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Tánaiste and Minister Breen highlight importance of standards for Irish businesses as NSAI publishes 2016 Annual Report

  • Key international business standards can be a significant source of confidence for Irish organisations in a post-Brexit world, according to Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald TD
  • Minister of State Pat Breen TD says Irish businesses should invest in standards in order to better compete on the international stage
  • NSAI’s 2016 Annual Report shows more than 1,000 organisations use NSAI management standards, which underpin trade and best practice across the EU
  • In the wake of the Brexit vote, one-in-four Irish organisations has upgraded to the latest versions of the world’s most popular business standards, ISO 9001 and ISO 14001
  • NSAI Chief Executive welcomes commitment by British Standards Institute (BSI) to stay within the single European Standards system 

The National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) has today published its 2016 Annual Report, which reveals that 1,012 organisations are certified by NSAI to key business management standards. Many of these carefully-designed standards are linked to European Directives, which create a level playing field for trade within the EU. Last year alone 201 new business excellence certificates were issued by NSAI to 113 organisations.

Commenting on the report the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise and Innovation said: “Irish businesses that use international standards will be best positioned to react, evolve and compete in a post Brexit world. The investment in standards is a crucial one for companies who wish to excel and compete on the international stage. As the Brexit negotiation process continues, Irish businesses could utilise the extra certainty provided by key standards, giving themselves a competitive edge at a time when new challenges and opportunities are arising.”

Commenting on the publication of NSAI’s Annual Report, Minister for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, Pat Breen said: “Observing the highest of standards is crucial for businesses in today’s fast-paced, competitive and highly-globalised marketplace. The role of NSAI in facilitating the development of standards and supporting businesses is an extremely important one. Through its standards development committees, NSAI gives entrepreneurs and technical experts the opportunity to have their say on the evolution of their sector, and to feed into international committees”.

As Brexit negotiations continue, NSAI’s Chief Executive Geraldine Larkin is warning that the reintroduction of technical barriers between Ireland and the UK could have a negative impact on trade and operating costs for some Irish SMEs. “Standards embody the best practice put together by technical experts to create a uniform engineering or technical criteria. They are international and many are mandatory, so we welcome the commitment by our counterparts in the BSI to stay within the existing standards framework,” said Ms Larkin.

“This means that those organisations who already certified by NSAI to key international business standards, like ISO 9001 Quality Management Systems and ISO 14001 for Environmental Management Systems, are better-positioned to take on the challenges of Brexit in the months and years ahead” she added.

According to the NSAI’s 2016 Annual Report, the ISO 9001 standard for Quality Management Systems was the most popular standard sold by NSAI in 2016. It is one of two major standards being updated by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the other being ISO 14001 for Environmental Management Systems.

Irish businesses are ahead of their European counterparts in moving to the latest versions of ISO 9001 and ISO 14001, with one-in-four organisations certified by NSAI already upgraded ahead of the September 2018 deadline. It follows on from NSAI’s 16 free information seminars, run nationwide last year and attended by 1,300 people.

The 2016 Annual Report shows that the NSAI standards catalogue has expanded to over 24,000 publications, with the addition of 1,391 carefully-designed guidelines and requirements last year, which help organisations innovate and compete on the global market.

The number of people choosing to help shape the standards of the future online also increased by 21%, with 2,134 people now registered to NSAI’s ‘Your Standards, Your Say’ online portal. While more than 1,000 people continued to participate in NSAI’s standards committees at home and abroad during 2016.

NSAI’s Annual Report reveals that its Legal Metrology Division inspected more than 14,200 instruments last year at 4,439 business locations across the country.

Over half (7,693) of all instruments inspected were petrol and diesel pumps in filling stations. 289 warnings were issued, with 15 requiring further investigation during follow-up checks. Of the 1,376 taximeters inspected for accuracy, 66 failed on first inspection with one requiring further investigation after a follow-up check.

Motor vehicle approvals granted during the past year rose 15 per cent to 8,232. NSAI issued 5,661 national and 2,571 European automotive approvals for vehicles, their components and systems in 2016, focusing on issues such as emissions, engine power, tyres and seat belts.

NSAI’s Medical Devices division also saw positive growth, adding 15 new customers in 2016 and issuing 52 new CE Product Certificates to companies.

For more information on the NSAI’s activities, visit our website, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter @NSAI_Standards 

NSAI Annual Report 2016 – Main Findings

  • NSAI published a total of 1,391 international, European and Irish standards in 2016 contributing to a library in excess of 24,000
  • 1,012 organisations are certified by NSAI to key international business standards
  • 201 new business excellence certificates were issued to 113 organisations using standards last year alone
  • 66 taximeters tested failed first inspection and were issued warnings
  • 202 weighing scales in shops tested by NSAI inspectors failed first inspection (out of 3,205)
  • 3% (289) of liquid fuel dispensers (petrol/diesel pumps) tested failed first inspection and were issued warnings
  • 8,232 motor vehicle approvals granted by NSAI to manufacturers
  • 526 construction related audits were conducted in areas such as external wall insulation systems, window energy ratings, product certifications, air tightness and cavity bead insulation

The full NSAI Annual Report 2016 can be viewed here:


NSAI Chief Executive, Geraldine Larkin is available for interview.

To arrange please contact:

NSAI Press Officer, Aidan Kelly: 087 212 8746



About NSAI:

NSAI was established under the National Standards Authority of Ireland Act 1996 and reports to the Minister for Enterprise and Innovation. The state agency responsible for standardisation, conformity assessment and measurement, NSAI aims to improve the performance of Irish business and protect consumers by developing standards, inspecting measuring instruments used in trade, and conducting audits and issuing certificates on the application of standards to goods, services and measurements. 

Why standards matter:

Standards and measurement touch every aspect of people’s lives. Our mobile phones, our washing machines, the cars we drive and the toys our children play with, are all made to specific ‘standards’ that help to ensure that they are easy to use, work properly and are as safe as possible.

Standards also give us the information that we need to make informed choices when buying products.

About ISO 9001 and ISO 14001:

ISO 9001 (Quality Management Systems) and ISO 14001 (Environment Management Systems) are currently used by almost 1.5 million companies worldwide. In 2015, both standards were updated by experts from over 180 countries, who are members of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), to continue to help organisations improve business processes, save money and deal with future environmental challenges. Organisations who are currently ISO 9001 and ISO 14001-certified have until September 2018 to upgrade to the new versions of the standards.

With more than 300,000 certificates issued globally every year, ISO 14001 ranks high on the agenda of many organisations, which place significant importance on their environmental impact. The Environment Management Systems standard helps organisations improve their environmental performance through more efficient use of resources and reduction of waste, gaining a competitive advantage and the trust of stakeholders. This standard sets out the requirements for a quality management system and helps organisations to be more efficient and improve customer satisfaction.

About Legal Metrology:

Nobody wants to pay more for their goods and services than necessary and no business wants to lose revenue. Many of our everyday purchases, including fuel, food, goods sold by weight and taxis depend on measurements. In Ireland, NSAI’s Legal Metrology Service ensures both traders and consumers can have confidence that these values are correct and that the quantities charged for are accurate. NSAI’s Legal Metrology inspectors do this by testing traders’ measuring instruments at the point of use in factories, forecourts, supermarkets, pharmacies, shops and taxis.