Legal metrology – regulating measurement and ensuring its binding implementation
Through its sovereign activities, METAS ensures that the measurements required for the protection of people and the environment can be carried out correctly and in the prescribed manner.
For certain applications, only measuring instruments that meet the statutory requirements may be used. Among other things, this applies to electricity meters, shop scales and measuring instruments for determining the speed of road traffic. There are statutory regulations in metrology for the areas of trade and business transactions, health, environmental protection, public safety and the official ascertainment of facts.
Legal metrology encompasses all activities involved in the definition of measuring instrument requirements, the testing of these measuring instruments and control of their use. Quantity declarations on pre-packed goods (prepackages) also need to be regulated and checked.
Tasks, activities and players
The federal government and the cantons share the tasks involved in legal metrology. Where responsibility lies with the federal government, it is dealt with by METAS. In certain cases, METAS delegates it to authorised verification laboratories. The authorisation of verification laboratories is done as per clear-cut criteria. In Switzerland, legal metrology tasks are performed by:
• the Federal Institute of Metrology METAS,
• authorised verification laboratories
• the cantonal surveillance authorities and the cantonal verification offices.
METAS supervises the execution of metrological tasks, as high supervisory authority to the cantons and as supervisory authority to the verification laboratories. The cantons designate a supervisory authority. Cantonal supervisory authorities supervise cantonal verification officers and ensure coordination with METAS and other concerned cantonal authorities or authorities from other cantons.
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