Chapter 5 - Quality Assurance & Quality Control
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Standard Operating Procedures

Inspection and measurement companies should assure that all work affecting quality of results (such as handling, storing, and analyzing devices) be prescribed in clear and complete written instructions. These work instructions, known as Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), provide the criteria for performing the work, particularly the analytical and testing functions, and prescribe the chain-of-custody procedures that are necessary to assure that analytical results can be used as evidence. The preparation and maintenance of, and compliance with, SOPs should be monitored by the organization’s QA Officer. A schedule for reviewing and updating SOPs should be documented as one of the QA Officer’s responsibilities.

Anyone performing radon measurements should have a written, device-specific SOP in place for each radon measurement system used. An SOP must include specific information describing how to operate and/or analyze a particular measurement device. Companies that analyze devices should develop their own SOP or adapt manufacturer-developed SOPs for their devices.  Companies that receive results from a laboratory should have a device-specific SOP for each brand/model/type of device that they use. In addition, both analytical and residential service providers need to document their procedures for validating data (including client information) and preparing reports. SOPs for tracking detectors (see Chain of Custody) must be documented, adhered to and revised as appropriate.  All employees should be trained and should understand the importance of maintaining proper correlation of information with the detector and measurement result.

Computer files should be backed up regularly to ensure against data loss.  Retention time and location for different types of records should be specified in an SOP.

At the minimum, SOPs for a Quality Assurance Program should include but are not limited to:

  1. Introduction – A concise statement of the procedure intent.
  2. Summary – Summarizes the extent of the procedure or areas to which the procedure applies.
  3. Definitions – Contains definitions of unique terms / words used in the procedure.
  4. Standards – Identifies reference materials / standards to be used with field equipment.
  5. Calibration Requirements – Identifies calibration requirements and operability checks for equipment.
  6. QC Requirements – Identifies any QC requirements to be satisfied to ensure compliance with the procedure, or to ensure the quality of required equipment, standards or the installation process.
  7. Equipment Required – Identifies any standard or unique equipment needed to satisfy the procedure.
  8. Procedures – Describes the performers, actions and controls to be followed to implement the intended, controlled process.
  9. Records – Identifies the quality assurance records to be created and retained which demonstrate compliance with, and completion of, the controlled process.
  10. References – Lists the documents used to prepare the procedure or to be used to implement the procedure.
  11. Attachments – This section identifies included information or sample forms needed to implement the procedure.