Assessment Information (MNELAP) - Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program - Minnesota Dept of Health

Assessment Information
(MNELAP)

On this page:
General Information
Assessor Application Form
Approved List of Assessors
Assessment Appraisal Form
Frequently Asked Questions

General Information

The 2013 Minnesota legislative session amended the Minnesota Statutes 144.98 governing the accreditation of environmental laboratories. The amendments allow the use of qualified independent assessors and assessment organizations approved by the MNELAP.

The Minnesota Statute amendments include provisions for approval of employees of state or federal agencies with established agreements for mutual assistance or recognition with the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). Therefore, state, and federal employees should not use this application process.

MNELAP will accept applications from individual assessors interested in performing environmental laboratory assessments for compliance with our state laws and rules, including the 2016 TNI Standard.

If interested in becoming a MNELAP approved assessor or assessment organization, please check out the assessor application forms and requirements to see if you qualify and to apply.

Assessor Application Forms and Requirements

The individual assessor application is open from May 1 – June 30, 2021.

Assessor Application Form

All approved assessors and assessment organizations must adhere to the responsibilities listed in the Data Practices Checklist for Contractors, and the Standards of Professional Conduct for Assessors. Applicants must complete, sign, and submit both forms to MNELAP as part of the application packet.

MNELAP will review applications for completeness and evaluate the supplied documentation for compliance with the 2016 TNI Standard V2M3 Section 4.0, EPA Manual for the Certification of Laboratories Analyzing Drinking Water, Fifth Edition, Section 4.1 and  4.2 (PDF), Supplement 1 to the Fifth Edition of the Manual for the Certification of Laboratories Analyzing Drinking Water (PDF), and Minnesota Statute 144.98 Subd. 12. Approved applicants must attend a MNELAP training session prior to MNELAP listing your name on the approved list of MNELAP assessors.

Please note that meeting the qualifications and requirements does not guarantee acceptance as a MNELAP approved assessor.

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Approved List of Contract Assessors

Assessment Appraisal Form

Laboratories are encouraged to fill out an Assessment Appraisal Form after their assessment is completed. This feedback is valuable to our program for continuous quality improvement efforts.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Who do I contact if I have questions about a MNELAP assessors and/or the assessor application process?

Answer: Please contact: Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program, health.mnelap@state.mn.us

  • If I perform assessments as an individual (independent contractor) and perform assessments as a subcontractor for an assessment organization, which application form should be completed?

Answer: All assessors, whether performing assessments as individuals or with an organization, must submit an Environmental Laboratory Assessor Application.

  • Do I need to register as a business in Minnesota to apply as an assessor?

Answer: Applicants should review the Minnesota Sales and Use Tax Business Guide for general information and see Who Needs to Register for specific information on business registration.

  • Will my assessor answer question about my assessment or accreditation?

Answer: Assessors may only conduct the onsite assessment activities for your laboratory. Contracted assessors or organizations are not authorized to answer questions regarding your accreditation, application fees, the application process, or interpretations of the standard. Assessors will communicate their assessment observations with the laboratory during a closing meeting. MNELAP encourages laboratories to resolve any disputed items at the time of the assessment. The laboratory or the assessor should contact MNELAP for clarification if required. MNELAP reviews all draft assessment reports prior to release to the laboratory for consistency and adherence to the rules and regulations.

  • How will the cost rate for Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) assessors be determined, if a MDH assessor is needed?

Answer: The law requires the commissioner to collect fees equivalent to the cost of performing the assessment activities. The major activities and cost factors include pre-assessment review of documentation; establishing the onsite assessment dates, times, and schedule; time spent in travel to and from the onsite assessment site; interviewing laboratory staff while onsite at the laboratory facility; preparing the assessment report and reviewing laboratory responses to findings. Travel costs associated with the assessment include meals, lodging, and transportation costs, such as airfare, mileage, tolls, car rental, public transportation, and parking.

  • Will MDH assessors be listed on the approved list and can the lab select a specific MDH assessor from that list? Can we use assessors/employees from MN state agencies or other states?

Answer: No. The list of assessors published on the webpage and available to laboratories will include the list of third-party assessors determined qualified by MNELAP. Alternate assessors (MNELAP staff and employees of state or federal agencies with reciprocal agreements) will not be available to laboratories and will not be listed on the webpage. If a laboratory requires an alternate assessor, MNELAP will determine the alternate alternatives.

  • How will we control copies of laboratory-controlled documents that the assessors are privy to? ELDO read only view only?

Answer: MNELAP will grant access to the ELDO system for all approved assessors. Assessors and assessment organizations must sign the Data Practices Checklist for Contractors as part of their application for approval. The agreement requires appropriate handling of documents and information and restricts access to data on a need-to-know basis.

  • Can anyone be an assessor?

Answer: No. The qualifications of the individual assessors are the same as those for MDH employees hired as assessors. The application forms describe the requirements and process for approval of individual assessors. Real or perceived conflicts of interest is also a consideration in the evaluation of an assessor application. Please note that meeting the qualifications and requirements does not guarantee acceptance as an assessor.

  • Can an MDH employee quit and become an assessor?

Answer: Any person may apply to be an approved assessor. MNELAP will only consider applications from non-governmental personnel. If a MDH employee severs employment with the state, the former employee may choose to apply for consideration as an approved assessor. The application would be subject to the same evaluation criteria as all other applicants.

  • If, during the course of the assessment, our selected assessor cannot complete the assessment activities, or we determine the assessor is not competent to perform the assessment for our scope of work (i.e., terminating our contract prior to the end of the assessment) do we need to inform MNELAP of the change?

Answer: Yes. Upon entering the contract, the assessor will notify MNELAP of the assignment by creating an assessment in the ELDO assessment module. This allows MNELAP staff to monitor access to the laboratory files in ELDO as well as provide guidance to the assessor and the lab in completing a timely assessment process. One of the first actions an assessor must perform is providing the laboratory notification of any conflicts of interest and adding the confirmation of delivery to the laboratory files. If the laboratory or the assessor terminates the contract after the selection of the assessor and notification of conflicts of interest are sent, MNELAP will note the change and may provide instruction to the laboratory in selecting a new assessor. If for some reason, the laboratory or the assessor cancels the assessment while the assessor is onsite at the laboratory, the laboratory and/or the assessor must notify MNELAP as soon as possible. If the situation warrants, MNELAP may determine sufficient cause to remove the assessor from the approved list. The Minnesota Statute 144.98, subd. 12. list the potential reasons for removal.

  • Why does MNELAP use third party assessors?

Answer: MNELAP has investigated multiple ways to reduce the overall costs of accreditation while maintaining a program conforming to federal laws and the national standards used by many states. The implementation of the online application system significantly reduced the administrative costs for the program. With this change, the assessment costs may now be reduced because MNELAP will not expend resources for duplicating assessments at laboratories already assessed by other organizations. Smaller laboratories may reduce costs of the assessment by forming cooperative agreements to share travel costs for the assessment team. Several states already use a similar contracting process and federal agencies are required to do so through Executive Order.

  • Can MNELAP post costs associated with each approved assessor? Can MNELAP rate the assessors and post the information on a webpage?

Answer: No. MNELAP will not have information regarding costs of the assessments and cannot post cost information without impacting a fair contracting process. Likewise, MNELAP cannot rate individual assessors or organizations. If a laboratory believes costs are excessive or that an assessor or organization should be removed from the list for any of the causes stated in the Minnesota Statute 144.98, subd. 12., the laboratory should relay their concerns to MNELAP.

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Updated Tuesday, 28-Sep-2021 15:06:30 CDT