Before any product can be circulated, its conformity with the technical regulations must be assessed (conformity assessment). Conformity assessments are carried out either by the manufacturer (manufacturer's declaration), for example with electrical appliances; or by an independent third party (conformity assessment body), for example with lifts. However, some products, such as medicine, may only be circulated after approval by the competent authority (certification). The legislator decides which procedure shall apply based on the potential risk presented by the product.
The conformity assessment bodies’ technical and scientific competence is checked against specific international standards (EN 45000 and ISO 17000) in the process of accreditation. Accreditation ensures the competence of the conformity assessments bodies in designated areas. When accreditation is performed against international standards it facilitates the international recognition of conformity assessments. Accreditation in Switzerland is carried out by the Swiss Accreditation Service (SAS).
The Swiss Accreditation Service (SAS)
Although the Swiss Accreditation Service (SAS) is organised under the State Secretariat for Economy (SECO) for administrative reasons, the SAS is independent in its decision making. Any decision about allocating, refusing, suspending or withdrawing an accreditation is made based on the Accreditation and Designation Ordinance. The SAS is an active partner in international cooperation forums, such as the European Cooperation for Accreditation, the International Accreditation Forum, or the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation.