According to the definition, certification is the assessment of conformity. In most cases, requirements have been stated in standards, which include international ISO, European EN and national SFS standards.
Either the management system, product or process, or personnel can be certified. Examples of management systems include quality, environmental, occupational health and data security systems. Concrete products such as construction products, electrical equipment and components or processes such as welding processes are the target of product certification.
The certification body assesses whether the system, product or personnel fulfil the requirements stated in the certification requirements. There are different kinds of assessment methods and they can include the assessment, testing or inspection of data gathered from practical operations based on documents and a written or competence-based qualification in the case of personnel certification. The certification body issues a certificate based on the assessment in which it verifies that the management system, product, process or personnel fulfil the specified requirements. Certification is valid for a fixed period after which a recertification can be performed. Certification maintenance can be related to assessment procedures that must be performed, e.g., annually, while the certification is valid.
Certification bodies covered by accreditation offer their clients management system certification, product certification and personnel certification.
In most cases, certification is a voluntary procedure that can be used to demonstrate that the certified target fulfils the requirements imposed on it. In addition, certification can be used to demonstrate compliance with the requirements of legislation, including directives or EU regulations.
Accredited certification bodies are impartial third party operators independent of the target of certification and they must have the competence specified in international standards and other prerequisites for their operations.
- Management system certification SFS-EN ISO/IEC 17021:2011
- Product certification SFS-EN ISO/IEC 17065:2012
- Personnel certification SFS-EN ISO/IEC 17024:2012
Accredited certification bodies use the FINAS accreditation symbol in which the identification number of the accredited body is of the form SXXX.