Chain of Custody (COC) is a vital principle adopted by ENVASS to ensure that the samples acquired during the compliance monitoring site visits are the same as the samples and data reported to have been taken at a particular time. Companies have various procedures that they follow, however, a COC record sheet has common features such as the names and signatures of the relinquishers/receivers to ensure all samples can be tracked and to guarantee accountability of the samples. The samples are to be handled only by persons associated in some way with the monitoring program. A good general rule to follow is “the fewer hands the better”. The samples, even though properly sealed, are likely to pass through several hands and the integrity of the sample must be guaranteed at each stage. Any person that has handled the sample must be able to state from whom and when the item was received and to whom and when it was delivered. ENVASS uses a COC form which is utilised to track the handling of the samples through various stages of storage, processing, and analysis at the laboratory.
The ENVASS COC forms comprises of the following:
Client details and project name
The ENVASS project number assigned to each project
Field Technician (Collector) details
Sample collection date and frequency
Type of samples collected
Laboratory retention time
Days samples in field (exposure time)
Items/Description of samples and number of samples
Type of analysis required
Sample condition (stored in ice etc.)
ENVASS follows a strict COC procedure on all projects ensuring that the integrity of all samples.