In accepting the new equipment, Gittens said the Bureau is very appreciative of the support given to it by the OECS Commission. He said it would go a long way in enhancing the capability of the Metrology Unit. Metrology is the Science of Measurements. Gittens disclosed that the Saint Lucia Bureau of Standards is implementing a programme for Legal Metrology (Weights and Measures) as well as Industrial Metrology. He described the new equipment as “essential items that we did not have.”
Gittens explained that the Pressure Gauge will be used for the calibration of pressure gauges used on medical equipment. He revealed: “When we did a survey, we recognized that there are pressure gauges on Oxygen Cylinders at our hospitals, but there is no systematic programme to determine whether the pressure readings on these gauges are accurate.”
Gittens says the new Pressure Gauge donated by the OECS, along with some additional accessories, will enable the Bureau to calibrate the gauges on Oxygen Cylinders, not just for our hospitals and medical institutions, but also in Scuba Diving equipment, used daily by dive centres across the island in dive expeditions. The Pressure Gauge will also be used to calibrate gauges at plants which sell industrial gases.
The OECS Commission also donated an Electrical Energy Meter to calibrate domestic consumption of electricity. The device can be connected to a customer’s premises to monitor and compare the power company’s meter to this standard meter, to determine whether the readings are accurate. According to Gittens, over the years, the Bureau of Standards has received numerous complaints about the accuracy of electricity meters. The Saint Lucia Bureau of Standards also undertakes testing of electrical appliances.
As part of the package of equipment from the OECS, the Saint Lucia Bureau of Standards will also receive new equipment to measure Time and Frequency. Gittens explained: “The Bureau has a very accurate Time and Frequency Standard. We’re part of Inter-American Metrology System (SIM). The intention is that we should be able to disseminate time nationally. The idea is that all computers in St. Lucia, will be synchronized with the Time Standard held by the Bureau of Standards.
The final piece of equipment is a Laptop computer. According to Gittens, calibrations in the field are recorded on paper and then transferred to a computer at the Office of the Bureau. He says this opens up the possibility of human error. He explained: “We hope to make the process of calibration and verification more efficient by entering the data in the software on the Laptop in the field.”
The new equipment for the Saint Lucia Bureau of Standards was purchased under the 10th EDF Regional Integration and Trade of the OECS Region Project. It was part of a consignment of new equipment for Agriculture Health and Food Safety (AHFS) testing Laboratories and Pest Risk Analysis Units across the OECS, valued at XCD $309,416.