Certification of field personnel improves quality of environmental research

Sampling on a dock.

Representative environmental measurement and sampling are essential for reliable environmental research. The skills and responsibilities of field personnel are the major factors to assure the reliability of the results. Persons working in the field in Finland are able to show their competence by certifying their personal skills.

The national certification system is a widely acknowledged quality assurance procedure in Finland today. The quality of field work has improved both in governmental monitoring programs as well as in private companies. More than 80 % of the certified persons work in private companies, where companies benefit from this procedure, because of the competitive advantage certified sampling personnel is providing. Education of field personnel in Finland has improved significantly due to the certification system. More courses are available and the contents of the courses have improved. Certified field personnel are also more motivated to regularly take part in training courses.

The Finnish certification scheme

Persons working in the field in Finland are able to show their competence by certifying their personal skills. This certification system is based on the international standard ISO 17024. The certification system has been designed to ensure that sampling personnel have enough experience and expertise to do their job well even under difficult circumstances. The following fields of expertise are available:

  • Water sampling and measurement
  • Soil samples and samples of solid wastes
  • Drinking and recreational waters
  • Measurement of air quality  
  • Hydrological measurements
  • Biological samplingfrom waters
  • Measurement and evaluation of noise
  • Nature inventories *

* Not included in the scope of accreditation (S022) by the Finnish Accreditation services (FINAS).

Certification of environmental sampling personnel is conducted through the certification body, set up to assure quality. More than 600 persons are currently certified. The certification is valid for eight years.

The certification body’s sampling experts come from SYKE and other instances with excellent expertize in the field. Their work is in turn overseen by a certification board, whose members include representatives from the Ministry of the Environment, the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs,  consultants and the employers of sampling personnel, including water boards.


Published 2015-06-09 at 13:38, updated 2023-10-23 at 11:25
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