Many weighing balances and scales feature GLP compliant printouts as a selling point. But what makes a printout GLP compliant? What does GLP mean? Why is it important? Does your balance need to offer printouts in order for your lab to comply with GLP? This post takes a look at the importance of good printouts and how they benefit your lab.
What is GLP?
GLP stands for “Good Laboratory Practice” and is a set of regulations designed to substantiate the consistency of lab experiments. They are meant to ensure the quality and reliability of test data. Adhering to GLPs is essential if the study or experiment is to have any validity, as compliance adds to your credibility. Homogenised practices ensure experiments can be widely shared and repeated. Furthermore, GLPs are required for “patent writing, litigation, and product registration with the USDA, EPA & FDA”.
However, as Dr. Nathan Teuscher writes in his blog, GLP is not the be all and end all of science. GLP is not a scientific system, but a quality assurance system. Dr. Teuscher writes that GLP principles “only apply to non-clinical studies”. GLP practices are not the responsibility of a single individual, but a minimum of 2 or 3: “these are the person performing the work (analyst), a person reviewing the work (management), and a quality assurance reviewer (QA)”. Lastly, adhering to GLP guidelines does not make a study’s hypothesis or conclusions true or accurate. As Dr. Teuscher writes: “A statement that a study was conducted in conformance with GLP simply means that quality systems were followed, and that the results of the study accurately report the conduct of the study. It does not indicate that the conclusions drawn are accurate, scientifically robust, or even useful”.
GLP format is like APA style or paper formatting for people who use it frequently: we all should know and remember most of it, but there are always pesky details that go unnoticed, prepared to take points off. And of course, no matter how well your paper is formatted, that does not reflect on the quality of its content. A device that prints results according to GLP compliance simplifies reporting because A) you don’t have to reformat raw data and B) you can use it as a template for other things that need to be formatted as such. It also allows anyone overlooking your work to quickly access relevant data about the experiment and check the status of a number of key points.
Different industries, government agencies, and countries have different guidelines about which practices must be followed in order to be in GLP compliance. Be sure to find out the practices and procedures that are required in order to meet conformity of GLP for your industry.
How can a balance or scale help?
Most printouts from scales and balances are particularly concerned with traceability. There are two definitions that are of interest:
Quality control: Ability to trace the application, location, and/or history of an activity or item by means of recorded data.
Systems management: Ability to track system requirements from a system function to all those elements that individually or collectively perform that function.
Weighing scales that feature GLP printouts facilitate these processes by providing information such as the time, the date, the balance or scale’s ID, and other useful data that can be tracked and monitored. Many Adam laboratory scales and balances have this feature, such as our Eclipse and Nimbus analytical balance series.