JIS News

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Reginald Budhan, says Jamaica needs to move more “aggressively” to implement international standards, if the country is to improve its efficiency and export earning potential.
Speaking at the Bureau of Standards Jamaica’s annual symposium at the Knutsford Court Hotel, New Kingston, Tuesday (Oct. 12), Mr. Budhan said that standards are critical to all companies and underpin accessibility to things such as markets, jobs and information.
“Standards serve, therefore, as a common language, defining quality and establishing safety criteria. Costs are also lower when procedures are standardized. Training is simplified and consumers accept products more readily when they can be judged on intrinsic merit,” he explained.
As a starting point he appealed to firms to implement management systems, consistent with ISO (International Standards Organisation) 9001 standards. Mr. Budhan said the Ministry has established a regime to certify companies to that standard as, while it is a voluntary standard, it could become a barrier to export.
“If a company is ISO 9001 compliant, it says certain things to the importer regarding the management conditions under which the product was manufactured. Therefore, management system will no longer be voluntary since our overseas importers are now making it a requirement,” he went on. He said the Ministry plans to lead in this area by becoming ISO self-declared, so that it can promote the ISO management system based on experience.
In keeping with this year’s theme for the symposium, ‘Standards make the World Accessible for All’, Mr. Budhan noted that standards regarding access to buildings was still a challenge to Jamaica, and other countries in the region. He said the new building code being worked on, would take the country closer to standards regarding all aspects of the design and construction of public spaces.
Also speaking at the function, Hermon Edmondson of the Jamaica Institution of Engineers informed that review of the code is currently taking place. He encouraged members of the disabled community to participate in the review process to ensure that their interests are properly served.
However, he was quick to point out that accessibility provisions in the building code were not just for the disabled. He said that accessibility allows “equal access to living spaces, employment opportunities and spaces” and that they ensure “the safe and comfortable use of sites, buildings and facilities by all”.
World Standards Day will be observed on October 14, under the same theme used at the symposium.
At least 650 million people, globally, are affected by at least one disability, and the issue of accessibility is increasingly becoming an issue. International standards give manufacturers and service providers the guidelines on how to design products accessible for all. These include safety consideration, ergonomics and harmonized test methods.

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