Confidence in measuring accuracy is the basis for a successful economy. A successful and thriving economy cannot run without metrology, as it enables fair and accurate trade. Legislation on measuring instruments used for trade and the quantities contained in packaged goods are important elements of Ireland’s fair trading and consumer protection framework, giving consumers and businesses confidence in the market for goods sold on the basis of quantity where they cannot check measurements for themselves.
Our Enforcement Role
NSAI Legal Metrology uphold and enforce accuracy and transparency in trade measures by certifying and inspecting measuring instruments used by traders and by inspecting pre-packaged goods to ensure correct quantity.
The primary purpose of NSAI Legal Metrology is set within the legislative remit of the Metrology Acts 1980 to 1998 which is to establish controls and monitor measurements made in daily trade use. The Metrology Acts provide significant protections for consumers and help to ensure fair trading conditions for businesses.
Our Approach to Enforcement
Measuring instruments and measuring processes are used in many sales transactions. However, the value of goods and services traded can vary widely, depending upon unit costs, volume of trade, etc. This in turn means that inaccurate measurements have different impacts across different trading environments. Our current risk based enforcement strategy focuses on those areas which are potentially the most detrimental to consumers and society.
Our approach to enforcement is to promote voluntary compliance where possible. Should this approach be unsuccessful, we take further action. This may ultimately include prosecution to ensure that the protections and aims of the Metrology Act, 1996 and the Packaged Goods (Quantity Control) Act, 1980 are met.
The following categories of measuring instruments are subject to regulatory controls:
- Fuel pumps for petrol and diesel
- Retail weighing instruments
- Home heating oil meters on delivery tankers
- Weighbridges for vehicles and animals
- Industrial bench, platform and overhead track scales
- Automatic checkweighers
- Truck mounted refuse weighers
- Milk meters on collection tankers
- Intoxicating liquor dispensers
- Capacity serving measures
The principal activities of the division are:
- Inspection of measuring instruments in trade use.
- Market surveillance of the distribution of measuring instruments.
- Inspection of making-up and distribution of packaged goods.
- Verification of measuring instruments on first use or after repair.
- EU Verification.
- National type approval.
Where breaches of the Acts are committed, the following sanctions are available:
- Warning notices in the form of written instructions to comply by a certain date
- The taking out of use of measuring instruments
- The seizure of pre-packed goods or measuring instruments
- Prosecution which may result in fines of up to €22,000, or up to 2 years imprisonment, or both.