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About the PPE Testing Laboratory

About Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) 

VCH is an established healthcare network with a global reputation for excellence in care and innovation. Based in Vancouver, British Columbia, VCH maintains 13 hospitals and serves 25 percent of residents in British Columbia. They specialize in research, mental health, primary care, public health, home health care, and community-based residential care. VCH is supported by a team of more than 3,000 volunteers, 2,000 physicians, and 14,000 part and full-time staff.

At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, global PPE supply chains were severely disrupted, and combined with heavy PPE usage through the world, BC faced an imminent shortage of all types of PPE, particularly N95 respirators. It became abundantly clear that BC needed to establish internal PPE testing capacity.

The Laboratory, completed in June 2020, is located on the Vancouver General Hospital campus and was designed and constructed specifically for PPE testing.

The laboratory operates under a quality management framework designed with the best practices of a variety of quality systems to create a network of high-performance standards:

  • ISO/IEC Standard Number 17025: 2017 General Requirements for the Competency of Testing and Calibration Laboratories. 

  • ISO 9001 Quality Management Systems — Requirements

  • OECD Principles of Good Laboratory Practices (GLP)

  • High Reliability Principles, Weick and Sutcliffe

Our philosophy is to embed quality at all levels of the laboratory from the leadership to the point-of-service, ensuring staff have reliable and meaningful data to effect and drive improvement activities while integrating high reliability principles so the laboratory can anticipate and act on the best results we can provide.

To meet this vision we have engaged the Standards Council of Canada to provide independent third-party verification of our quality framework by participating in their laboratory accreditation process and we participate in voluntary proficiency testing with qualified partner laboratories. 

The laboratory received accreditation to ISO 17025 – General Requirements for the Competence of Testing and Calibration for the current test menu:

  • N95 NaCl Particulate Filtration Testing (TEB-APR-STP-0059)

  • N95 Quantitative Fit Testing (CSA Z94.4-18 Section 9, Annex C)

  • Surgical/Isolation Gown Water Impact Testing (AATCC TM42-2017e)

  • Standard for the Flammability of Clothing Textiles (16 CFR Part 1610)

  • N95 inhalation and exhalation resistance (NIOSH TEB-APR-STP-0007 and NIOSH TEB-APR-STP-0003)

  • Resistance to penetration by synthetic blood (ASTM  F1862/F1862M-17)

  • Test Method for Water Resistance: Hydrostatic Pressure (AATCC - TM127)

To learn more about the PPE Testing Laboratory's accreditation, please click here.

Telephone: 604-875-4111 ext. 67418
Fax: 604-875- 5918
Email: PPEtesting@vch.ca

Please click here to read the VCH PPE Testing Laboratory’s Terms and Conditions of Service.

 



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