Proficiency Testing

The laboratory should have an ongoing mechanism for evaluating the effectiveness of its policies and procedures for assuring employee competence. Toward that end, individuals who are involved in the performance of laboratory tests should undergo proficiency testing on at least an annual basis. As much as possible, proficiency test samples should be tested in the same manner as actual forensic samples, and ideally as "blind" samples under conditions in which they are not recognized as proficiency test samples. Proficiency test samples may be obtained from external or internal sources and should be available for all test procedures performed by the laboratory. This blind proficiency test requirement may not be practical or possible for forensic cases. If not, then open blind proficiency tests should be employed. For some situations proficiency tests may not be available. In such circumstances, at least a qualifying test should be administered.

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