SBS head’s World Metrology Day message-‘Good measurement relies on integrity of equipment used’


Mrs QuatreThe statement is contained in the following message, which she has issued on the occasion of the World Metrology Day which falls today:

“Today, Monday May 20 2013, Seychelles joins the rest of the world to celebrate the World Metrology Day. May 20 is World Metrology Day commemorating the anniversary of the signing of the Meter Convention in 1875. This treaty provides the basis for a coherent measurement system worldwide. Metrology is the science of measurement.

“The theme chosen for 2013 is Measurements in daily life. In the course of a typical day it is surprising how often measurements come into play. Pause for a moment and think of a typical day, yesterday perhaps. How many times did you do something that required measurement? You would surely not normally ask yourself that question, but reflect for a moment. Did you look at your watch (you measured time), buy food or produce (you measured mass), fill your car with petrol (you measured volume), or have your pressure taken (the pressure was measured)?
“These and countless other activities in our daily lives involve some sort of measurement; we are so used to this that we take measurements for granted.

“There are many aspects to the use of these measurements. We take decisions based on their results just as simply as pushing the brake pedal in a car when the speed is over the limit, or cutting down on sweet food if our blood sugar level is too high. The price of much of what we buy is calculated from measurements – electricity, water, food, fuel, to name but a few.

“When you are ill, it is important that you receive the correct dose of a medicine. Small changes in your temperature can indicate a serious illness, so accurate temperature measurement can improve medical treatment and save lives.

“Good measurement relies on the integrity of the measuring equipment used. No matter how sophisticated measuring equipment is it degrades with time and this affects the reliability of the measurement. Therefore it is important that equipments are calibrated at regular intervals. Calibration is simply the comparison of the measuring instrument’s or equipment’s performance to a reference standard of known accuracy to determine the errors and adjustment required.

“You may well be surprised at just how important accurate measurements are in your daily life. Sometimes we do consciously think about it, but mostly measurements form such an integral part of our lives that we rely on them without even noticing. However, with the role modern technologies now play the accuracy and reliability of these measurements require continuous improvement. But possibly only those of us who are involved in measurement are aware of how our modern high-tech world relies on the international system which in turn ensures that we are able to reliably make the measurements we need.

“Not surprisingly, most people are unaware that in the background there is a worldwide community specialising in metrology the science of measurements, making sure it all works. Everybody depends on this community doing its job and doing it well.

“Across the world national metrology institutes continually advance measurement science by developing and validating new measurement techniques at whatever level of sophistication is needed.

“They also participate in comparisons coordinated by the Bureau International des Poids et Mesures (BIPM) to ensure the reliability of measurement results worldwide. It is the BIPM’s job to provide the world with a single system of measurement which is traceable to the International System of Units. Imagine travelling to another country where not only do you have to adjust your watch to the local time, but you also have to allow for the passing of time itself (seconds, minutes, hours) being measured differently. The world could not function if it was unsynchronised like this.

“Many measuring instruments are controlled by law or are subject to regulatory control, for example the scales used to weigh goods in a shop, instruments to measure environmental pollution, or metres used to bill energy. The International Organisation for Legal Metrology (OIML) develops International Recommendations, the aim of which is to align and harmonise requirements for these types of instruments worldwide. OIML ensures that countries are trading fairly by setting up various mechanisms to make sure that everyone recognises and agrees to accept everyone else’s measurements.

“In Seychelles the national standards body – the Seychelles Bureau of Standards (SBS) – has the mandate to provide for integrity of measurements used as a basis for trade, law enforcement, health safety and environmental control to ensure an equitable situation regarding suppliers and consumers and for the establishment of national measurement standards. The National Metrology Laboratory (NML) is the custodian of the Seychelles Reference Standards for mass, length, temperature, volume and pressure which are traceable to higher national standards. The NML provides calibration services to industries and institutions such as pressure gauges, thermometers, balances, weights, volumetric measures (containers, pipettes and micropipettes) length meters, etc.

“The Legal Metrology Section within the SBS maintains facilities and provides inspection and verification services for weighing and measuring instruments used in trade and commerce in Seychelles to ensure compliance to the requirements of the Weights and Measures Act and its Regulations so as to ensure fair trading practices.

“World Metrology Day recognises and celebrates the contribution of all the people who work in intergovernmental and national organisations throughout the year on behalf of all.”

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