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Explain how maintenance and calibration of equipment fit into a quality system In the laboratory quality is synonymous with accuracy For a laboratory accuracy of results is of paramount importance as a failure to achieve accuracy in a set of results could lead to damaging financial loss in a marketing environment or even result in a miscarriage of justice if quality control is inadequate within a forensic lab Quality control within a lab must therefore control all factors in the analytical system that may influence the analytical results Instruments used in the determination of results along with auxiliary equipment and the materials involved in the analytical operations are all extremely important factors within an analytical system therefore the functioning capability of these factors must be optimised Lab instruments such as AA spectrometers and gas chromatographs must be maintained in order to produce sufficiently accurate reproducible results Lab personnel experienced in the operation of the instrument usually carry out general maintenance such as the replacement of consumable parts and cleaning Instrument specialists are employed for repairs lab personnel are unable to fix It is necessary for a quality system that all personnel whether in-house or contractor operating or maintaining lab instruments be qualified to a level that allows them to do so without compromising quality hence only qualified persons are permitted access to the instruments Quality systems require a maintenance schedule detailing how often equipment should be serviced and how maintenance procedures should be carried out All maintenance procedures carried out must be entered in a log for future reference This may be useful for the discovery of recurring malfunctions or used to establish accountability When laboratory instruments are fully operational and ready to use they must be seen to be producing acceptably accurate results for the material being analysed This is done by calibration of the equipment eg a balance is calibrated using a known mass with any
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