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Feb 3, 2014

Fabrigas gets internationally certified by the ISO

The Occupational Safety and Health Bill has gone through a first reading in the House and still has some way to go, including public consultations, before it is approved and becomes law. But this morning, Fabrigas had an early start and became internationally certified by the International Organization of Standardization for being compliant with health and safety standards for employees. Duane Moody found out that the company invested over a million dollars to meet requirements.

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Jose Trejo, Director, Belize Bureau of Standards

“ISO Certification or standardization for something like this is a voluntary system; it is not mandatory. But certainly, a bill like the OSH Bill would make certain obligations mandatory. So as it relates to health and safety, what is important to understand here is that in the case of the ISO standard that they have now gotten, there are certain elements within the standard that would meet health and safety requirements and would probably be interlinked with the OSH Bill. So it is, as I was mentioning to the company just a short while ago, they are ahead of the game.”

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

The Occupational Safety and Health Bill was tabled in the House of Representative two weeks ago and focuses on health and safety standards for employees while on the job. And Fabrigas Belize Limited has taken an early step in that direction. Back in October of last year, an independent audit was done by the International Organization of Standardization on Fabrigas Belize Limited to ensure that the one hundred and thirty plus guidelines for the certification were met. And now Fabrigas Belize Limited is one of the few companies in the country that is internationally certified. According to Quality Manager, Leo Smith, a million dollars was invested to bring the company up to internationally-recognized standard.

 

Leo Smith

Leo Smith, Quality Manager, Fabrigas Belize Ltd.

“They, as an independent external body, come and ensure that we are complying with the specific requires. For example, there is a requirement of clause 6.2.2 of the standard that states that all your employees must be trained competent personnel. So what they would do is come here and check that all our personnel have the necessary certificate, the necessary training for the post that they partake in. They set out standards for companies in the area of manufacturing, safety, environmental. And this particular standard states requirements for quality management system so all this does is that it shows that we are complying now with an international standard.”

 

ISO Central America Regional Office is located in Colombia and to hand over the certificate to Fabrigas Belize Limited was the General Manager from Guatemala, Aura Maldonado.

 

Aura Maldonado

Aura Maldonado, General Manager, International Certification

“It is to have the competence to international standard rules about ISO 9001; it is the first company we certificate outside Central America so I am here because an international certification is very important and for Fabrigas is relevant for this certification because there are not many companies in this country certified in this work.”

 

The certification focuses on a management system for quality of product, safety compliance for customers and technical personnel who operate around the gases on a daily basis. And according to Director of the Bureau of Standards, Jose Trejo, a certification like this has put Fabrigas Belize Limited ahead of the game.

 

Jose Trejo

Jose Trejo

“I think it is significant for a private entity to gain certification. It is not an easy task. It takes on average about eighteen months to gain certification; they’ve done it in little under two years. But the significance in terms of the delivery of services, it shows that the company is prepared to not only get the certification, but keep the certification. What’s important for us is to ensure that we as a government, the department becomes ISO certified. And I am very happy to say that we have begun this process. We’ve recently through a regional project in CARICOM have received some eleven thousand Euros to start our quality management system at the Bureau of Standards. Hopefully we can start the first quarter with our consultant in country.”

 

According to Trejo, the Bureau of Standards intends to work along with the private sector to see standards improve across the board. Duane Moody for News Five.

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