Saint Lucia Bureau of Standards is awarded ISO 17025 Accreditation
The Saint Lucia Bureau of Standards (SLBS) has added another achievement to its list of successes. The Metrology Laboratory of the SLBS, in the field of Calibration, was issued an accreditation certificate to ISO/IEC 17025 General Requirements for the Competence of Calibration Laboratories.
ISO/IEC 17025 specifies the general requirements for the competence to carry out tests and/or calibrations, including sampling. It covers testing and calibration performed using standard methods, non-standard methods, and laboratory-developed methods. Accreditation means that the SLBS Metrology Laboratory has been assessed for technical competence in calibration services and the calibration results produced meet all specifications for technically sound findings.
SLBS has for some time been looking forward to accreditation to the standard as an appropriate tool for demonstrating the technical competence of staff and guaranteeing the validity of the Metrology Laboratory’s results.
The ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation builds on the certification of the SLBS to ISO 9001:2015 requirements. Both achievements affirm the SLBS’ ability to consistently provide quality services and deliver results which meet technical requirements globally. The SLBS Metrology Department was the recipient of the 2015 OIML Award for Excellent Achievements in Legal Metrology in Developing Countries, the smallest country in the world and the only Caribbean country to achieve this honour to date.
Director of the Saint Lucia Bureau of Standards Mr. Verne Emmanuel has commended the efforts of all involved, particularly the staff of the Metrology and Certification Departments. The SLBS Director indicated that the Bureau as the organization with the mandate to administer and promote the national quality infrastructure ensures that its own systems and processes are robust and built on a solid foundation of standards and quality.”
The SLBS accreditation award was given by the Jamaica National Agency for Accreditation (JANAAC) which is the accreditation body of Jamaica, a CARICOM member state. This also made the SLBS Metrology Laboratory the first calibration laboratory to be accredited by JANAAC.
The scope of accreditation for Calibration is Mass and Volume, with an active plan for expansion into Temperature; the SLBS according to Mr. Emmanuel is focused on the areas of prioritized need for the economy, and accreditation gives the assurance that our metrology system is robust, credible and supports expansion of the local economy into global markets.
Funding for accreditation was provided under a CROSQ-CDB project, entitled “Strengthening of the Regional Quality Infrastructure”, which saw the accreditation of the Metrology Laboratory of the SLBS, the development of National Quality Policies in some CARICOM Member States, and the rolling out of an awareness campaign about quality infrastructure targeting small- and medium-sized enterprises. The Caribbean Development Bank CDB and the CARICOM Regional Organization for Standards and Quality CROSQ extended congratulations to the SLBS on this milestone national and regional achievement.
SLBS Offer Online Options
Improving the delivery of service to stakeholders and others customers of the Saint Lucia Bureau of Standards is taking added significance in the COVID 19 pandemic. The SLBS recently launched a platform to support the standards development process particularly to improve engagement with stakeholders in relation to providing responses to draft standards published for public comment.
The platform which was launched in October 2020 as part of activities to mark World Standards Day is expected to improve the rate of interaction with draft standards among stakeholder groups and the general public.
The Communications Department is responsible for the interface while Standards Development is using the platform to collate feedback from stakeholders on draft standards.
Head of the Standards Development Mrs Tzamallah Haynes Joseph anticipates wide use of the platform as people become familiar with it.
Standards Awareness for Improved Engagement
A series of stakeholder consultations to familiarize and canvas comments on a number of standards issued for comment has been received positively by technical committees and interested groups.
The Standards Development Department began the consultations in January 2021 via Zoom to promote and encourage the involvement of all with interest in the subject of the standards to understand the texts as well as to accommodate discussion and expand input into the final document.
The consultations revolved around a wide range of sectors, including tourism home accommodation, agricultural codes of practice and agricultural products and environmental management.
Head of the Standards Development Department Ms Tzarmallah Haynes-Joseph expects this to be a major way of reaching the public during this period, as the SLBS works to improve access in the present climate.
The consultations started in January and are ongoing during the life of the comment phase of the standards of 60 days. For information on upcoming consultations visit the SLBS website, the recording of past consultations can be accessed here.
Future public consultations will be available at https://www.slbs.org/zoom-conferences.
For information on joining future consultations feel free to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to be included in the Standard Development Departments mailing list.
Working Under Restrictions
Director of the Saint Lucia Bureau of Standards Mr. Verne Emmanuel says the stage is set for the unveiling of a number of new initiatives and projects to build a network of services to support a number of sectors of the economy. The SLBS Director says this is coupled with the strengthening of existing services to ensure that the organization can continue to meet its mandate to promote trade and protect the health and safety of consumers.
The SLBS is also reporting success with the adjustments the organization has had to implement to respond to the COVID 19 pandemic. In addition to the usual protocols, the SLBS has moved to improve online access with the availability of new services and features to ensure access to those seeking services from the Bureau.