Metrology for Safety
World Metrology Day has now become an established annual event during which more than 80 countries celebrate the impact of measurement on our daily lives, no part of which is untouched by this essential (but largely hidden) aspect of modern society.
This day was chosen in recognition of the signing of the Metre Convention in 1875, the beginning of formal international collaboration in metrology. Each year World Metrology Day is organized and celebrated jointly by the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM) and the International Organization of Legal Metrology (OIML).
The international community which ensures that measurements can be made correctly across the world endeavors to raise awareness each World Metrology Day (20 May) through a poster campaign and web site. Previous themes have included topics such as measurements for innovation, and measurements in sport, the environment, medicine and trade.
This year the chosen theme is Metrology for safety, reflecting the importance of correct measurements to ensure our safety whether at work or in our leisure activities. Just like “metrology”, the term “safety” covers a very wide area of topics but many people are unaware of the vital role the worldwide metrology community plays.
Our safety is crucially dependent on good metrology, for example helping ensure the reliability of the planes we fly in, the impact resistance of the cars we drive, or the correct values of the radiation dose used in therapy we might one day need.
National and regional metrological regulations based on internationally agreed technical requirements help avoid or eliminate technical barriers to trade, ensure fair trade practice, care for the environment, maintain a satisfactory healthcare system, and (last but not least) ensure our safety – a concern for all of us. Some examples where OIML International Recommendations are adopted as a basis of national legislation are tire pressure gauges, speedometers, radar equipment for the measurement of the speed of vehicles, evidential breath analyzers and automatic instruments for weighing road vehicles.
Our safety depends on the metrology community doing its job, and doing it well. Indeed accurate, reliable and internationally accepted measurements are essential in the modern world as we deal with today’s grand challenges. So join us in celebrating World Metrology Day, and recognize the contribution of the intergovernmental and national organizations that work throughout the year on behalf of all the players involved in metrology for safety.
Further information, including a message from the Directors,
posters, and a list of events, is available at
Note to Editors:
About the BIPM
The signing of the Metre Convention in 1875 created the BIPM and for the first time formalized international cooperation in metrology. The Metre Convention is one of the oldest and most enduring intergovernmental treaties and remains as relevant today as it did 137 years ago. The Convention established the International Bureau of Weights and Measures and laid the foundations for worldwide uniformity of measurement in all aspects of our endeavors, historically focusing on and assisting industry and trade, but today just as vital as we tackle the grand challenges of the 21st Century such as climate change, health, and energy. The BIPM undertakes scientific work at the highest level on a selected set of physical and chemical quantities. The BIPM is the hub of a worldwide network of national metrology institutes (NMIs) which continue to realize and disseminate the chain of traceability to the SI into national accredited laboratories and industry.
About the OIML
In 1955 the International Organization of Legal Metrology (OIML) was established as an Intergovernmental Treaty Organization in order to promote the global harmonization of legal metrology procedures with the Bureau International de Métrologie Légale (BIML) as the Secretariat and Headquarters of the OIML. Since that time, the OIML has developed a worldwide technical structure that provides its Members with metrological guidelines for the elaboration of national and regional requirements concerning the manufacture and use of measuring instruments for legal applications.