By Joanette Eises
ON 20 May, Namibia joined the international community in commemorating World Metrology Day.
This day signifies the anniversary of the signing of the Metre Convention in 1875. This treaty provides the basis for a coherent measurement system worldwide.
Namibia, through the Namibian Standards Institution (NSI), participates in the activities of the Meter Convention through its associate membership of the General Conference of Weights and Measures (CGPM), having signed the International Committee of Weights and Measures Mutual Recognition Arrangement (CIPM MRA) in October 2012.
Namibia is also a corresponding member of the International Organisation on Legal Metrology (OIML), with effect from 2012. The theme chosen for 2017 is ‘Measurements for transport’. This theme was chosen because transport plays such a key role in the modern world. Businesses and citizens around the world depend on access to safe and reliable transport. It is one of the factors that are most important, in enabling a successful modern society. Whilst the need for new and improved means of transport is clear, it is also important that they meet increasing requirements for economy and environmental performance. Every type of transport, from bicycles to container ships, from cars to space craft, are required to meet appropriate standards.
Standards are needed as the basis for national and international regulation. They can specify requirements for every aspect of performance from safety and economy, 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 (NMIs) 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 regulators and city authorities in controlling pollution levels.
The NSI, as the National Metrology Institute (NMI) in Namibia plays an important role in ensuring that credible measurements standards are in place to service the transport industry. The NSI does so through the maintenance of measurement standards and the administration of the Trade Metrology Act as amended. In the transport sector, the NSI regulates measurements of quantities of products such as fuel, oils and measuring instruments used in the fuel industry.
The NSI regulates all measuring instruments used in the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Container Weight Verification regulation. This regulation, implemented by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), requires that shipping containers are weighed accurately and on time to ensure the safe loading of container ships.
Safety is often taken for granted, whether it be at home, at work or when travelling. When, for example, we eat food, drink water from a tap, switch on an electrical appliance, drive a car or take a plane, our safety depends on the enforcement of safety laws and regulations, which have been drawn up and put into place by authorities and regulatory bodies.
The NSI plays a critical role in the area of road safety through ensuring the accuracy and compliance of measuring instruments used in law enforcement, which include speed measuring devices (speed cameras) and the evidential breath analysers.
As the demands for accessible, efficient and safe transport increase, so will the demands for the measurements standards. Some of these demands will ultimately be met by new technologies such as driverless cars and zero-emission vehicles, which in turn will generate new measurement challenges
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015