Quality assurance

Quality infrastructure is a system for ensuring products and services that are reliable and safe for consumers.

 

This involves accreditation, certification or conformity assessment procedure, metrology, standardisation and market surveillance and contributes to the free movement of goods by reducing any obstacles caused by possible technical trade barriers. The goods and service have to comply with all the mandatory requirements.

If they meet all the established requirements, it makes it easier for Estonian goods and services to enter all the internal and foreign markets, thereby representing an important component in ensuring the competitiveness of Estonian entrepreneurs.

Quality assurance

Market surveillance

State level market surveillance will help to avoid or diminish threats that the products or services may pose for the health and property of people and the environment.

Market surveillance is used to protect the interests of consumers and employees and producers, distributors/marketers and providers of services against unfair competition.

Authorities and inspectorates will adopt measures that will give products access to the market and ensure that these will only be put into service when built, installed and maintained according to the requirements, and not pose a threat to the health and property of people and the environment when used for their intended purposes.

The methods for providing services and the products used for that purpose must not pose a threat for human health or contain inaccurate, misleading or insufficient information given about the service.

The grounds for the organisation of market surveillance are laid down with the Product Conformity Attestation Act.

The Tax and Customs Board also plays an important role for the purposes of market surveillance; supervisory institutions can, in co-operation with the Board, prevent the placing of non-conforming products into the internal market of the European Union.

Conformity assessment procedure

The conformity assessment procedure will involve the attestation of the product’s or quality system’s conformity with the established requirements.

Standard conformity assessment procedures include:

  • Sampling, testing and inspection
  • Assessment, attestation and confirmation of conformity (certification)
  • Accreditation and approval

Conformity assessment is carried out, for example, by testing laboratories and certification and inspection authorities.

Conformity assessment procedure may be both mandatory and voluntary. The requirement for mandatory conformity assessment may be laid down with internal legislation or the requirements specified in the relevant directives of the European Union.

A committee working at the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications must grant the right for mandatory conformity assessment. The authority concerned will then be entered into the register of economic activities and NANDO database; all the European Union member states must acknowledge the conformity assessment conducted by the authorities that are registered in the database.

CE conformity marking – a key to the European market

CE conformity marking shows that the product concerned complies with all the requirements laid down with the directives of the European Union.

Products will be marked with the CE conformity marking before being placed to the market and the marking will only be required of products that have been listed in specific EU directives that regulate the use of CE conformity marking.

Products will be marked with the CE conformity marking by the producer; the product must meet the requirements specified in the directive concerned and pass all the conformity assessment procedures before being marked.

Metrology

 

Metrology is the science of measuring, methods and tools for ensuring uniform measuring and the methods for achieving the required accuracy.

Metrology is developed under the co-ordination of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications through the organisations, which belong are categorised as measuring services. It includes the central metrology authority, state and reference standard instrument laboratories, legal metrology and accreditation authorities, accredited calibration, experimental and verification laboratories.

The functions of the metrology authority and state and reference standard instrument laboratory are fulfilled by AS Metrosert within the framework of an administration agreement, which also represents Estonia at the European Association of National Metrology Institutes.

  • State and reference standard instrument laboratory is responsible for the maintenance and development of five measuring standards: weight, length, temperature, voltage, electric resistance.
  • The functions of the reference standard instrument laboratory are fulfilled by University of Tartu, which maintains and develops the air speed movement and relative air humidity standards.

Estonia is an associated member of the General Conference on Weights and Measures (Conférence Générale des Poids et MesuresCGPM) to achieve international acknowledgement of its metrology system. Estonian central metrology authority also has, within the framework of the Metre Convention, and in the name of the Republic of the Estonia, enrolled with the Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) of the Certificate in Investment Performance Measurement (CIPM), which helps to demonstrate the credibility and internationally uniform nature of the standard measuring results.

Legal metrology deals with measurements, measuring units, measuring instruments and methods from legal perspective.

Legal metrology deals with measuring, which is conducted in the interests of public interest, public health, public safety and order, environment protection, taxation, consumer protection and fair trade.

In Estonia, the sphere of metrology is regulated by the Metrology Act; state surveillance is conducted by the Technical Surveillance Authority and, for the purposes of trade, also by the Consumer Protection Authority.

The Technical Surveillance Authority represents Estonia in European and international legal metrology organisations and authorities, WELMEC (European Cooperation in Legal Metrology) and OIML (International Organization of Legal Metrology).

Accreditation

Accreditation is used to give an institution or individual official recognition to show that it has the competence to fulfil the specified functions.

Accreditation will serve to verify that the competence of authorities that offer conformity assessment services matches the internationally accepted level.

In Estonia, accreditation is an area administrated by the Estonian Accreditation Centre (EAC). The Estonian Accreditation Centre, since June 2000, has been a full member of the co-operation organisation of accreditation authorities of Europe EA (European Co-operation for Accreditation). The Estonian Accreditation Centre has also joined the mutual recognition agreement between the members of this organisation.

The Accreditation Council was established to advise the Estonian Accreditation Centre; the council consists of the representatives of governmental authorities, entrepreneurs, employers, universities and consumers interested in conformity assessment and accreditation efforts.

Six technical accreditation committees are also operable:

  • Committee for Chemical Analyses
  • Committee for Technical Testing
  • Metrology Committee
  • Certification Committee
  • Inspection Committee
  • Committee for Medical Laboratories

Standardisation

A standard is a document that provides requirements, technical specifications, guidelines or characteristics to a process or its outcome that can be used consistently and on a voluntary basis.

Standardisation will contribute to improved compliance of products, processes and services with the established goals, avoidance of barriers to trade and improved technical co-operation.

The Estonian standardisation organisation is the NGO Estonian Centre for Standardisation (EVS), which fulfils the following main tasks:

  • Organisation of standardisation in Estonia
  • Issue of standards
  • Participation in the work of international and European standardisation organisations

 

Last updated: 2 June 2014