Weights and Measures
Weights and Measures inspectors inspect any weighing or measuring device that is used in commercial transactions. Some of the devices inspected and tested are fuel meters, retail devices, price verification systems (U.P.C. scanners), packages (such as deli foods, meat and/or food that is packaged), mulch, firewood, taxi meters and more. The inspectors work to protect consumers and merchants by ensuring that the weighing and measuring devices are correct and accurate.
All Weights and Measures inspectors are required to receive training and certification from the Ohio Department of Agriculture, Division of Weights and Measures.
Inspectors must pass a series of 20 tests and 2 exams with 80% or above, as well as attend 18 hours of continuing education classes per year to maintain their certification.
Error rates vary within each of Ohio’s 88 counties.
Ohio jurisdictions are very responsive to calls concerning the possibilities of an error in a weighing or measuring device. A Weights and Measures inspector will usually inspect a site within 24 to 48 hours of receiving a complaint.
If a device is found to be inaccurate, the inspector can reject, condemn or in extra cases, confiscate the device. An approval and/or a security seal is not attached until the device is serviced by the owner and/or operator and passes all further inspection and testing. Records are maintained for all reported complaints.
Scales and Gasoline Pumps
Many items are sold by weight, i.e. ounces and pounds. Scales determine the cost of a product based on the weight and unit price of said product. Fuel is sold by volume in gallons or liters. A computer in the gasoline pump calculates what you owe based on the amount and unit price of the gasoline.
After a device has been inspected and tested and found accurate, the Weights and Measures inspectors place an official approval and/or security seal on scales and pumps to affirm that the equipment was tested and found to be accurate. Security seals are applied to adjusting mechanisms to prevent tampering between inspections.
Packaged commodities are tested to determine whether they contain the amounts represented and are properly labeled. All merchandise must be marked with a statement declaring net contents. Net contents do not include the weight of the bag, wrapper or container of any kind in which such goods may be packaged. This is called the tare weight, which must be accounted for before the product is weighed. Inspectors from both the State and County periodically check the accuracy of these pre-packaged items.
Price verification is conducted on U.P.C. scanners. The Universal Product Code (U.P.C.) is used in most retail stores to scan the price of an item. The price of an item is entered into a computer; when the item is scanned the price will appear on the register. The County Auditor ensures that the labeled shelf price or the advertised price matches the price displayed at the checkout. Random items are pulled from the shelves and are scanned in order to determine accuracy. If a store passes this test, an approval seal is placed on the register.
In Ohio, the legal method of sale for firewood is the cord or a fraction of a cord. A “cord” is defined as 128 cubic feet. Firewood must be labeled in cubic feet or cubic inches.