Legal Aspects Involved in Setting Up Technical Aspects of Industry by pzf10250


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									5. Administrative aspects

           The actions of legal metrology are usually
           dispersed among several bodies, official,
           semiprivate or private, and each country follows
           its own scheme according to its political and
           administrative structure.

           We look at aspects of such organisations in some
           European and American countries and, very
           broadly, at the tasks for each type of body involved.

           We will then comment on administrative
           procedures and some financial matters such as
           fees and fines.

Most governments have set up a national legal metrology
organisation but very often a large number of responsibilities are
delegated to the States or the Municipal governments and
practically limited to commercial aspects. In most Caribbean
countries weights laws and some verification standards were
originally with the local police and, in the case of imported
merchandises, with the customs offices.

No matter what its political and administrative structure (federal
states, provinces, prefectures, cantons, municipalities), in several
countries legal metrology is centralised and there are no local

Legal metrology

verification offices. This is the case for instance in Barbados, Costa
Rica, Ecuador, Holland, Jordan, Peru, Singapore (42,43).

There are many more governmental bodies that are involved in
metrology, often not explicitly, in areas such as consumer
protection, health, environment, communications, and agriculture.

There is today a tendency towards privatisation and deregulation
of legal metrology. This could bring about an increase in the
number of bodies acting in legal metrology and result in regulations
being substituted by other conditions with the consequence of
non-tariff barriers to trade. This point of view, if it prevails, will
require a very strong international harmonisation.

5.1. Public authorities involved in legal
     metrology – some models

This is not a study on the situation of legal metrology in several
countries; they are mentioned simply to show some of the
differences and similarities in the administration of legal metrology
in countries with different political and juridical organisations.


In Brazil, the Metrology Institute, INMETRO, is responsible for
proposing policies and directives, co-ordinating and supervising
legal metrology activities in the country, and for the weights and

                                           Administrative aspects

measures institutes – state organisations in charge of ensuring
compliance with metrological technical regulations.


Measurement Canada, MC, of Industry Canada, is the national
organisation for legal metrology and is in charge of local and
regional verification. The National Research Council, NRC, is the
custodian of the national measurement standards and is
responsible for the maintenance of reference measurement
standards. Both entities have systems in place for the calibration
and evaluation of measuring instruments.


The National Consumer Service (Servicio Nacional del
Consumidor) in Chile is in charge of:

 - the definition of the measurement units used in the country
   and their scope of application,
 - the organisations who must verify and approve measuring
   instruments and the reference measurement standards,
 - the definition of legal procedures in those cases where the
   law is not complied with,
 - appointment of the organisations in charge of realisation,
   custody and dissemination of national measurement
 - the definition of accreditation procedures,

Legal metrology

 - specification of procedures for metrological control and control
   of pre-packages.


The national metrology office, Bureau national de métrologie,
BNM, created in 1969, became at the end of 1994 a group of
public interest associating the related five primary laboratories
and the two ministry departments (Industry and Research, and
Higher Education).

The five primary national laboratories in charge of measurement
standards or materialisation equipment are ascribed to five
different organisations:

 - the National Metrology Institute (BNM-INM) at the
   Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers (CNAM); mass (up
   to one kilogram), length, temperature, acoustics,
   spectroradiometry, photometry and some derived units;
 - the National Testing Laboratory (BNM-LNE) whose primary
   activities are related with amount of matter, several mechanical
   units, mass over one kilogram and derivatives, temperature,
   radiometry, acoustics;
 - the Primary Laboratory for Electricity and Magnetism (BNM-
   LCIE) in the fields of electricity, magnetism and X-rays;
 - the Primary Laboratory of Ionising Radiations (BNM-LPRI) for
   measurement of radionuclides activity and dosimetry of
   ionising radiations

                                             Administrative aspects

 - the Primary Laboratory for Time and Frequencies (BNM-LPTF)
   whose activity is centred on frequencies and time.

The chains of measurement standards are managed by the
Comité Français d’Accréditation, COFRAC, with three traceability
levels: primary laboratories, authorised standards centres,
authorised metrology services.

According to the French themselves(1) this dispersal in the
metrology system results in a lack of visibility, the more so for
legal metrology, distributed among the twenty four research and
industry regional directorates (Directions régionales de l’industrie
et de la recherche, DRIRE), increased by the fact that not all of
them interpret identically the legal texts and that the interested
party does not always know where to turn to.

Also in France, differently from other countries, legal metrology is
totally independent from the National Metrology Office, BNM.

For this reason, the French assert that metrology is one area
where a reasonable centralisation is preferable, a fact which has
been recognised by countries with a federal structure such as
Germany or the United States of America.

Legal metrology in France is under the Sous-Direction de
Métrologie, at the ministry in charge of industry. This Sous-
Direction has several responsibilities:

Legal metrology

 - to prepare national legal metrology policy,
 - to maintain the capacity required to carry out its mandates
   and to see it is transferred to the bodies in charge of
 - to prepare the regulations having to do with measuring
 - to represent French legal metrology at international fora,
 - to co-ordinate and direct all activities related to legal metrology.

On their part, the twenty four DRIRE have the responsibility for
control and surveillance of manufacturers, repairers, installers and
users of the measuring instruments in their respective regions,
and they must direct the activities of those regional bodies to
which they delegate legal metrology tasks. They must also ensure
coherence and complementarity between legal metrology activities
and others, particularly technical control and industrial

Some groups in France (1) are of the opinion that, in Europe, there
is a gradual weakening of the role of national legal metrology and
a trend towards a European legal metrology.


In Germany, legal regulations include the Metrology and
Verification Act (Eichgesetz) that is the equivalent of a national
law on metrology, ordinances (verification and pre-packages, for
instance) and the Directives of the European Union.

                                             Administrative aspects

Responsibilities for legal metrology actions are distributed between
the Federation and the Federated States. The Federated States
(Länder) are responsible for implementation of regulations, with
the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt, PTB, as the federal
authority for metrology in Germany.

The PTB:

 - sets the basic principles of scientific, technical and legal
 - carries out supervisory functions harmonisation of metrology
   and safety,
 - is in charge of the realisation of the legal metrological units,
 - tests measuring instruments and equipment,
 - co-operates with technical and legal bodies in matters
   pertaining to measurements, standardisation and tests, quality
   and safety assurance,
 - carries out research and development work in metrology.

Germany has a Committee of the Federated States to advise the
Federal Ministry of Economy on matters related to verification
with possible legal, economic and political consequences.

The German Academy of Metrology trains those who will be
carrying out verification tasks.

Many test centres for electricity, gas, water and heat meters are
private centres, accredited by government organisations on the
basis of ISO requirements.

Legal metrology


The Spanish Metrology Centre (Centro Español de Metrología)
CEM, created in 1985, is transformed by law, in 1990, into an
independent commercial and industrial organisation with the
following functions:

 - custody and maintenance of national measurement standards,
 - setting up and development of official chains of calibration,
 - State administration in metrological control for the State and
   the European Community,
 - official qualification of laboratories for metrological verification,
 - metrological control registry,
 - research and development projects in metrological matters,
 - training of specialists in metrology.

The CEM is the custodian for national measurement standards
for the base units of mass, length, electric current intensity, and
thermodynamic temperature, and for the derived units for
pressure, force, volume, plane angle and density of solids.

Spain has begun a limited network of Associated Laboratories;
those that fulfil technical requirements as established for each
case, are officially declared custodians of a given measurement
standard and recognised as Laboratories Associated to the Centro
Español de Metrología.

Through agreements with the National Accreditation Organisation
(Entidad Nacional de Acreditación, ENAC) it ensures traceability

                                             Administrative aspects

for the calibration laboratories accredited or with accreditation
under way, and it co-ordinates the national comparisons judged
necessary to confirm the technical competence of the accredited
calibration laboratories.

There has been a reordering of the legal metrology responsibilities.
CEM keeps the exclusive legislation capacity, the Metrological
Control Registry, and representation of the country in Community
and international matters while metrological control is carried out
by the several regional autonomous communities “Comunidades

Some of these Comunidades lack the required laboratories to
carry out the tests so that CEM acts as the supporting technical
laboratory for the regional services.

CEM carries out some activities that can be considered as purely

 - verification of ethylometers, dynamometer, opacity meters,
 - testing of medical measuring instruments,
 - general calibration of measuring instruments,
 - Certificates of conformity to standards or tests, and OIML
 - contracts for measurement assurance.

In particular in legal metrology, CEM does the tests for gas meters
and the State metrological control of measuring instruments or

Legal metrology

systems for fluids other than water, as well as characterisation
and certification of electromagnetic compatibility, EMC.

United States of America:

In the United States most of the authority over legal metrology is
given to the State Weights and Measures Laboratories.

Also, diverse agencies exert authority over specific classes of
products. As an example, medicines are seldom tested, as there
are other government agencies that see to medicine safety
including accuracy of content and doses. Measuring instruments
used by service companies – electric counters, water meters,
gas meters - are regulated by other state agencies.

To promote uniform laws, regulations and standards (tests and
tolerances for measuring instruments and the procedures for
inspection of pre-packages), the National Institute for Science
and Technology, NIST, sponsors the National Conference on
Weights and Measures, NCWM.

The 50 States have adopted NIST Handbook 44 “Specifications,
tolerances and other technical requirements for weighing and
measuring devices” as recommended by the NCWM, as the legal
code governing weighing and measuring devices.

There are diverse laws and regulations throughout the nation.
However, NIST Handbook 130 “Uniform laws and regulations”

                                            Administrative aspects

provides a general guide to the types of laws and regulations to
be enforced.

The need for uniformity in weights and measures was recognised
during the second meeting of the NCWM, in 1906. The following
year, basic outlines of a model law were developed and the first
“Model Law” as such, was formally adopted by the Conference in

With a single exception, the Uniform Weights and Measures Law
is automatically updated and adopted annually by all States thus
becoming, in fact, a national law. This is not the case for other
related laws that are not strictly the same among the States.

The goal of the NCWM regarding these laws and regulations is to
achieve their acceptance in all States and local jurisdictions that
have authority over such matters. The purpose of the uniform
laws and regulations is to achieve, to the maximum extent
possible, standardisation in weights and measures laws and
regulations among the various States and jurisdictions in order to
facilitate trade between the States, permit fair competition among
businesses, and provide uniform and sufficient protection to all
consumers in commercial weights and measures practices.

To ensure accurate, traceable measurements, and observance
of national and international standards, NIST manages the State
Laboratory Program.

Legal metrology

5.2. Assignments

Total harmony and co-ordination are essential between the
National Metrology Institute (NMI) and the legal metrology body
when they do not belong to the same organisation. As legal
metrology tasks expand, they require new technical capabilities
which may not yet exist but for which the National Metrology
Institute can be prepared. Examples are the capacity of measuring
microwaves to evaluate interference and compatibility in
measuring instruments, and the new applications of high
frequencies. The legal metrology body can, in turn, help the NMI
to identify and solve legal problems related to the promotion of
uniform measurements throughout the country.

Inspection and verification are not easy to concentrate at a national
level but private enterprises, when they take care of these tasks,
must be supervised by an independent entity.

Legal metrology is global and normally cannot be assigned to a
single Ministry. This can be the case for health or the environment
when they have their own Ministry.

Standardisation can also be separated from legal metrology and
when this is the case strong harmonisation between both should
be the goal.

Let us look again at a few examples in diverse countries:

                                           Administrative aspects


Changes are expected during the next years, particularly through
revision of the law creating the Metrology System, implementation
of metrological control, and a new relationship with the delegated

Presently, metrological control carried out by INMETRO is done
by means of:

 - regulations,
 - standards of procedures,
 - model technical evaluation and approval.

Delegated bodies are in charge of:

 - verifications, both primary and subsequent,
 - control of pre-packages,
 - surveillance.


Measurement Canada has the responsibility for:

  - ensuring fairness in trade of goods and services,
  - defining measurement units,
  - calibrating and certifying measurement standards,
  - examining and approving measuring instruments,

Legal metrology

  - verifying the accuracy and correct use of measuring
    instruments used in trade,
  - verifying net quantity products,
  - handling customer complaints.

Accredited bodies have to undergo surveillance audits from
Measurement Canada.


Co-ordination in metrology was assigned in 1969 to the Bureau
National de Métrologie (BNM) who also had to fund the primary
metrology laboratories and to organise the chains of measurement
standards in the country. This last is, since 1994, the responsibility
of COFRAC (Comité Français d’Accréditation), while BNM
continues to have scientific responsibility in accreditation

First level tasks (measuring instruments) are more and more
delegated to private enterprises, supervised however, by the State
(ISO 9001 quality assurance, COFRAC accreditation). It is
estimated that there are around 3000 such bodies (77). Every two
years they undergo a thorough inspection in addition to an
unexpected one during the same period. The private bodies cover
the expenses of this supervision.

                                           Administrative aspects


Supervisory verification authorities have been assigned to:

 - verification, metrological evaluation and special tests on
   measuring instruments,
 - accreditation and supervision of accredited testing centres for
   measuring instruments for electricity, gas, water, and heat, as
   well as the examination of technical competence of the staff
   of such centres,
 - supervision of pre-packaged goods and of licensed
   commercial containers,
 - appointment and technical competence examination for those
   in charge of public weighing machines,
 - recognition of measuring instruments repairing and
   maintenance services,
 - supervision of manufacturers who carry out conformity
   assessment testing,
 - inspection of the owners of measuring instruments.

The system of testing centres has been extended from electric
counters to measuring instruments for gas, water, and heat.
Accreditation of a centre requires that it have facilities and
equipment approved by the PTB. Germany considers that (48),
given the legal requirements in force, there is no need for an
additional confirmation on the capacities of the verification

Legal metrology

Calibrations are assigned to competent laboratories, also
accredited by the PTB but who carry out their tasks under their
own responsibility.


We have already mentioned the main responsibilities of CEM.

In addition, CEM represents Spain in several regional and
international organisations: the Convention of the Metre, the OIML,
EUROMET, WELMEC, and the European Commission, IMEKO.
In the framework of the Convention of the Metre it has signed a
Mutual Recognition Agreement, whereby under set conditions,
national measurement standards and calibration certificates are
recognised by the member countries.

It prepares training activities to bring metrology to enterprises
and other economic agents who nowadays, due to implementation
of the ISO 9000 standards, require basic knowledge of
metrological matters.

Accreditation of test centres corresponds to a national body, the
Entidad Nacional de Acreditación (ENAC).

Although metrological control is done by the Comunidades
Autónomas, the municipalities carry out certain controls according
to municipal ordinances, such as for example everything pertaining
to road traffic that is handled by the Police.

                                             Administrative aspects

5.3. Administrative procedures

Some countries, Brazil and Mexico to mention just two of them,
have procedure manuals with details, among others, such as:

 -   regulations,
 -   staff assignments,
 -   supervision,
 -   fees for metrological services (tariffs),
 -   documentation (formats),
 -   gauging for each type of measurement,
 -   measurement units,
 -   quantity labelling in packages,
 -   who is responsible for quality defects,
 -   what constitutes a quality defect,
 -   what is the cost of a quality defect,
 -   pre-packaged goods,
 -   surveillance of pre-packages,
 -   infractions and penalties,
 -   etc.

As an example of the degree of detail of such procedure manual,
we will look at a few sections of a manual in use in Brazil (55):

“Merchandises the main use of which is based on linear extension
must be traded in legal (SI) units of length; those based on surface,
in area units; those that are solid or granulated at 20 ° C in mass
units; those that are liquid or paste at 20 ° C in volume units;
those traded in units, in effective number of units.

Legal metrology

“It is mandatory for packages or containers to have an indication
of the net content.

“All those who participate in the chain until merchandise reaches
the consumer are responsible for defects of quantity. There is a
defect of quantity when the net content or the number is lower
than that which is stated. Net content refers to the main product
on sale.

“No merchandise (including special offers) other than that for which
the package is destined may be included.

“All glass containers manufactured for sale of beverages must
have an indication of their capacity, stated in litres”.

5.4. Fees, fines, financial aspects

The legal metrology organisation will find it difficult to be self-
supporting, as it has to carry out many tasks of supervision and
consultancy for which it cannot charge. In addition, very often the
fees go to the national budget and are not directly assigned to
the legal metrology organisation. Even in highly industrialised
countries, verification authorities can generate only around 80%
of their operation costs.

Fees are usually charged for model approval, verification both
primary and subsequent, accreditation of test centres and
maintenance services, and supervision.

                                             Administrative aspects

Fines are collected for infractions, which can be:
  - use of non authorised measure units,
  - use of instruments whose verification is no longer valid,
  - breaking, violating or making unusable markings or control
  - sale of pre-packaged products with a net content lower than
    legal tolerances or than what is written on the label,
  - use of packages for pre-packaged products that do not show
    the net amount or do so using units not legally authorised,
  - use of devices or instruments that exceed maximum tolerable
    errors, detrimental to the consumer,
  - non compliance with resolutions on the installation of
    measuring devices or counters,
  - disablement of measuring devices or counters.

The law establishes the penalty for each type of infraction.

As there are insufficient resources to inspect instruments and
businesses with the ideal frequency, state inspectors and officials
keep records of the correctness of individual instruments and of
the history of compliance of the business. Businesses with a bad
history in keeping their instruments working correctly or in
complying with the requirements for net contents in their packages
will be inspected more frequently. Constant violation of regulations
can bring about very high fines.

Those businesses and instruments with a bad history can be
inspected up to twice a year. In Germany, for instance, some
States follow a policy whereby if an instrument is rejected as

Legal metrology

inaccurate, the inspector must perform another inspection at a
specified later date.

Any activity contrary to regulations is an administrative offence.
For example, to pretend that an instrument has been verified or
certified when this is not true, is considered an administrative
offence. This is one reason why terminology must be used carefully
for metrological tests.


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