Creating a safer marketplace for consumers in Barbados continues to be the focus of the Barbados National Standards Institution (BNSI) which recently published 11 new standards.

While the documents, which are in accordance with Section 6 of the Standards Act, 2006-5, are voluntary, they offer a valuable guideline for specific commodities, processes, practices and services.

Chief Technical Officer (Specifications) at the BNSI, Fabian Scott, remarked that these standards reflected the demands of stakeholders for assistance and support in their respective fields.

Highlighting some of the products and services which now featured a standard, Mr. Scott noted that: "As Barbadian entrepreneurs and established manufacturers become more involved in the commercialisation of our tropical fruits, particularly coconut water, BNSI has put in place a CARICOM Regional Standard, BNS CRCP 2, Packaged natural coconut water to protect and assure consumers who want to purchase the product in its natural state.

"The product is becoming more mainstream with smaller producers taking the lead, but it is expected in the short to medium term that this product would begin to be exported and traded amongst CARICOM Member States and maybe further afield, as is the case with some imported coconut water products. The publication of this standard is, therefore, timely to support efforts in this emerging industry," the BNSI representative observed.

Management of energy in the industrial sector to reduce costs and improve the competitiveness of Barbadian manufacturers has also been addressed with BNS ISO 50001 Energy Management Systems. Mr. Scott revealed that "early adopters around the world who have implemented this standard can attest to reducing their energy consumption by at least 40 per cent. It provides practical guidance on how organisations can significantly reduce their energy costs."

Services, the BNSI officer noted, could also benefit from the guidance offered, and Mr. Scott acknowledged that the global economic crisis had led countries to establish new financial regulating systems. He explained that the standard BNS ISO 22222, Personal Financial Planning "seeks to establish a benchmark for individuals who provide the professional service of personal financial planning"; while the thrust towards adopting a Green Economy would be supported by BNS IEC/TS 61836 Solar Photovoltaic Energy Systems, which "was published to support those in the solar photovoltaic energy industry by consolidating a glossary for experts’ common understanding.

"It is expected that this vocabulary would result in the reduction of incidence of misunderstanding of persons in the solar photovoltaic industry and result in a common body of knowledge," the Chief Technical Officer said.

One standard which he believed would be especially welcomed by businesses and customers alike, however, was BNS ISO 10002 Guidelines for Complaints Handling in Organizations. Mr. Scott explained that "this standard proposes to significantly reduce the incidence of complaints handling by offering: a structure for dealing with complaints; forms and procedures that are useful for handling complaints effectively; and processes for follow-up and tracking of the handling of complaints by the customer."

Other recently approved standards are: BNS CRS 14: 2010 Requirements for Good Management Practices for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises; BNS ISO 10003: 2007 Quality Management – Customer Satisfaction – Guidelines for Dispute Resolution External to Organizations; BNS ISO 15189: 2007 Medical Laboratories – Particular Requirements for Quality and Competence; BNS ISO/IEC 17025: 2005 General Requirements for the Competence of Testing and Calibration Laboratories; BNS ISO 26000: 2010 Guidance on Social Responsibility; and BNS ISO 8124: Part 1: 2009 Safety of Toys – Part 1: Safety Aspects Related to Mechanical and Physical Properties.

Additional information on standards may be obtained by contacting the BNSI at 426-3870 or visiting the website, http://www.bnsi.bb/ .


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