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Interview
Dean Taleb – Expanding the certification and inspection body accreditation programs at SCC

January 15, 2021

Dean Taleb – Expanding the certification and inspection body accreditation programs at SCC

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Interview
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Dean Taleb is a Program Manager and Lead Assessor in the technical services area in the accreditation services branch at SCC. He leads assessments and provides technical expertise and training on the certification body accreditation programs (CBAP) and inspection body accreditation programs (IBAP). He works diligently with regulators on their needs and determines the best solutions to implement the correct standards and regulations.

Q.

Why did you decide to join the SCC Team?

A.

I started my career in standards while working with CSA Group certifying medical and laboratory products. In this position, I was auditing customers to the ISO 9001 and ISO 13485 standards. I realized that auditing was my favourite part of the job. It involved applying quality systems and quality safety ideas to processes which lead to the production of quality products that conform to standards. Joining SCC and becoming an assessor provided me with an opportunity to apply all the knowledge I had learned at CSA Group and to learn even more about how certification and conformity assessment bodies rely and benefit from accreditation to meet their business objectives.

 

Q.

What qualifications or courses have you taken to become a Program Manager and Assessor at SCC?

A.

I have a bachelor’s in biomedical engineering. After my degree, I completed a lot of training and did extensive research to learn about standards. Through course offerings such as the Canadian Electrical Code, ISO 9001, ISO 130485, ISO/IEC 17020, and ISO/IEC 17065, I have developed a deep understanding of adequately interpreting and applying the standards I work with.

Besides the courses mentioned above, I have taken several project management and effective communication courses that SCC has offered.

In February, I am excited to announce that I will provide the training for ISO/IEC 17065, and I will also be teaching the ISO/IEC 17020 courses in the future.

 

Q.

Which programs are you a part of?

A.

I have been conducting assessments for both the certification body (CBAP) and inspection body (IBAP) accreditation programs for three and a half years. In my time here at SCC, I have led numerous assessments and helped address concerns or problems that customers or regulators may have.

Recently I helped develop the requirements and guidance document for a new scheme for the railway safety assessment program, The Independent Safety Assessor for Railway Systems Accreditation Program. I also had the opportunity to revamp the ISO/IEC 17020 conformity assessment program and revised the requirements and guidance document for IBAP.

 

Q.

Can you tell us more about the Independent Safety Assessor for Railway Systems Accreditation Program?

A.

This program is coming at the right time in Canada as new rail technologies are emerging, and transportation organizations are focused more than ever on safer and cleaner transit technologies. In Canada, there is a need for railway systems to be in line with global best practices in safety and system assurance. Metrolinx, an Ontario Transportation agency, was looking for a reliable pathway to bring new technologies and improve overall safety while reducing journey times and enhancing the customer experiences.

In working with SCC, Metrolinx determined they could have Independent Safety Assessors (ISAs) that have earned accreditation by SCC. These ISA’s would undertake independent safety assessments of the risk management process completed by railway entities to ensure all potential hazards are identified and mitigated.

 

Q.

How did you assist in the development of the rail accreditation program?

A.

I was assigned as the technical lead to develop the program framework and determine what this program would be. Surprisingly rail assessments and inspections had similar concepts to the risk assessment required for medical devices. Understanding the risks and assessment processes of medical supplies helped me understand the framework for assessing rail systems risks. I also researched the European rail program and the CSMREA (402/2013) / EN 50126 Series standards and reached out to field experts to develop a robust Canadian rail accreditation program.

 

Q.

Have you had any unique or interesting assessments?

A.

I find an assessment interesting when a customer can develop a new way to meet all the criteria for a standard. One organization that did this was an organization that consolidated two separate clauses and found a new way to conform to the standard. Agreements and labels for this particular product are typically displayed separately. This conformity assessment body decided to have their agreement be part of their label and stated the agreement on the label.

Standards are generally open, and we must remember that if the conformity assessment body conforms to the criteria, they meet the clauses’ intent.

Incorporating the agreement on the label met the requirement of having an agreement form which allowed it to be visible to any user operating the equipment.

 

Q.

Do you have any advice for young professionals that want to become an assessor?

A.

Relationship building is key. When I joined SCC, I realized we have many bright minds in our pool of assessors. I began speaking with experienced assessors in the industry to discuss standards, and they all provided valuable input on getting me to where I am today.

If you want to become an assessor, you also have to remember there are many ways to do one thing. Every conformity assessment body is unique. You must be open-minded and willing to be challenged by customers on new ways to conform to a certain criterion. The standards industry is always coming up with ways to be progressive, and our customers are finding new solutions to conform and improve their quality systems. Therefore, as assessors we need to be flexible and responsive.

 

Q.

What is something your fellow assessors probably do not know about you?

A.

I think it is essential to have a balance in your life to challenge yourself mentally and physically. Because what I do is mentally stimulating, I like doing more active things outside of work. One thing I enjoy is building things. I have built an outdoor shed and an office structure from scratch and started an Instagram on my DIY home renovation projects.

 

Dean Taleb has worked at SCC since 2017. He interacts directly with certification and inspection bodies. Working with customers one on one, he can determine a customer’s goals and help them achieve accreditation.

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