May 2019 Newsletter

SLBS gets Support from CSN for Capacity Building

For two weeks in May, over two hundred employees of National Standards bodies, public and private sector laboratories from Saint Lucia and the CARICOM Region, received training in two critical standards to drive capacity in build expertise in key conformity assessment bodies in the Caribbean.

Through the Commonwealth Standards Network (CSN) Project the Saint Lucia Bureau of Standards hosted a train the trainer programme on the requirements and implementation of two international standards ISO/IEC 17025: 2017 General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories and ISO15189: 2012 Medical laboratories – Requirements for quality and competence.

CSN Team Leader Mr. Charles Barker said the CSN is anxious to build capacity which will eventually help the SLBS to aim for accreditation.  According to Barker – Accreditation builds credibility for laboratories.

The course which was opened to the rest of the region was conducted on site and disseminated via video conferencing facilities. In addition to broadening the reach of the course the primary national objective of the course was to create the appropriate framework of human resource capacity to allow the SLBS to offer training in the requirements of ISO 17025 and ISO 15189 to more laboratories. The training of a cadre of professionals is critical to enabling the SLBS to have a pool of trainers who will be expected to deliver training sessions and drive the wider developmental agenda to improve support for a national quality infrastructure.

The Commonwealth Standards Network Project is being implemented by SLBS to promote the use of standards as a tool to increase intra-commonwealth trade and to strengthen the quality infrastructure in Commonwealth countries.

SLBS facilitates Business Development Opportunities

The Saint Lucia Bureau of Standards joined with the Ministry of Commerce and Saint Lucia Export to coordinate support for stakeholders exploring opportunities for funding to grow their business.  The SLBS together with the business support organizations hosted an information session to explain the Direct Assistance Grant Scheme (DAGS) of the Caribbean Export Development Agency and discuss options for application into the programme.

The DAGS focuses on helping established businesses with strong potential for export expand their market for their products and services.  Trade Promotion Officer of the Ministry of Commerce Jonathan Allain is the Saint Lucia Liaison for Caribbean Export. 

The engagement gave the SLBS an opportunity to share best practice in standards implementation and certification to support resilience, advance improvements in quality and efficiency and to enhance the export potential of the business sector.

The grant allows for the reimbursement to a maximum of 70% of the total value of a potential project and this is capped at 30,000 Euros with the minimum grant amount that can be applied for being 10,000 Euros.

SLBS is a Signatory to the  Declaration on Gender Responsive Standards

The Saint Lucia Bureau of Standards supports action to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls, as part of the countries commitment to meeting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 2030)

In May the Saint Lucia Bureau of Standards joined 50 other National Standards Bodies to sign the Declaration on Gender-Responsive Standards. In a statement from the United Nations Economic Commission of Europe UNECE the initiative is aimed at  strengthening the use of standards and technical regulations as powerful tools to attain SDG 5 (Achieve Gender Equality and Empower all Women and Girls), integrate a gender lens in the development of both standards and technical regulations, as well as elaborate gender indicators and criteria that could be used in standards development.

Director of the Saint Lucia Bureau of Bureau of Standards Mr. Verne Emmanuel indicated SLBS’s willingness to be associated with this initiative.

The Initiative which was developed under UNECE’s Working Party on Regulatory Cooperation and Standardization Policies (WP.6) confirms a basis for gender awareness in standards and technical regulations.  According to the UNECE, ‘women are widely under-represented in developing the standards that affect so many areas of their lives, from the infrastructure on which economies depend, to the products consume every day and the technologies needed to address a wide range of sustainability challenges.’

A UNECE statement on the signing of the declaration indicates that, a range of disparities in how women fare in the workplace as opposed to their male counterparts. According to the UNECE, “a 2017 report by the UK’s Trades Union Congress found that ill-fitting personal protective equipment (PPE) hampered the work of 57% of women. In the emergency services, only 5% of women said that their PPE never hampered their work.”

In the same statement UNECE said, “standard values used to set heating and air conditioning in offices have been found to overestimate female metabolic rate by as much as 35%, meaning that current offices are on average five degrees Celsius too cold for women.”

UNECE maintains that there is “a need for standards that account for uneven gender distribution in different sectors of the economy, including – covering for example exposure to pesticides in seasonal agricultural work, or harmful chemicals commonly used in nail salons – areas where women make up the majority of workforces.

As another dimension, compliance with standards for international trade is out of reach for many smaller women-owned businesses, especially in lower income countries, due to barriers including costs related to certification or lack of awareness.

These issues not only hamper progress towards Sustainable Development Goal 5 on gender equality, but also undermine the potential of standards as powerful tools to support sustainable development.”

World Metrology Day showcases SLBS Advances in Measurement Traceability

As part of activities to mark the observance of World Metrology Day on May 20th, 2019, the Saint Lucia Bureau of Standards, SLBS unveiled its new one kilogram (1 kg) standard which is traceable to the new SI through the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) during a press briefing. 

This very accurate mass standard was donated to the SLBS last year under the Mass Project of the Inter-American Metrology System (SIM). This mass standard will eventually be declared and maintained as the SLBS’ national standard kilogram.

World Metrology Day commemorates the anniversary of the signing of the Metre Convention in 1875. This treaty provides the basis for a coherent measurement system worldwide that underpins scientific discovery and innovation, industrial manufacturing and international trade, as well as the improvement of the quality of life and the protection of the global environment.

This year’s WMD theme is   “The International System of Units-Fundamentally  Better”.   The SLBS joined the rest of the world to create awareness of a major change to the International System of Units which took place in November 2018 and came into effect on World Metrology Day.  This is the most significant revision of the SI, since its inception in 1960 which addresses new measurement methods including those using quantum phenomena.

The SI is now based on a set of definitions each linked to the laws of physics and has the advantage of being able to embrace further improvements in measurement science and technology to meet the needs of future users for many years to come.

Head of the Metrology Department Mr. Anselm Gittens spoke of the highlights of the observance

Blue Waters continues to Aim for Quality

For the 5th consecutive year, Blue Waters Saint Lucia has continued its commitment to quality bottled water, demonstrating confidence in the value of certification, by relicensing to use the Saint Lucia Standard Mark.

The relicensing agreement gives the assurance to consumers that quality is an important feature of the businesses.

The Saint Lucia Standard Mark, is awarded following an audit, which surveyed the company against the requirements of two standards; Specification for Packaged Water and The Code of Hygienic Practice for the Collecting, Processing and Marketing of Packaged Water.  Head of Certification Dr. Xanthe Dubusion explains what was required of Blue Waters for certification.

The Saint Lucia Standard Mark is a product mark which allows real benefits to subscribing businesses.  This means the development of a culture across all levels of the organization about safety, hygiene and all other issues which may impact on the quality of the final product.

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