The Bureau of Standards Jamaica is a statutory body established by The Standards Act of 1969 to promote and encourage standardization in relation to commodities, processes and practices. However, over the years, its role has expanded to include the provision of services in relation to conformity assessment (certification, inspection and testing, and calibration) and metrology. Its main activities include: facilitating the development of standards and other requirements to which particular commodities, services, practices and processes must comply; monitoring for compliance; conducting tests and calibrating instruments; certifying products and management systems; providing industrial training and promoting research and education in standardization.
The Bureau’s portfolio includes ensuring compliance with The Standards Act (1968), The Processed Food Act (1959) and the Weights and Measures Act (1976). Other aspects of our mandate are implemented under The Trade Act (1955), The Customs Act (1941), The Petroleum (Quality Control) Regulations (1990) and The CARICOM Regional Organization for Standards and Quality Act (2005).
The Bureau operates as an agency under the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce (MIIC) and is governed by a fourteen-member Standards Council. The Council is comprised of a Chairman, the Director of Standards (Executive Director) and twelve (12) stakeholder group representatives, appointed by the Minister Operationally, the Executive Director, along with a team of directors, manage the activities of the organization.
The Bureau is responsible for facilitating the timely development, promulgation, promotion and implementation of national and regional standards (and technical regulations) for goods, services, processes and practices. It facilitates standards development through the formation of technical committees comprising stakeholders such as manufacturers, consumers, regulators, and professionals to set standards for safety and health, quality and performance. National standards are developed to improve the quality of local products to satisfy the requirements of international markets.
Where feasible, Jamaican Standards are aligned with regional and international standards to facilitate greater market access for Jamaican manufactured goods and exports. The Bureau manages Jamaica’s participation in this process.
The Bureau offers product certification and is developing the capabilities to provide management systems certification. Product certification is the process of certifying that a certain product has passed performance and quality assurance tests or conforms to requirements stipulated in the relevant standards. Management systems certification refers to the issuing of written assurance (the certificate) by an independent external body that it has audited a management system and verified that it conforms to the requirements specified in the standard.
Inspection and Testing
The Bureau conducts inspections and investigations at establishments in the marketplace and at the ports of entry; and conducts related regulatory laboratory testing under its Standards Compliance/Import Monitoring Programme. Products found to be in breach of compulsory standards/technical regulations are subject to the following enforcement actions:
i. Withdrawal of products from sale;
ii. Rehabilitation of consignment or re-export or destruction of consignments.
The Bureau also inspects and tests measuring equipment (e.g. scales, storage tanks, dispensers at petrol stations, weigh bridges) for accuracy. Further, the Bureau offers commercial testing services to local industry and the Caribbean region, in areas such as engineering, textiles, paints, microbiology, chemicals, food, metallurgy, paper, and packaging.
The calibration services of the Bureau help users of the measuring instruments and standards to obtain the highest possible levels of measurement quality and to conform to quality system requirements. Through its state-of-the-art calibration equipment, stable laboratory environment and well-trained staff, the metrology laboratories offer calibration services with international traceability and extremely high levels of accuracy.
Metrology, which is the science of measurement, plays a key role in industry, international trade and in everyday life. Accurate and reliable measurements are critical in assuring product quality, and in supporting environmental, health and safety issues. The national measurement standards of a country provide the basis for its other conformity assessment activities like calibration services, trade metrology services, and conformance testing. The Bureau provides metrology services through a number of laboratories to various sectors including health, telecommunications, security, construction, food and beverage, and mining.
Training courses, seminars and workshops that are offered by the Bureau are designed around common needs of various groups within the private and public sectors. In-plant training packages are structured to suit the specific needs of manufacturers and processors. Individual training attachment is facilitated on request for technicians, specialists and administrators.