Barbara Kerlen is a national leader in quality assurance and compliance. She’s worked with Standards Australia since 2014 as a championing voice for the consumer. Ms Kerlen currently sits on three committees (CS-118, QR-008, CMC) and liaises with Standards Australia on over 20 committees for the NRA as nominating organisation, working as a champion to enable high standards of safety for the consumer.
In 2020, Ms Kerlen’s dedication to standards and her work on button battery safety resulting in the establishment of CS-118 Button Battery Safety, was recognised when she was awarded the W.R. Hebblewhite Medal.
When and why did you become involved with standards development?
I first became aware of Australian standards in my first Australian quality assurance role, mainly interacting with standards in the textile space. My relationships with the Australian Fashion Council and National Retail Association encouraged participation in standards committees and I’ve never looked back. When I moved roles to work as a Quality and Product Safety Manager for a wider range of products, I became more involved in consumer safety – with a focus on button batteries.
How do standards impact and interact with your industry?
I believe well-developed standards are a great tool for industry stakeholders, especially when it comes to the international stage. We need the best possible standards in the market to support Australian consumers and businesses.
Why is access to standards important?
Access to standards is important in ensuring all stakeholders have access to well-developed documents, that set benchmarks, provide clarity on product design for safety, and set adequate guidance for product testing.
Standards greatly help industry to prevent harm to consumers, and we have a duty of care to all Australians when selling products.
What is the future of standardisation in your area of work?
In the space of standards development for consumer protection I see international collaboration as a key to best outcomes for industry and consumers. Australian standards committee members are passionate, knowledgeable and determined. I expect we will see more Australian standards adopted internationally in the future, not just Australia adoption of international standards.