Product certification bodies are accredited to ISO/IEC 17065, which is an International Standard for ensuring competence in those organizations performing product certifications.
ISO/IEC 17065 provides requirements for organizations that certify products. This standard ensures that the resulting product certifications are impartial, consistent with international standards, and based on objective testing.
Product certification is often required in sensitive industry and marketplace where a failure could have serious consequences, such as negatively affecting the health and welfare of the people or person using that product.
KENAS offers Certification Bodies accreditation to the international standard ISO/IEC 17065 “General requirements for bodies operating product certification systems”,
In the area of Product Certification, KENAS accredits Certification Bodies who certify the quality of a product. The word “product” is used in its widest sense, and includes processes and services. The certification of such a product is a means of providing assurance that the product in question conforms to specific standard(s) and/or other normative documents.
Certification Bodies providing product certification issue product certificates or licenses to organisations which entitles them to display a mark of conformity on their product or to issue a certificate indicating the product’s conformity with specified requirements. In this way the consumer is assured that the product they are purchasing has reached a set standard.
Product certification can offer the customer formal documentation that the product they have purchased has been tested by qualified personnel to the applicable codes and/or standards.
Those seeking certification for their products must demonstrate that they have adequate quality control/assurance systems in place to maintain conformity of their products with the standards.
ISO 17065 has a number of requirements for organisational structure, quality management system elements, competence of personnel, confidentiality, etc. The certification body must also describe the certification requirements, how the product evaluation is performed and defines periods of recertification and surveillance. In addition, the product certification body must be able to demonstrate how conflict of interest is managed and provide rules and monitoring of the certification mark.
Once the product certification body has all of the organisational and technical measures in place, and has been operating a certification service for a period of time sufficient to have historical records built up, and to be able to demonstrate that the system in operation is stable, it can apply to KENAS for accreditation.
Certification bodies are accredited in compliance with ISO 17065 for a defined range of activities and these are detailed in the scope of accreditation which is annexed to the organisation’s accreditation certificate. A directory of these scopes of accreditation is maintained by KENAS and is available from the KENAS website.
The process for the accreditation of certification bodies is fully described in KENAS procedure and also available from the KENAS website
The advantages of accreditation of product certification bodies includes the following
- Marketplace and customers of this service measure the beneficial value of accreditation.
- Accreditation for product certification programs in accordance with international guidelines
- There is advantage of international and regional recognition through arrangements for mutual recognition of equivalency across boundaries.
- Businesses whose products earn a certification mark from a product certification program that has been accredited have more freedom to compete in many markets around the world—often without the requirement for a duplicative test or mark.
- There is an opportunity of doors opening to new markets, products compete on a level playing field, and regulatory costs can be minimized.
- Some of the benefits of seeking accreditation of product certification bodies include
- Market access: Certified products by an accredited product Certification Body will enjoy greater market access.
- Speed to market: Certified products by an accredited product Certification Body will not be subjected to repeat tests at point of entry hence accreditation can speed the product entry to market.
- Risk management: The accredited product Certification body normally has procedures of mitigating the risks and liabilities in their chosen markets and achieve secure and robust decision making through the management of risk and compliance
- Product differentiation: this is archived through independent testing and certification of products that will stand out from your competitors; certified products stands out from the others in the market.
- Competitive edge: Certified products by an accredited product Certification Body will be recognized around the world.
- Customer confidence: Certified products by an accredited product Certification Body will be acknowledged globally and independently trusted hence improving on the reputation and business reassurance.