Page 4: Quality products
A quality product is one that meets the requirements of its user. For example, a motorcyclist would want to purchase a helmet that had met tough road safety tests.
BSI is an independent, non-governmental organisation that offers product testing and certification services as part of its business. BSI works with many different types of organisations, including commercial and private companies, government bodies and trade associations. It helps these organisations produce safe and quality products that meet the safety and quality requirements of the countries in which they are to be sold.
Countries around the world have different requirements that products and services have to meet in order for them to be legally sold or delivered. This means that BSI offers access to these markets for their customers.
For example, in the motor vehicle industry, certificates are required by European bodies for a variety of components for new road vehicles. BSI helps UK motor manufacturers by testing and certifying that their products meet the required standards. Some of the products that BSI tests for the UK motor industry include vehicle lighting, vehicle glass, motor cycle helmets and electronic equipment.
BSI is also the owner and operator of the well-known Kitemark®. This is an independent and highly recognised symbol of trust and safety in the UK and some countries around the world.
BSI runs a number of Kitemark® schemes for various products and services as wide-ranging as lighting, fire extinguishers, 13 Amp plugs and motor cycle helmets. The Kitemark® schemes are voluntary, so it is the manufacturer or service provider's choice to go through the assessment process to gain the Kitemark®. This clearly demonstrates that the manufacturer or service provider is committed to delivering a safe and quality product that meets the standards set.
A Kitemark® means BSI has independently tested the product and that it conforms to or exceeds the criteria of the relevant British Standard. BSI issues a BSI Kitemark® license to the company to use the Kitemark®. The manufacturer pays for this service. This is only the start of the Kitemark® process. The product is tested and the manufacturing process is assessed at regular intervals following the issue of the license.
The Kitemark® is the symbol that gives consumers the assurance that the product conforms to the appropriate British, European or International Standard. It should therefore be safe and reliable. Manufacturers do not by law have to display a Kitemark® on their products, but many do because it encourages consumers to buy and demonstrates the company's commitment to producing safe quality products.
Many products, such as new toys, must meet legal requirements before they can be sold within the European Community. These must carry CE marking. CE marking on a product is a manufacturer's claim that it meets all the requirements of the European legislation.
Some products carry both a Kitemark® and CE marking but the two symbols indicate different degrees of certification.