Accreditation is one way in which a customer can have confidence in the analytical procedures used by the laboratory and the stringency with which the quality of the analytical results are tested against internal and external standards. Customers can therefore place greater reliance on the results obtained from an accredited laboratory. The required standards are specified by ČSN EN ISO/IEC 17025. These govern the organization of the laboratory and its staff, care and calibration of analytical equipment, methods and protocols for ensuring the quality of results and the format in which they are delivered to the customer.
The Central Laboratory has continuously maintained accredited status under norm ČSN EN 45001 since 1993, and since 1997 it has been accredited according to norm ISO/IEC 17025. The accreditation is granted by the Czech Accreditation Institute (CAI) for periods of five years. The CAI is an official authority of the Czech Government. Because the CGS is the geological institution of first resort under the Czech Ministry of the Environment it is essential that the Central Laboratory has accredited status. This imposes requirements for transparency in its management and continuous improvements in laboratory procedures so that the analytical outputs meet standards compatible with best contemporary practice. This guarantees satisfaction for all customers and official users of the laboratory, as well as the continuing professional development of its staff.
Certificate of Accreditation, 2020 (in Czech)
The Central Laboratory is mostly concerned with the analysis of solid materials and natural waters carried out under the terms of projects financed by the CGS and the Grant Agency of the Czech Republic, or by the European Union. The accredited status of the laboratory is essential for grant holders and other customers who submit reports in the EU countries and publish their work internationally. In the EU, accredited analytical results are obligatory for samples of drinking water, contaminated soil and slag etc. This is because safe limits are set by legislation to protect the environment and public health.
Accredited methods used for the analysis of major oxides in rocks, raw materials and soils are as follows: SiO2 (titration and gravimetric), Al2O3 (titration as well as AAS), MgO (titration and AAS), Fe2O3 (photometry, also AAS), MnO (AAS), Na2O (AAS), K2O (AAS), TiO2 (AAS), Li2O (AAS), P2O5 (photometry), FeO (titration), CO2 (CS analyzer), C (CS analyzer), S (CS analyzer), total S in coal (Eschka method), sulphate S (gravimetric), F (pyrohydrolysis), loss by drying (gravimetric), loss on ignition (gravimetric) and control of completeness of silicate analysis. The standard output is a complete silicate analysis but determination of fewer components can also be made to provide partial analyses.
Analyses of the following trace elements by AAS are accredited: Be, Cs, Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Mo, Ni, Pb, Rb, Sc, Sr, V and Zn. Analyses of Au (AAS, GFAAS) and Hg (AMA254 analyzer) are also accredited. For surface waters, precipitation and ground waters the following analyses are accredited: pH (potentiometry), conductivity, total and apparent acid neutralizing capacity ANC/KNK (titration), anions in waters (ion chromatography with conductivity detection), F (selective ion electrode), NH4+ (photometry), major and trace elements Na, K, Mg, Ca, Li, Fe, Al, SiO2, Sr, Rb, Co, Cr, Cu, Mn, Cd, Zn (AAS). The output is a chemical analysis of water with control on completeness given by the sum total of micro equivalents of cations and anions. Analyses of the following trace elements by GFAAS are also accredited: Cu, Pb, As, Cd, Be, Al, Co, Cr, Mo, Ni, V.
A prerequisite for a laboratory to become accredited is to have a documented quality management system. Our results have been regularly compared with those of accredited foreign laboratories through inter-laboratory proficiency tests since the year 2000. The following procedures are tested: an Aslab test (basic chemical analysis of drinking and surface water, trace elements in drinking and surface water), GeoPT (total silicate analysis, trace elements, rare earths) and NIVA (basic chemical analysis and trace elements in precipitated waters). Five rounds of tests are conducted each year. The granting of accredited status to the relevant analytical method depends on the successful completion of these.
Based on long-term monitoring of GeoPT results by the Certification Committee of the IAG (International Association of Geoanalysts) we can and do provide certified analyses of rocks.
The advantage of accreditation is that a continuous record is kept of the analytical procedures and the system of quality management used in the laboratory and the accuracy and precision of analyses relative to international standards can be tracked over a five year period. A customer can obtain a copy of a certificate of analysis for a period of up to10 years after its original date of issue.