Kebs publishes new standards to enhance safety, quality of Kenyan products

Kenya Bureau of Standards Managing Director Bernard Njiraini during a breakfast meeting to celebrate the attainment and certification of the ISO 9001:2015 at the Sarova Panafric, Nairobi.

Photo credit: Diana Ngila | Nation Media Group

Online education, production of reusable sanitary towels, farming tools and medical respiration equipment are some of the items to be standardised by the Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) in the new measures.

This emerged during the standards forum held in Nairobi on Monday that brought together participants from different industries to the Kebs quarterly review of standards.
The standards, which take effect immediately, were developed and published between January and March. They target  food and agriculture, cosmetics, leather and textile among others.
Speaking during the forum, former President of the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO), Eddy Njoroge said standardisation is one of the surest ways of promoting industrial competitiveness which is crucial in enhancing a country’s economic well-being.
“The manufacture of products and services has proven to be an effective means of increased economic productivity, thus, the use of standards is very important,” he said.
"With the world changing rapidly in the fourth industrial revolution era, so must the standards change to meet the needs of the current digital generation," Mr Njoroge said.

Kebs Managing Director, Lt Col (Rtd.) Bernard Njiraini said that quality standards ensured good management practices and thus provided for consistent production and product quality.
“It is our belief that this platform will create a better understanding of standards and their importance to the country.  May this be a step of inculcating a culture of quality in Kenya,” Said Njiraini.
This quarter’s forum focused on six standards including the first ever code for practice for farm and industrial biogas systems.

However, biogas technology has not gained much traction in the country thus the lack of quality standards that can be used to ensure biogas systems perform as intended.
“Biogas systems are complex process engineering plants that place extensive demands on the right planning, design, construction, operation, and maintenance,” said Lt Col (Rtd.) Bernard Njiraini.

Reusable sanitary towels

The standardisation bureau also developed the second edition of the standards in producing reusable sanitary towels; majorly used by many Kenyan women and girls who cannot afford the sanitary towels.
This, Lt Col (Rtd) Njiriani said, left many girls to rely on unhygienic practices to handle their menstrual cycles necessitating the formulation of the standard, to guide the manufacture of safe and affordable reusable sanitary pads.

“Aspects of materials, design and performance, form a critical part of the standard in ensuring the production of safe, accessible and effective menstrual products locally,” he said.

With the Covid-19 pandemic increasing the adoption of online education, Kebs developed the first edition of the KS ISO 29994:2021 Kenya Standard — Education and learning services — Requirements for distance learning.
This standard, Mr Njiriani explained would provide fixed structures and communication protocols for distant-learning objectives.
New guidelines were also published to facilitate sustainable bamboo development with the standard specifying which bamboo should be used for construction purposes.
Kebs also approved the adoption of a standard on Greenhouse Gases, providing guidelines and requirements for greenhouse gas emissions management and climate change impact.
“Unsustainable exploitation of natural resources and environmental pollution causes depletion of resources, climate change and irreversible loss of biodiversity. This standard will contribute to the achievement of 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which are closely inter-linked to environmental sustainability,” Lt Col (Rtd.) Njiraini said.
Other notable standardisations included those giving specifications on farm tools such as hoes, shovels, machetes, as well as men’s and boys’ trousers and shorts, medical respirators and textile floor coverings.
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