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Issue 2 - November 2013


Welcome to the second issue of our bi-monthly newsletter ‘The Measure’.

This issue sees the launch of our team’s new name, visual identity and new website:

We are now called Trading Standards but it is still business as usual and our functions and people remain the same, although some of us have new titles. We remain an operational unit within the Consumer Protection and Standards branch of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. 

This name chance and new identity are important first steps towards our long term goal of improving business compliance and consumer protection by increasing our marketplace presence and profile.

We recognise that your work as Accredited Persons is critical to this goal and I would encourage you to review this newsletter and the information it contains. 

Please forward this email newsletter onto all AP’s or other interested parties within your organisation.

Previous issues can be obtained from: Trading Standards Newsletters

Stephen O’Brien
Manager Trading Standards

A new summer brings a new name – Trading Standards

[image] Logos

On Monday 18 November 2013, the Measurement and Product Safety Service (MAPSS) changed its name to Trading Standards (TS).

The name Trading Standards better describes our role as one of New Zealand’s leading regulators responsible for consumer protection and making sure the business trading environment is free from unsafe and non-compliant products. Trading Standards is a name that is easily recognised and understood by consumers and businesses and it will help align us with our international colleagues and stakeholders. 

As part of this launch we have produced an information booklet which introduces Trading Standards and the important work we do.  It is available online at Trading Standards or contact your Client Manager and we will send you printed copies.

Implications for Accredited Companies
The change in name does not change your current accreditation scope or conditions, or the legal status of your current ‘Letter of Accreditation. Your ‘Letter of Accreditation’ will be updated with the new details of Trading Standards at your next scheduled renewal or when it is next amended.

Please update all references to the Measurement and Product Safety Service (MAPSS) and the Ministry of Consumer Affairs when completing your next quality manual review.

Previous references
The State Sector Act 1988 allows for all references to the Ministry of Consumer Affairs within the Weights and Measures Act 1987 and Regulations 1999 to be read as Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

Trading Standards  are also currently in the process of identifying all of the  outdated references within our  business facing material and publications.  This will be a slow process that will be completed over time and as resources become available.

Improving access to type approval certificates

A link to the full set of approval certificates is now available on the website as a download. Downloading this file will allow you constant uninterrupted access to the approval documents, as the files will be saved directly on your computer.

The file also includes an index document that details the approved instruments listed from Certificate number 1450 onwards. 

The full set of approval certificates can be downloaded by visiting “Approved Weighing and Measuring Equipment

The  file will be updated every 4 months to include newly issued certificates and variants. A reminder notice to download the latest file will be included in future editions of this newsletter.  If you take advantage of this service it will be your responsibility to ensure that you download the updated files when they are released every 4 months. 

Please note that the current approvals online search facility has been temporarily removed. We are currently working to improve the way the database operates and have temporarily removed the search facility while we do this. If you need to view certificates, you can download the full set as explained above or contact Srinivas Bobbala, Advisor Type Approvals Technical (see his contact details below).

Reducing non-compliances found in W&M instruments

Information obtained from Trading Standards Officers (TSOs) while completing proactive inspections of weighing and measuring instruments from July 2012 to June 2013 has revealed that only 4% of instruments tested by TSO’s were outside legal Maximum Permissible Error (MPE) tolerances. Trading Standards considers this as positive and understands that instruments will naturally move outside tolerance due to wear and tear. Analysis of the information also revealed a number of minor technical non-compliances in 6% of measuring instruments and 10% of weighing instruments.

The non-compliances discovered have been graphed below for weighing and measuring instruments and illustrates the issues causing the non–compliances. As can be seen, the most common non-compliances detected during proactive testing were incorrect or missing legends and missing ‘Mark of Verifications’. This has prompted Trading Standards to commence development workshops for all Accredited Persons, which will highlight and address this area of non-compliance.

Another initiative to address minor technical non-compliances is to introduce an ‘Incident Report’ into the accreditation scheme.  Currently the only method within the scheme for TSOs to bring non-compliances to the attention of an accredited company is to issue a 'Corrective Action', which requires the Management Representative to investigate the cause and put forward solutions to reduce the chances of future occurrences. The ‘Incident Report’ is to be used for notifying the Accredited Person and the Management Representative that TSO has discovered a minor non-compliance, such as a missing legend, and that the non-compliance is to be rectified as soon as reasonably practicable.  

Trading Standards is to be notified when the non-compliance has been rectified. Trading Standards will also monitor ‘Incident Reports’ for trends in non-compliance.

Accredited Persons development workshops

TSOs have completed a number of successful development workshops. These have been attended by Accredited Persons, Management Representatives and sales staff. It is the intention for TSOs to visit all accredited companies this year and deliver development workshop. These will include, labelling and identification of weighing and measuring instruments, identifying when an instrument is in use for trade, Accredited Persons duties and responsibilities and the issuing of Notices of Non-Compliance.

Trading Standards expects that development workshops will reduce a significant proportion of the non-compliances identified.

Watch out, there is a new Inspectors about!

We would like to take this opportunity to welcome and introduce a new qualified officer who has recently joined Trading Standards.  Phil Sorrell, a former Weights and Measures Inspector from the UK, has become the newest recruit to join Trading Standards. Phil will be based in the Wellington office to boost the coverage of the lower North Island.

Phil has been involved with regulatory enforcement for the past 14 years and is keen to get out into the field and learn the ‘kiwi way’.  If you see him out and about don’t hesitate to say hi.

In this picture, Phil is standing next to the Webb Ellis Cup, he was advised to enjoy the moment as this is the closest an Englishman will ever get to it!!!!

A standard year!

Modifications to the standards testing laboratories caused significant disruption to the testing schedule for the re-verification of mass, volume and length standards in 2012-2013. The delay in the Auckland Laboratory becoming fully operational caused a significant annual spike in our laboratory workload  which can be seen in the graph above. This has resulted in a high number of standards coming due January 2014.

Trading Standards requests that where possible, for those Accredited Persons that have standards due for re-verification in January, if they could submit them for testing in the month of December.

The benefits for doing this would be a reduced waiting time for a test date and a quicker turnaround service.

To arrange for your standards to be submitted for testing, please contact your Trading Standards Client Manager at least 2 weeks prior to your preferred test date; this will allow laboratory personnel to ensure the relevant calibration room is available.

NB: Last year a total of 5685 standards were tested and 281 verification reports issued.

Trading Standards laboratories complete IANZ yearly assessment

[image] IANZ logo.

The yearly audit by IANZ (International Accreditation of New Zealand) was successfully completed during the first week in November.  Maintaining our accreditation not only ensures the integrity and reliability of our calibration procedures and results, but also confirms the technical competence of our laboratory personnel. Accreditation is an assurance that we are capable of producing accurate results that are traceable and reproducible. This assurance is communicated to our clients by incorporating the IANZ symbol on our laboratory reports.

Calling all length measures!

The testing facility for measures of length greater than 1 metre has been moved to new premises in Northland. TSOs can only test measures of length at pre-organised dates with the testing facility during April and October. Please contact your Client Manager to arrange for verification of your measures. 

We are aware that some standards may need to be tested earlier than the expiry date of their current verification report to ensure continuous verification and that they can be used as reference standards.  As a result Trading Standards will apply a pro-rata discount to the verification cost in these cases.

The latest approvals for your information

Approvals issued since the September issue of ‘The Measure’.

This month’s Questions and Answers

Q. Do I have to stamp the instrument with my AP mark (verification mark) if I put a certificate of accuracy on it?

A. The correct answer depends on the specific situation you encounter:

  1. No, not if the instrument already has a verification mark on a lead seal, stamping plug or approved verification label with an AP number.
  2. Yes. If an instrument has been tested and complies with all of its legal requirements and does not have a verification mark on a lead seal, stamping plug or approved verification label.  Also if any adjustment has been carried out that affects the metrological characteristics of the instrument. Verification tolerances must be used. 

Q. Am I only required to mark an instrument with one approval number?

A. It depends whether it is a complete instrument or of modular construction.

i. Complete Instrument: 

Where an instrument is tested and approved as a complete instrument, then the New Zealand Certificate of Approval Number for that instrument must be affixed to the instrument along with the other metrological markings detailed as per the approval certificate. 

ii. Modular Construction:

Where an instrument is made up of different modules, and is tested and approved then all the modular parts must have the relevant New Zealand Certificate of Approval Number affixed to it along with the other metrological markings detailed as per the approval certificate. 

Example:  In the case of a weighbridge connected to an indicator (independently approved), the weighbridge base work must be marked with its approval number and the indicator must be marked with its approval number along with the base approval number.

Trading Standards Trade Measurement contacts

Auckland:      PO Box 19 543, Auckland 1746

Trading Standards officers:
Agatha Cordeiro        09 970 4359 or  021 482 712
Alex Day                  09 970 4354 or  021 245 7262

Trainee Trading Standards Officer:
David Antunovich      09 970 4358 or  021 244 9194

Advisor Type Approvals and Technical:
Srinivas Bobbala       09 970 4352 or  021 582 055

Christchurch:    Private Bag 4714, Christchurch

Trading Standards officers:
Julian Crane             03 962 6216 or  021 349 866
Ben Aitken               03 962 6218 or  021 445 857

National Operational Team Leader:
Bob Jones                03 962 6214 or  021 451 542  

Wellington:       PO Box 10729, Wellington 6011

Trading Standards officers:
Drew Delany             04 901 1281 or 029 771 0085
Phil Sorrell               04 901 2420 or 0218399487

Acting Legal Metrology Advisor:
Kevin Gudmundsson 04 939 8429 or  021 244 7313

Trading Standards Manager:
Stephen O'Brien       04 460 1367 or  021 221 4830

Administrative Support:
Isabel Bennett           04 498 7447