Tuesday, November 29, 2011

ANSI Audit For Green Label Plus Indoor Air Quality Testing Program

Green Label Plus Indoor Air Quality Testing Program
Big news here at the Carpet and Rug Institute!  Our Green Label Plus Indoor Air Quality testing program recently passed another yearly challenge: the annual audit from ANSI, the organization otherwise known as the American National Standards Institute.

ANSI is the well-known and highly-respected organization that is the official U.S. representative to the International Organization of Standardization (ISO). ANSI is the voice of the American standards community, and is a vital link between governments, industry, consumers, and all other stakeholders in the standard-setting process. It is the third-party we at CRI are referring to when we say the GLP program is “third-party certified”.

I spoke with Jeff Carrier, CRI’s Indoor Air Quality Manager, about the ANSI audit process. 

“I am often asked what it is like to undergo an ANSI accreditation audit. From my perspective as the GLP program manager, it’s a strange mixture of insurance policy, IRS audit, and Wild West dental visit  all rolled into one.

CRI’s Green Label Plus programs ensure that certified carpets and adhesives are the lowest emitters of
VOCs- Volatile Organic Compounds. A certification needs to stand for something, and by taking advantage of ANSI’s accreditation services, GLP users have full assurance that CRI is meeting our obligations by operating a program that is fully compliant with ISO Guide 65- General Requirements for Bodies Operating Product Certification Systems. It is Guide 65 (soon to be replaced by the recently adopted ISO 17065) that guides our operations and administration to ensure that we are operating the Green Label Program in accordance with the requirements of, “…competence, consistent operation and impartiality of product, process and service certification bodes” (ISO Guide 17065).

In short, this says that we state what we’re going to do, we follow through with what we said we’re going to do, and we’re competent to do it. It also includes strict separation of product manufacture, performance of testing, and evaluation of testing – no “home cooking” – everything strictly professional.

And to keep us on our toes, twice each year we entertain outside auditors who review and inspect information from the financial health of the program right down to the individual chain of custody sample sheets to ensure that every i is dotted and every t is crossed. No record or file is off limits. Procedural errors can either be classified as minor or major nonconformities. Either type of nonconformity must be addressed or corrected within 30 days. The auditors also have the option of making recommendations for program improvements. It really helps to have these outside eyes review the program. Occasionally, familiarity can cause you to overlook something that needs to be updated or corrected.

These audits are tough, but in the end they work to show us that we’re running the program very efficiently and openly. It does give us great satisfaction to earn accreditation from ANSI. It shows the confidence CRI has in the strength of the Green Label Plus program that we’re willing to subject ourselves to this rigor - not just during our audits, but on a daily basis. After all, the
GLP programs provide families across the world with the lowest VOC-emitting carpets possible.”

Well said, Jeff – thank you!

~ Bethany  

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