World Metrology Day 2017

2017-May-20

World Metrology Day, May 20th, is an annual event during which countries the world over celebrate the impact of measurement on our daily lives. This date was chosen in recognition of the signing of the Metre Convention on May 20th,1875, which marked the beginning of formal international collaborations in metrology – in layman’s terms the science of measurement. This treaty provides the basis for a coherent measurement system worldwide that underpins scientific discovery and innovation, industrial manufacturing and international trade, as well as the improvement of the quality of life and the protection of the global environment.

Each year World Metrology Day is organized and celebrated jointly by the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM) and the International Organization of Legal Metrology (OIML) with the participation of the national institutions responsible for metrology – in Antigua and Barbuda the national organization responsible for Metrology is the Antigua and Barbuda Bureau of Standards.

The theme for World Metrology Day 2017 is “Measurements for Transport”. This theme was chosen because transport plays such a key role in the modern world. We not only move ourselves, but also the food we eat, the clothes we wear, the goods we use and rely on, and not forgetting of course the raw materials they are made from. Doing so safely, efficiently and with minimal environmental impact requires an astonishing range of measurements. Businesses and citizens around the world depend on access to safe and reliable transport. It is one of the factors that is most important in enabling a successful and modern society.

Every type of transport, from bicycles to container ships, from cars to space craft are required to meet appropriate standards. These standards are needed as the basis for national and international regulation. They can specify requirements for every aspect of performance from safety and economy, through to emissions. The implementation of standards depends on measurement technology and measurement standards; some of the most demanding that are underpinned by the work of national metrology institutes and include:

  • accurate and rapid weighing of shipping containers to ensure the safe loading of container ships; and
  • valid measurements of the chemical composition of vehicle emissions to support regulations and regulators and city authorities in controlling pollution levels.

As the demands for efficient transport increase, demands for measurements and standards to underpin them will also increase.

Legal metrology is very much a part of our everyday lives. In many ways transport also plays a significant role in the lives of every one of us, every day:

  • water, gas, and electricity must be transported from their source to their point of use, such as our homes or businesses;
  • petrol and diesel must also be transported from their source through the refinery to the storage tanks and finally to our automobiles and trucks;
  • much of the produce, vegetables, meat and other staples we need to be transported from their source to the local market, through to the table.

Legal metrology is the branch of metrology that deals with laws and regulations relating to units of measurement, measuring devices and measurement methods. It helps provide support and protection to areas such as public safety, health, the environment and trade. Measurements are so much a part of our daily lives that we often take them for granted and possibly don’t even notice them. Examples of this:

  • we monitor the speed at which we drive to ensure we travel at safe rates and thus reduce road casualties,
  • we undergo medical checks to make sure we remain healthy,
  • we use time to be punctual for appointments, and for satellite positioning systems to pinpoint our location,
  • we consume electricity, gas and water which are billed based on measurements,
  • we buy meat, fish, poultry and fresh fruit and vegetables by weight,
  • we fill our cars with fuel by volume,

and it goes on and on – the value and use of metrology.

Legislation on measurements and measuring instruments is required in all these cases, as well as when there is a need to protect both the buyer and the seller in a commercial transaction, or where measurements are used to apply a sanction. Virtually all countries provide such protection by including metrology in their legislation – hence the term "legal metrology".

Our own National Metrology Act was proclaimed in December 2016 and came into force on the 3rd day of April 2017. The Act makes new provisions for weights and measures and repeals the Weights and Measures Act Cap 335. Part IV of the new Act states that all weighing and measuring equipment for use in trade shall be subject to pattern approval, initial verification, in-service verification and verification after repair or modification.

In this regard and pre-empting the proclamation of the Act, the Antigua and Barbuda Bureau of Standards (ABBS) began working with the petrol providers, WIOC and RUBIS, to develop a programme for the verification of all fuel pumps across the nation. Experts were brought in from the Bureau of Standards Jamaica and personnel from WIOC, RUBIS, APUA, Transport Board and the ABBS were trained in the theory and practice of verification of fuel pumps. The basic tenet of a verification programme is the use of calibrated measuring equipment. Over the past few weeks the Bureau has contracted the Trinidad and Tobago Bureau of Standards to calibrate its volumetric provers which will be used for the verification of the fuel pumps. The Bureau of Standards expects that this service will be fully operational by the end of June of this year (2017).

Similarly programmes for the verification of other weighing and


Notes for Reader:

About the BIPM

The signing of the Metre Convention in 1875 created the BIPM and for the first time formalized international cooperation in metrology. The Convention established the International Bureau of Weights and Measures and laid the foundations for worldwide uniformity of measurement in all aspects of our endeavors, historically focusing on and assisting industry and trade, but today just as vital as we tackle the grand challenges of the 21st Century such as climate change, health, and energy. The BIPM undertakes scientific work at the highest level on a selected set of physical and chemical quantities. The BIPM is the hub of a worldwide network of national metrology institutes (NMIs) which continue to realize and disseminate the chain of traceability to the SI into national accredited laboratories and industry.

About the OIML

In 1955 the International Organization of Legal Metrology (OIML) was established as an Intergovernmental Treaty Organization in order to promote the global harmonization of legal metrology procedures with the Bureau International de Métrologie Légale (BIML) as the Secretariat and Headquarters of the OIML. Since that time, the OIML has developed a worldwide technical structure whose primary aim is to harmonize the regulations and metrological controls applied by the national metrological services, or related organizations.

 

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  1. Standards Act
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  3. Antigua and Barbuda Standards Regulations, 1998