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Regular Interlaboratory Counting Exchanges (RICE)

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Lab 1 Slides will be despatched by 26th August 2024

Lab 1 Results Deadline is 4th October 2024

Lab 2 Slides should be received by 7th October 2024

Lab 2 Results Deadline is 8th November 2024

Proficiency Testing Scheme Overview

The Regular Interlaboratory Counting Exchanges (RICE) PT scheme assesses the proficiency of laboratories counting asbestos fibres in air.The RICE scheme is operated by HSE Testing and Monitoring, which oversees management, registration, and membership matters together with distribution of the samples and processing the participant data.

Analytes in the Scheme

Asbestos fibres mounted on microscope slides.

Who Should Participate?

UK laboratories are required to be accrediated by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) to ISO 17025 to undertake this particular analysis as part of assessing clearance under the Control of Asbestos Regulations (CAR). Participation in RICE in the United Kingdom is recommended in the Health and Safety Executive's Guidance - HSG 248, "Asbestos: The analyst's guide for sampling, analysis and clearance procedures" and is a precondition for accreditation of this analysis to ISO 17025.

Participation in the scheme is also open to non-UK laboratories.

Operation of the Scheme

Currently there are three sample distributions per annum. Each distribution is a round robin wherein batches of reference slides are circulated between small cohorts of laboratories, typically 2 laboratories per cohort. Delivery date and deadlines for submission of results are emailed to participants prior to round commencement. Upon submission of results participants receive initially a provisonal report and a certification report upon completion of the particular round.

Counts submitted are compared with reference values for each slide and are categorised as A, B or C.  After 4 rounds have been completed, if 75% or more of the counts are in the categories A or B the laboratory is classed as 'satisfactory' (see handbook for full details).

Contact details

The Proficiency Testing Team

The HSE Science and Research Centre

Harpur Hill



SK17 9JN


Tel: +44 (0) 203 028 3382

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