The calibration of an organization's tools is an important step in verifying that the product or services provided to customers actually meets predetermined specifications. Calibration audits are a tool for management and outside auditors to ensure that the calibration guidelines set forth in an organization's quality manual are being met. Many auditors and organizations utilize checklists to guarantee that every aspect of the calibration program is covered during an audit.
Audit checklists often contain areas for the auditor's name, title and the date of inspection. The information may be pregenerated and included on the printout, or the auditor may have to fill out the information manually. Many checklists also contain a section at the end stating that the audit information provided is accurate to the best of the auditor's knowledge as well as a place for the auditor to sign.
Every audit checklist includes the information that needs to be audited. The list of criteria should be created using the organization's quality manual, quality management system and any calibration procedures as guidelines. Does an official calibration procedure exist? Are all tools being used logged in a central quality assurance database? Are all tools being used calibrated? Do records or certificates exist that establish traceability of calibration? Does a procedure exist for internal calibration checks of tools? How does the organization ensure calibration events occur at predetermined intervals? Questions like these form the essential elements of a calibration audit and have to be tailored based on an organization's individual calibration and quality procedures.
Calibration audit checklists often have three boxes for data entry immediately following each item or question on the checklist: "Yes," "No" and "Findings." The auditor checks the "Yes" and "No" boxes to confirm either compliance or noncompliance with a given item. The "Findings" box is typically larger than the simple checkboxes used for "Yes" and "No" and is used by the auditor to list any comments or elaboration, such as why the particular item failed compliance or the process number assigned to a piece of equipment's calibration procedure.
Brad Chacos started writing professionally in 2005, specializing in electronics and technology. His work has appeared in Salon.com, Gizmodo, "PC Gamer," "Maximum PC," CIO.com, DigitalTrends.com, "Wired," FoxNews.com, NBCNews.com and more. Chacos is a frequent contributor to "PCWorld," "Laptop Magazine" and the Intuit Small Business Blog.