Frequently Asked Questions

Contact: Robert DeRubeis (517) 655-7227

The following list is provided to assist the Weights and Measures industry. These questions and answers are intended to be used in concert with previous Weights and Measures Advisories that describe the changes to P.A. 283 and the various regulations and/or handbooks that are incorporated by reference. You are encouraged to keep this information and distribute it to those who can benefit from its use.

 

  1. I'm in the retail grocery business. Do I have to change all of my methods of sale and packaging and labeling practices in order to remain in compliance?

 

1.  Why do I need to be registered? Has the law changed the way devices are placed in service?

 

The way devices may be placed into commercial use has been changed. A device user (owner) may no longer simply notify W&M that the device has been calibrated and that it now meets the requirements of the act and NIST Handbook 44, and then begin using the device(s) commercially. The act now states that devices not sealed by W&M may NOT be used commercially until one or more of the following conditions are met: i. a placed-in-service report has been received from a registered serviceperson; ii. permission to use the weights and measures has been given from the W&M Program; iii. the device has been exempted from sealing or testing; 

 

2.  W&M can still "give permission" to use devices, so what is the benefit to being registered?

 

The ability for W&M to give permission to use a commercial device outside of a placing-in-service by a registered serviceperson or inspection by a W&M official is to accommodate extraordinary conditions, such as those that may exist when a device is undergoing NTEP testing. Such permission will be rarely given.

 

3.  So, if I'm NOT a registered serviceperson, and repair a device that has been condemned by W&M, the user still may NOT use the device?

 

Correct. In most cases, if you are not a registered serviceperson, then the commercial devices you install, service, and repair must remain out of service until one of the three criteria in question #1 are met.

 

4.  Can I remove an "Official Condemnation Tag" if I'm NOT a registered serviceperson?

 

No. Only a registered serviceperson may remove an official condemnation or rejection tag. P.A. 283 Sec. 31.(1)(d) states that it is a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 and/or one year in jail, to "Remove from any weights and measures, contrary to law or rule, a tag, seal, or mark placed on the weights and measures by the appropriate authority."

 

5.  I have several servicepersons that I want to get registered. How do I get the process started?

 

You will need to submit an Application for Service Agency Registration, along with the biennial fee of $300. This fee covers the service agency (your firm). You will also need to submit an Application for Serviceperson Registration for each serviceperson that you want registered, along with the biennial fee of $100 per registrant.

 

6.  Why do I have to pay a fee for each serviceperson I want registered? Why can't the service agency fee cover them?

 

The service agency fee covers the costs of initial start up and maintenance of the voluntary registration program. It also covers costs associated with maintaining a database and on-line listing of registered service agencies, the competency areas for which they are registered. The serviceperson registration serves as the "licensed recognition" of that serviceperson's demonstrated knowledge of the requirements of Michigan's Weights and Measures Act and the applicable sections of NIST Handbook 44.

 

7.  Does that mean that my registered serviceperson "owns" his registration?

 

While the registrant may transfer the service agency on his individual registration if he changes jobs, the actual registration remains the property of the department and may be recalled or revoked for cause.

 

8.  What are the "competency" areas?

 

These are the categories of devices that you want to be registered for. That is, the type of work you are going to do. For example, if you normally work on retail motor fuel dispensers, then you would select that competency area. If you are engaged in small to medium capacity scale work, then you might select retail computing scales and medium capacity scales. The competency areas selected also corresponds to the type of exam you will be given to demonstrate a basic level of knowledge in that area.

 

9.  What if I want to add a competency area later? Will there be an additional fee?

 

Registrants may add additional competency areas and take the corresponding exam. After twelve months there is a fee associated with the addition of competency areas.

 

10.  What kind of exams will I have to take? For example, if I want to be registered for vehicle and axle-load scales in Michigan.

 

You will need to take and pass the following exams: Michigan Jurisdictional Exam; NIST Handbook 44 Exam; Vehicle and Axle-Load Scales Exam.

 

11.  What is the "Michigan Jurisdictional Exam?"

 

This exam covers the requirements of P.A. 283 of 1964, as amended, the Weights and Measures Act, and associated unique requirements of the voluntary registration program.

 

12.  Why do I have to take an exam on NIST Handbook 44? Doesn't the "competency area" exam cover NIST Handbook 44?

 

The Weights and Measures Act adopts the 2012 edition of NIST Handbook 44 by reference. Thus, Handbook 44 is the "source document" for the specifications, tolerances, and other technical requirements for commercial weighing and measuring devices. The handbook is divided into a General Code - which applies to all categories of devices; and separate device codes (i.e. "Scales Code") - which applies to that specific category of device. The Handbook 44 exam covers the General Code of the handbook. This is to ensure that prospective registrants have a basic understanding of the handbook and its requirements, while the competency area exams are device specific.

 

13.  I have taken the Handbook 44 review and test at the MWMA Annual Meeting. Do I have to take it again if I passed it already?

 

No. If you've already taken and passed the Handbook 44 exam through the MWMA, then you will not have to retake it. Just send along a copy of your certificate with your application. If you can't locate your certificate, send us the date that you passed the exam, and we will verify it with our training records.

 

14.  What is the testing format? What is the passing score?

 

The tests will be open book and will normally consist of multiple choice and true/false format questions. The open book passing score is 80%.

 

15.  How long is the registration good for?

 

The term of registration is for two (2) years.

 

16.  Can I lose my registration? Is the registration revocable?

 

The department may suspend or revoke a registration for cause. Such action, however, would normally follow a progressive enforcement policy of a written warning and/or a conference with the director or his/her designees. Causes for a suspension or revocation include, but are not limited to: excessive device failures within 30 days of repair and/or installation; placing a device officially tagged "not sealed" into commercial service; attempting to, or placing a device in service with improper or insufficient field standards; falsifying a placed-in-service report or test reports; failing to submit placed-in-service reports; placing in service or allowing to remain in service an incorrect weighing or measuring device.

 

17.  Are review sessions available?

 

A brief review of the Placed-in-Service guidelines will be held on the day of testing prior to administering the exams.  Presentations regarding HB-44 or Act 283 will no longer be given on the day of exams.  All applicants are expected to have prior knowledge regarding the use of HB-44, Act 283, and the specifications, tolerances, and other technical requirements within.  

 

18.  I'm in the retail grocery business. Do I have to change all of my methods of sale and packaging and labeling practices in order to remain in compliance?

 

No. NIST Handbook 130 uniform regulations for packaging and labeling and the method of sale of commodities are very similar, if not identical, to long-standing MDARD regulations and interpretations. If anything, Handbook 130 provisions are more specific and provide better information to those in the retail grocery industry. They also provide updated information on newer methods of sale that were subject to wide interpretation previously (i.e. home food plan sales).

 

19.  What does "voluntary serviceperson registration" mean?

 

The voluntary registration of servicepersons and service agencies is being implemented in all industry sectors (i.e. weighing and measuring). This is a program by which service persons wishing to be registered: demonstrate competence in their selected area (i.e. counter scales); demonstrate sufficient certified standards to conduct the required tests; agree that the work will be done by the registrant; and agree to deliver a "placed in service" report to the Weights and Measures Program. Registered service persons are the only private sector individuals who may place new devices directly into commercial service, repair and return devices to commercial service, and remove official Weights and Measures Program condemnation tags.

 

20.  What happens if I purchase a new scale? Do I have to use a registered service person before I can use the new scale, or can I install it myself and begin using it commercially and Weights and Measures can inspect it whenever they come around?

 

On a new device, as with one that is being returned to service after a condemnation and/or repair, the device owner (you) has the option of using a registered service person or not. If you chose to install it yourself and/or use an unregistered service company, then you may NOT begin using it commercially until either: it is inspected by Weights and Measures or a registered service company tests the device. The obvious advantage in using a registered serviceperson is that the device may be used commercially IMMEDIATELY after the completion of the work.

 

21.  How can I determine if a technician or agency is registered?

 

Registered servicepersons are issued an official identification card that lists their serviceperson number and the categories of devices for which they are registered. This technician is required to carry this identification during working hours.  Agencies are issued a registration certificate that is maintained in their office.  A list of participants in the registration program (agencies and technicians) is maintained at www.michigan.gov/wminfo.  

 

22.  I own a service company and I am the only serviceperson. Do I need to register both the service company and myself as a serviceperson?

 

Yes, you are required to register as a service company and as a serviceperson. The $300 fee would apply for the service company registration and the $100 fee for the registration as a serviceperson.

 

23.  The act now allows for the assessment of charges for the reinspection of "lots" of sampled commodities. What does this mean?

 

Section 10a.(1)(a). states that a reinspection fee shall be charged when "The inspection is a reinspection of any weights and measures or a lot sample of a commodity subject to this act that has been tested and found incorrect." This provision corrects a disparity between packaged commodities and devices in that the Weights and Measures Program can now recover the costs associated with the reinspection of packaged commodities - which can require considerable time and resources - whereas such cost recovery was previously limited to devices that fail inspection. The "lot" designation simply indicates that such reinspection cost recovery, when required, will normally involve lot samples of the product in question.

 

24.  Why do I need to install devices that have a National Type Evaluation Certificate of Conformance? How does that benefit my business or industry?

 

The National Type Evaluation Program (NTEP) subjects devices submitted by manufacturers to testing as outlined in National Conference on Weights and Measures (NCWM) Publication 14 and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Handbook 44. The Certificate of Conformance is issued when the device "type" meets the inspection and performance requirements. The NTEP examination will also include the evaluation of parameters that can not be evaluated under normal field conditions (i.e. environmental parameters). As a practical matter, most businesses with devices installed after January 1, 1988, are already using devices with a Certificate of Conformance, so the codification of this requirement is expected to have little or no effect. Industry benefits include the assurance that a device "type" is capable of complying with the requirements of Michigan law and under-performing devices that may also be subject to fraudulent manipulation will be eliminated from the marketplace, thereby protecting both business and the end consumer.

 

25.  Upon reviewing the updates to the act and the handbooks adopted by reference, it appears that my industry may not be in full compliance in certain areas. It also seems that there hasn't been much enforcement emphasis from the Weights and Measures Program in these areas in the past. Should I assume that these requirements will not be enforced in the future?

 

All affected industry sectors should expect to comply with all of the requirements as contained in the Weights and Measures Act and applicable handbooks.  No business should assume that a requirement will not be enforced, simply because that requirement may have been overlooked and/or not strictly enforced during past inspections. There are many reasons why certain testing and inspection parameters may not have been strictly enforced during previous inspections, including but not limited to: staffing resource limitations that require an abbreviated inspection procedure; differing enforcement emphasis; inspector experience level; specific consumer complaints. An expectation that all aspects of a requirement will be enforced will promote uniformity in the marketplace and help to reduce consumer complaints while preventing so-called "after the fact" enforcement problems.

 

26.  There are many new sections of handbooks adopted by reference; where can I get the references that I need to ensure compliance?

 

You may also download an electronic copy of the Weights and Measures Act here.  You may order copies of NCWM Publication 14 (NTEP Technical Policy and Device Checklists), NIST Handbook 44 and Handbook 130 from the National Conference on Weights and Measures at www.ncwm.net, and by looking under "Publications." You may also download specific portions of the NIST handbook at the website of the NIST's Office of Weights and Measures.

 

27.  Our company operates several "branch offices" throughout the state of Michigan.  Is the company required to submit a separate application and fee for each office, or is registering the main office enough?

 

Any agency operating multiple "branch or regional" offices within the state, as a base of operation for registered service technicians, must submit for each office, a completed application along with the appropriate processing fee.  As such, each "branch" must also submit the required documentation identifying the certification of all the standards intended for use in the field.  This is necessary to identify areas where approved standards are maintained and in use. 

 

28.  Am I required to submit a copy of my company's "test report" or "test results" when submitting a "Place in Service Report" to the Weights and Measures Program Office in Williamston?

 

Yes.  Anytime a "Place in Service Report" is submitted, a copy of the actual signed test results and notes (the service report) is required. 

 

29.  I own a gas station and have my own test measure can I use it to check the calibration on my dispensers?

You can use it to verify the calibration on your dispensers, but if any calibration changes are made, the dispenser cannot be used commercially until it is placed back into service by the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development or a Michigan Registered Service Company. 

 

30.  As a Michigan Registered Service Company Technician when I adjust a device that is out of tolerance and bring it back into tolerance, do I need to send in a Calibration and Place in Service Report, even if I didn't change out any metrologically significant components?

Yes, anytime an out of tolerance device is corrected, Place in Service documentation must be submitted. 

Copyright © 2007 State of Michigan