The Division is responsible for enforcing the accuracy requirements and other standards relating to weighing and measuring devices and the use thereof used in the sale of food, fuels and other products. It regulates the sale of gasoline and sets standards for lubricating oils and antifreeze, including the inspection of all fuel dispensing equipment for required markings pertaining to grade and brand. It determines the standards for accuracy of clinical glass thermometers, tests and approves coin operated devices, licenses auctioneers, transient vendors, peddlers, motor fuel and oil retailers and registers auto damage repair shops. The division also enforces the item pricing law and the unit pricing regulations and oversees grants in excess of $600,000 to support item pricing inspections and scanner accuracy in retail stores.
In addition to our statutory requirements to annually test and certify all weighing and measuring devices used commercially in towns under 5,000 in population, the division tests and inspects price scanners in retail stores for accuracy. Price verification and item pricing inspection and training of officials will be a top priority during the year. The division administers and awards grants to local agencies for the purpose of enforcing scanner and item pricing accuracy in retail stores. This year the item pricing scanner accuracy grants will exceed $600,000, which doubles the amount of money allocated for this purpose by the legislature the previous year. Grants for this purpose last year resulted in 18 agents being authorized for enforcing scanner accuracy laws. These agents inspected over 1,800 stores and fines relating to pricing errors exceeded $300,000. The division is required to annually test and certify all commercial weighing and measuring devices in towns under 5,000 in population. Towns over 5,000 in population must by law appoint a local inspector for that purpose. The type of devices tested include small and large capacity scales, weights, motor fuel dispensers, vehicle tank meters used in the sale of liquid fuels, propane meters, milk tanks, coin operated amusement devices, reverse vending machines used for recycling soft drink containers, and a new type of device used for coin counting.
In addition to testing and certifying devices, the division conducts inspections to ensure that these devices are being used properly and that security seals are intact. Security seals are affixed to the devices to prevent unauthorized changing of the calibrators which can change the accuracy of the product being weighed or measured. The division also reweighs pre-packaged food and non-food products to insure that the net quantity statement required to be placed conspicuously on all packaged goods is accurate and that minor variations are within acceptable legal metrology parameters.
The division also licenses Auctioneers, Peddlers, Transient Vendors, Motor Fuel & Oil Dealers, and Auto Damage Repair Shops.
Consumer and Merchant Protection Act:
On July 31, 1998, Governor Cellucci signed into law a landmark piece of legislation which requires new certification standards for appointment of local weights and measures officials. This legislation known as, The Merchant and Consumer Protection Act, in addition to mandating certification standards for officials, also requires scanner inspections in all retail outlets. The new certification standards for local officials require newly appointed officials to be certified within one year of appointment and non-civil service incumbent appointed officials two years. All officials will be required to obtain CEU's in order to maintain their certifications. Therefore, the division will be conducting training for local officials on an ongoing basis throughout the Commonwealth in order to meet the new certification standards required for local officials in the new law.
The main purpose of these new certification requirements is to ensure that weights and measures laws are being enforced unilaterally and equitably in every municipality preserving the divisions primary mission of maintaining "Equity" in the marketplace. This can only be accomplished by requiring standardized training in testing and enforcement procedures for all enforcement officials and periodic auditing of their performance in the field to ensure that these standards are being applied equitably. The Merchant and Consumer Protection Act makes these requirements mandatory for all officials.
- Issued 11,893 licenses that produced $1.5 million in license fees.
- Tested and certified, as required , 13,018 commercial weighing and measuring devices in 108 towns under 5,000 in population and an additional 56 towns now under contract.
- Conducted over 18,500 inspections, which included scales, motor fuel dispensers including price signs, fuel oil deliveries, and pre-packaged commodities.
- Conducted 1,230 store inspections pertaining to item pricing and price verification, which resulted in $ 484,350 in civil penalties for various pricing violations.
- Issued 138 civil citations for various weights and measures violations amounting to $ 27,262 in penalties.
- Administered certification tests and field certified 13 newly appointed local officials bringing the total of current certified local officials to 129.
- Conducted training for 295 man-days for local officials in attendance for various weights and measures disciplines.
- Now contracted with 56 municipalities to provide weights and measures services.
Relevant Laws & Regulations:
- Consumer and Merchant Protection Act
- The following laws apply to food and grocery stores:
Related Internet Links:
- General Tables of Units of Measurement
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
- Getting What you Pay For: Weights And Measures Tips For Consumers
National Coalition for Consumer Education
- Household Weights and Measures Chart
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
This content provided by the <em>Division of Standards</em> .