evaluated and accredited by U.S: Accreditation Inc.: $2,500 (nonrefundable).
17.3 Assessment Fee: The assessment fee has two parts: 1) a daily rate, and 2) expenses. The daily rate is applied per day per assessor to the assessor day(s), onsite and offsite, necessary to complete the assessment, including but not limited to review of the initial application and any additional materials, review of annual surveillance self-reports (if required), document review, preparation of assessment reports, assessor travel time, and corrective action review (analysis of responses to citations). The daily rate is based upon an eight-hour work day. Expenses (travel, hotel, food, etc.) are invoiced based on the costs incurred.
17.4 Annual Fee: based upon revenue in the preceding calendar year attributable to the accredited program.
17.5 The fees for accreditation shall be prescribed by the U.S. Accreditation Board and the Board may change the fees from time to time.
17.6 All fees paid by an applicant / accredited organization are non-refundable.
18.1 An applicant / accredited organization agrees to indemnify and pay U.S. Accreditation all taxes, levies, and duties including, goods and services tax or withholding tax which the Board may be liable to pay as a result of providing the services to the applicant / accredited organization.
19.1 U.S. Accreditation shall maintain confidentiality of information related to CABs and shall not disclose confidential information to any third party without prior written consent by the CAB unless it is otherwise required by any governmental law enforcement agency by following through proper governmental channels/under any applicable laws. The information related to CABs may also be disclosed to International Forums& governmental inspection teams during their evaluations on U.S. Accreditation.
20. OBLIGATIONS OF THE CABS
The accredited CAB shall:
20.1 At all times comply with the relevant criteria of competence and U.S. Accreditation Requirements.
20.2 Offer to all customers a standard of service consistent with the U.S. Accreditation terms and conditions and maintain impartiality and integrity in all operations.
20.3 Claim that it is accredited only with respect to the scope for which it has been granted accreditation.
20.4 Immediately notify U.S. Accreditation, where applicable, on any of the following:
- a) Any change in its legal, commercial, ownership or organizational status.
- b) Any changes in organization, top management and key personnel e.g. key managerial staff, management representative and approved signatories who could affect the performance or competence of the accredited organization.
- c) Plans to conduct any accredited activities outside the United States.
- d) Change of resources and premises.
- e) Any lawsuit or criminal investigation of the accredited organization or its staff.
- f) Any changes to the scope of accreditation.
- g) Any significant changes in main policies; and
- h) Any other matters that may affect the ability of the accredited organization to fulfil requirements for accreditation.
20.5 Adhere to the rules for the use of the U.S. Accreditation Accreditation Marks / Symbol and reference to accreditation status.
20.6 Not to use the accreditation status in such a manner as to bring U.S. Accreditation into disrepute and not make any statement related to the accreditation which U.S. Accreditation may consider misleading or unauthorized;
20.7 Provide reasonable facilities, such as accommodation, cooperation, and access to documentation, inspection methods, test / calibration standards, personnel, inspection site, calibration and testing areas for the assessors and U.S. Accreditation staff, to discharge their duties throughout the assessment process and resolution of complaints. This include reserving a right to visit any certified organizations of U.S. Accreditation accredited certification bodies as a means of verification that audits are properly conducted.
20.8 Make prompt payment to U.S. Accreditation of all the necessary fees levied by U.S. Accreditation;
20.9 Update U.S. Accreditation Certified organization register within 3 working days of issuance of certifications and ensure to send information for not updating the register by email due to technical reasons if any, and also agree to pay a penalty for USD one Thousand for each missed entry at the end of the month.
20.10 Upon the withdrawal of accreditation forthwith discontinue its use of reference to accreditation and withdraw all advertising materials which contains any reference to accreditation;
20.11 Make a clear and unequivocal statement in all contacts with its customers that a certificate of accreditation in no way implies that the product or service is approved by U.S. Accreditation.
20.12 Not represent or hold itself out as being the agent or partner of U.S. Accreditation or make any representations on behalf of U.S. Accreditation.
20.13 Not use its accreditation in such manner as to bring U.S. Accreditation into disrepute, and shall not make any statement relevant to its accreditation, which U.S. Accreditation may consider as misleading.
20.14 Make it clear in all its contracts with clients that the CAB's accreditation, or any of its reports, in no way, by themselves, constitutes or imply that end product or service is approved by U.S. Accreditation.
20.15 Endeavour to ensure that valid complaints from third parties are promptly investigated and resolved in accordance with the CAB's policies and procedures for handling complaints.
20.16 Use its best endeavors to ensure that no part of its accreditation shall be used by a client, or be authorized by a client for use, for promotional or publicity purposes, in a way that U.S. Accreditation may reasonably consider misleading.
20.17 Assist U.S. Accreditation in the investigation and resolution of any complaints made by third parties about the CAB accredited activities.
21. CONDITIONS FOR USE OF U.S. Accreditation ACCREDITATION MARKS
21.1 Layout of U.S. Accreditation Accreditation Marks
- a) Reference to U.S. Accreditation accreditation status made by accredited organization using U.S. Accreditation accreditation marks shall indicate with the Certificate Number issued to the accredited organization. Specimens of the U.S. Accreditation accreditation marks are shown as below.
- b) The accreditation marks must be reproduced in the official colors.
- c) The U.S. Accreditation accreditation mark may be uniformly enlarged or reduced, but shall not be less than 15mm in height.
21.2 Use of Mark or Reference to Accreditation in Publicity and Other Materials by Accredited Organizations
- a)An accredited organization may use the U.S. Accreditation accreditation mark on publicity and other stationery materials such as brochures, letterhead paper, quotations and vehicles. However, the use of the U.S. Accreditation accreditation mark or any reference to U.S. Accreditation accreditation in advertising and promotional publications shall be vetted and pre-approved by U.S. Accreditation.
- b) The accredited organization shall:
- 1. Only claim that it is accredited in respect to those activities which are covered under its scope of accreditation.
- 2. Only use the U.S. Accreditation accreditation mark for premises covered by accreditation.
- 3. Not make any statement regarding its accreditation that U.S. Accreditation may consider misleading or unauthorized.
- 4. Not allow the fact of its accreditation to be used to imply that a product, process, system or person is approved by U.S. Accreditation; and
- 5. Not use the U.S. Accreditation accreditation mark on any test items, products or literature, or in a way that may be interpreted as denoting product conformity, or permit its certified organizations to do so.
- c) An accredited organization shall upon suspension or withdrawal of U.S. Accreditation accreditation immediately cease:
- 1. Issue of any certificates or reports, quotations and calibration labels displaying the U.S. Accreditation accreditation mark or containing references to U.S. Accreditation accreditation.
- 2. Distribution of all items on which the U.S. Accreditation accreditation mark or any reference to U.S. Accreditation accreditation are displayed, and shall ensure discontinued use or distribution of these items.
21.3 Reference to Accreditation Status by Accredited Laboratories
- a) Use of U.S. Accreditation Accreditation Mark on Reports
- 1. An accredited organization may use U.S. Accreditation endorsement on reports that deal solely with activities covered under the terms of accreditation.
- 2. The endorsement shall be made by the use of the U.S. Accreditation accreditation mark and it shall include the Certificate Number issued to the accredited organization and the following statement: "The results reported herein have been performed in accordance with the terms of accreditation under the "U.S. Accreditation".