Inspection of the collection sites in the federal program is not a requirement; nevertheless, periodic inspections are conducted by some departments. Ensuring compliance with requirements and providing collectors with current information, this practice can improve the quality of the collection operation.
External proficiency requires on-site inspection of the laboratories. Certified laboratories are inspected twice a year by NLCP. Areas listed in this chapter are examined; the inspectors also ensure compliance with requirements. Reviewing data produced since the previous inspection, they document errors and laboratory practice issues to assist corrective actions. Since they are an independent check of laboratory processes and help guide all certified laboratories towards best practices, the inspections rank amongst the most important QA functions.