The county auditor is responsible for the enforcement of all Ohio laws relating to weights and measures. The auditor is required to see that these laws are strictly enforced and shall assist in the prosecution of violations within his jurisdiction. The auditor appoints deputy inspectors to perform and carry out all required weights and measures duties. Each inspector is required to meet minimum training requirements set forth in Ohio Administrative Code Rule 901:6-9-01. This consists of a 20-lesson study course and a basic and intermediate exam. All tests must be passed with an 80 percent score or higher. Each inspector is required to complete 18 hours of continuing education every year under Ohio regulations. Spring School, Regional Training Seminars and one-on-one training are some of the courses that are state sponsored.
The inspectors inspect and test commercial weighing and measuring devices to assure compliance with NIST Handbook 44 and the National Type Evaluation Program. Some of the devices inspected and tested are retail devices, price verification systems (scanners), packages (such as deli foods, meat and/or food that is packaged), mulch, firewood, taxi meters, fuel meters, and more. After a device has been inspected and tested and meets all requirements, the inspector applies an approval and/or security seal to it that either says "Inspected and Sealed" or "Price Verified." Security seals are applied to adjusting mechanisms to prevent tampering between inspections. If a device is found to be inaccurate, the inspector can reject, condemn or in extreme cases confiscate the device. An approval and/or security seal is not attached until the device is serviced by the owner and/or operator and passes all inspection and testing. If the scale is rejected the business is given an allotted amount of time to have the device serviced. After the device has been serviced, it is inspected and tested again. If it fails a second time the device may be taken out of service. The device is marked with a tie down seal until it has passed the inspector's tests.
Package Inspection consists of inspecting and testing packaged commodities for sale. These include food and non-food products. Tests are conducted using sampling procedures of NIST Handbook 133. Packaged commodities shall be tested to determine whether they contain the amounts represented and to determine whether they are properly labeled. The product is called net contents. The net contents exclude packaging materials for packages sold by weight. This packaging material, known as tare weight, includes the package container, wrapper or other materials that are not part of the actual product being sold. Always remember, if you cannot eat it, don't pay for it. After inspecting and testing, the inspector accepts packages as meeting all requirements or rejects packages and can order them off sale.
Price verification is conducted on UPC scanners. Random items are pulled from the shelves and are either scanned with a hand held scanner or scanned through the business scanner. If the product scans differently than what is marked on the item or shelf, the item is failed. A store is allowed a plus or minus two percent error. If it exceeds the two percent, the store is failed and is given two weeks to correct the error. The two percent is calculated on the total number of items tested. If one hundred items are scanned, the store can only have two items scan incorrectly. If the store passes the test, an approval seal is placed on the register where it is visible to the consumer.
These are just some of the duties our inspectors perform. At the Franklin County Auditor's Weights and Measures Department, we like to educate the public about how Weights and Measures plays a vital role in our everyday lives. We team up with local businesses to host "Weights and Measures Awareness Days," where we show how government and business work together to maintain fairness and keep the marketplace in balance. We educate the public about what they should look for, whether they are filling up their gas tanks, shopping for the week's groceries, buying the children's school clothes, or making any other purchase. Your local weights and measures officials are working to protect consumers, businesses, and manufacturers from unfair practices, and we will continue to do so.