Analytical chemists from six of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Member States enhanced their knowledge of laboratory quality management, during a course run by OPCW and the Finnish Institute for Verification of the Chemical Weapons Convention (VERIFIN) in Helsinki, Finland from 5 – 16 September.
The two-week course focused on ensuring and maintaining quality standards within laboratories that are designated for testing and calibration. Through a series of lectures and practical tasks, attendees covered topics such as sample chain of custody, internal auditing processes and lab security.
Over the course of the training, instructors worked with each participant to assist them in tackling issues specific to several labs. At the end of the course, participants were able to identify and apply best laboratory practices for the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention in their countries.
The course was designed specifically for laboratory personnel from Member States whose economies are developing or in transition and included attendees from Botswana, Jamaica, Philippines, Tanzania, Tajikistan and Uganda.
One participant remarked that learning the speed at which laboratory techniques and processes develop was especially helpful. Another participant added: “This course has helped me realise the importance of having quality standard assurance, especially in analytical laboratories, and the knowledge I have gained will help us organise and maintain top quality systems at our own institute.”