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Inventory of National Practices on Standards, Technical Regulations
and Conformity Assessment in the Western Hemisphere

V. Measurement and Metrology
A. Organizations and their Areas of Coverage

Antigua & Barbuda
There is a draft Metrology Act being reviewed by the Department of Legal Affairs. This will transfer responsibility of weights and measures from the Police Department to the Bureau of Standards.

The Argentine Calibration Service (SAC) develops its actions under Decree 1157/72, which assigns the National Institute of Industrial Technology (INTI) custody and maintenance of the standards for national measurement. For this purpose, and to meet these objectives, the INTI has created the SAC by Resolution 106/85. At present nine laboratories are accredited in Argentina with another 32 in the process of incorporation.

There are no organizations presently involved in measurement and metrology.

The Weights and Measures Act 1981 and Regulations 1985 established a modern Metrology System in Barbados. This system is administered by weights and measures inspectors appointed under the Weights and Measures Act. The Barbados National Standards Institution (BNSI) acts as the repository of the national standards of length, mass and capacity and is responsible for their recalibration.

The Belize Bureau of Standards is in the process of reviewing metrology legislation with the eventual objective of replacing the current Weights & Measures legislation. Presently there is no National Metrology System.

Bolivia has an express statute on metrology that establishes the National Metrology Service (SERMENTO), under the Ministry of Industry and Commerce. SERMENTO has the following activities: it disseminates the International System of Units (IS) as the system of official measurement in the country; it verifies and calibrates secondary standards in regional offices and gas stations; it verifies and calibrates periodically the pumps for measurement of volume at gas stations pursuant to technical regulations NB 407-81; verification and calibration of balances, scales, and weights in public and private entities that request the service. Though SERMENTO has been assigned the task of developing legal, industrial, and scientific metrology, it has only developed the legal activity, especially for volume and mass.

The National Institute of Metrology, Standardization and Industrial Quality (INMETRO) is the central executive entity of the national system of metrology. INMETRO has the responsibility to maintain the basic measurement units in Brazil, tracing them periodically to international standards. In its facilities the primary laboratories cover the fields of acoustics, vibrations, heat, optics, mechanics and electricity (comprising the National Metrology Laboratory). The latter also aggregates the Institute for Radiation Protection and Dosimetry (IRD), the National Obersvatory and the Technological Research Institute (IPT), respectively responsible for standardization in the fields of ionizing radiation, time and frequency, and flow measurement.
In the field of legal Metrology INMETRO is the central executive body responsible for recommending and promulgating the normative acts that are necessary to all legal metrology actions, i.e. controlling and inspecting the units of measurement, measuring methods, measuring instruments and material measures, which have an effect on the economy, health and safety of people and the environment. INMETRO is responsible for the preparation of technical metrological regulations, approval of instruments' prototypes (pattern approval) and control of their application (verification). INMETRO coordinates the National Network of Legal Metrology which consists of the States' Agencies of Weights and Measures (IPEMs - Institutos de Pesos e Medidas), whose responsibilities are to control and inspect measuring instruments and prepackaged goods, at manufacturing establishments, ports and airports, or commercial centers. This network is made up of 25 State Agencies, which amount to 67 branches and which perform around 3 million verifications per year.

The National Research Council of Canada (NRC), through the Institute for National Measurement Standards (INMS), serves as the national measurement laboratory. INMS is responsible for developing, maintaining, and disseminating Canada's national standards of physical measurement. NRC derives its mandate in standards of physical measurement from two Acts of Parliament: Article 13 of the NRC Act and Articles 2, 4 and 12 of the Weights and Measures Act. In addition to these two Acts, there are Orders in Council that mandate NRC to maintain and disseminate Canada's time standard.

Traceability of measurement in Canada is maintained through accredited calibration laboratories which form the Canadian Calibration network or directly to NRC which provides traceability for the basic standards as well as for selected derived standards. NRC collaborates with the Standards Council of Canada in the accreditation of Canadian calibration laboratories. The accreditation program is voluntary. The Legal Metrology Branch, a division of Industry Canada (IC) regulates and promotes fair measurement in the marketplace. NRC is a departmental corporation of the federal government, the SCC is a federal government crown corporation and IC is a department of the federal government.

Chile has no national metrology center. There are some 25 laboratories that provide calibration services, in both the public and private sectors. Some have traceability of measurement. A National Metrology Network is being designed to make use of the existing metrological infrastructure and to give it official status. A unit is being created in the National Standardization Institute to coordinate this network; it will operate so long as there is no independent national metrology office. This Unit will supervise the operation of the calibration laboratories.

The Superintendency of Industry and Commerce (SIC), under the Ministry of Economic Development, in particular the Metrology Division which administers the National Quality Control and Metrology Center, is responsible for the coordination of the execution and control of activities on national metrology. The SIC accredits metrology laboratories which constitute a national network of accredited laboratories. Actions which are related to Legal, Scientific and Industrial Metrology are developed.

In the area of Legal Metrology the SIC seeks uniformity and credibility of the measurements that support the commercial and services transactions of the country, with the support of the existing and future regional or local bodies of legal metrology. Local bodies may affiliate their services before their accreditation, in order to fulfill the provisions regulated by SIC in the area of legal metrology. Such regional or local bodies should maintain the standards to be traced to the mandatory measurement units, which are to beused as reference for the calibration of the instruments needed by the legal authorities for legal metrology control.

The instruments of measurement which are subject to mandatory metrologic control serve as the basis for :
- commercial transactions / or determination of the price of a service
- remuneration or recognition for personal work, activities that may affect life, health, bodily integrity, or the environment
- acts that are of an expert witness, or that are judicial or administrative in nature
- verification or calibration of other instruments
- quantitative determination of the components of merchandise whose price or quality depend on these components.

The International System of Unities, SI, and the measurements which will be approved by the General Conference on Weights and Measures, will be adopted as the legal system of measurements. The actual implementation of the SI in all activities is programmed to take place in five years, starting with the announcement of the New Law of Consumers Defense, presently under the consideration in the Congress.

The current Center of Quality and Metrology Control is under the responsibility of the Metrology Division of the Superintendency of Industry and Commerce, with calibration and capacitation services.Created on January 16, 1996, the center will guarantee the measurements of longitude, mass, volume and time, for which it has the support of modern and advanced laboratories. The following services will be supplied:

1. Calibration and definition;
2. Laboratories of mass and balances: analytical balance, class E weights (special);
3. Volume Laboratory: glass volume vessels, volume balloon, burette, lined pipette, measuring pipete, test tube, metallic volume vessels;
4. Thermometry Laboratory: glass thermometers, electrical thermometry, dial thermometer, temperature indicator, thermoresistances, thermocouple;
5. Force Laboratory: instruments to measure force, thrust collars, dynamometric clamp , energy cells, calibration of machines of test on materials, universal machines, dynamometer, printing frame;
6. Laboratory of Dimensional Metrology: gauge blocks, standards for micrometers, plain calibers, threaded calibers, standard scales, precision levels, machines of area measurement, set of thickness gauges, machines of three coordinates, calibration of comparising gauge blocks;
7. Laboratory of Continuous Current and Electric Instrumentation: analogous and digital multimeter, resistance Wheatstone bridge, P.T. simulator, "conductometer, sources of potency, galvanometer, potentiometer, field calibrator, resistances, potency's analyzer, megohmmeter;
8. Laboratory of Pressure and Manometry: vaccuum gauge, mano-vaccuum gauges, manometer of one and two pistons;
9. Laboratory of Densimetry: densimeter, pignometer, aerometer;
10. Humidity Laboratory: hygrometer;
11. Laboratory of Energy Measurers: monophasic and triphasic measurers, wattmeter, cosinometric pliers;
12. Laboratories of measurement transformers: transformers of current and voltage, T.T.R.;
13. Time and Frequency Laboratory: oscilloscope, functions' generator, digital chronometer, frequency's meter.

Considerable investment has been programmed to endow the center with measurement laboratories for water, gas, hardness, rugosity, torque topography, acoustic, optic, viscosity, superficial tension, pyrometry and physic-chemical tests.

The center has been catalogued as a reference for other metrology laboratories in Central America and in the Andean region. With the center's new service, as reference laboratory, enterprises will be able to obtain the calibration of their instruments recurring to the Network of Accredited Laboratories, within the National System of Standardization, Certification and Metrology.

A project to consolidate the Regional Center of Metrology, CEREMET-Atlantic is currently being developed in the Atlantic Coast region, with the technical support of the Superintendency of Industry and Commerce.

Costa Rica
The ONNUM (National Office of Standards and Units of Measure) has exclusive jurisdiction over metrology-related matters. The National Quality System has designated the ONNUM as the National Metrology Office.


Dominican Republic

Metrology in Ecuador is represented by the Ecuadoran Standardization Institute, INEN, which is a public service institution organized under the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Integration, and Fisheries.
- Scientific Metrology: ensures that primary standards correspond to international prototypes. Develops adequate measurement techniques and methods for comparing magnitudes. By contrasting with reference standards, certifies equipment or devices for weighing and measuring in the magnitudes of:
- Legal Metrology: the INEN administers enforcement of the Law on Weights and Measures to ensure fairness in the market and rationalization of systems of units by implementing the International System of Units (SI).
- Industrial Metrology: verifies the dimensions of industrial products.

El Salvador
In December (1995) a legal metrology laboratory was inaugurated. It has secondary standards and began operations with measurements of mass, temperature, and volume. Measurements of length and pressure will be incorporated in the short term.


The Department of Metrology of COGUANOR now has a basic metrology laboratory in the areas of length, mass, and volume. As part of its activities in the field of legal metrology, this department undertakes activities to verify net mass and net volume in various packaged goods that are marketed in the country, based on an annual plan drawn up by the Board of Directors of COGUANOR.

The Guyana National Bureau of Standards is responsible for metrology.



The Jamaica Bureau of Standards is the only organization involved in traceability of measurements. The JBS covers the following areas: scientific measurements, industrial measurements, trade measurement and calibration.

The Federal Law on Standardization and Metrology is the legal basis in the field of Measurement and Metrology. It establishes the General System of Measurement Units in accordance with the International System of Units (SIU), institutes the National System of Calibration (SNC) as the official means to recognize and accredit laboratories supplying calibration services, and creates the National Center of Metrology (CENAM) which acts as the reference Laboratory for the National System of Calibration.

The General Bureau of Standards and Industrial Technology of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry of Panama is the entity that coordinates metrology activities. Industrial metrology is performed by the metrology laboratory at the Universidad Tecnológica de Panamá, and legal metrology by the Office of Price Regulation.


Peru has the National Metrology Service (SNM) of the INDECOPI, which is responsible for the custody, conservation, and maintenance of the national standards for the units of measure, as well as calibrating secondary standards, assaying and sealing weights and measures, measurements, and metrological certifications at the request of interested persons. In addition, it is responsible for fostering the development of metrology in the counterpart agency and contributing to the dissemination of the Legal System of Units of Measure of Peru (SLUMP), based on the International System of Measurements.

INDECOPI's SNM has metrology laboratories and high-precision measurement instruments, duly certified by organizations of great renown, such as PTB of Germany. The areas for which laboratories exist are: Length and Angle, Force and Pressure, Mass, Temperature, Volume and Density, Electricity and Electronics, and Photometry.There are also specialized metrology laboratories, both public and private, that will be submitted to evaluation for accreditation by the Commission of Technical and Trade Regulations (CNM) of INDECOPI, as official calibration laboratories.

Saint Lucia
The Royal Saint Lucia Police Force under the legislation of Weights and Measures Ordinance of 1911. A draft National Metrology Act (NMA) and accompanying Regulations, to replace the 1911 Ordinance, have been prepared, in which the SLBS is given responsibility for the NMA.

Trinidad & Tobago
TTBS (Trinidad and Tobago Bureau of Standards). A draft Metrology Act to replace the Weights and Measures Law of 1950 will give TTBS responsibility for Weights and Measures.

United States
In the United States, the authority for the enforcement of weights and measures laws and regulations resides with state and local authorities. The Federal Government provides advice and promotes uniformity amongst the states in the regulation and enforcement of weights and measures laws.

The U.S. Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology (DOC/NIST) Standards Management Program (SMP) manages U.S. participation in the International Organization of Legal Metrology (OIML) which is concerned with the harmonization of technical requirements for measuring instruments. NIST standards are traceable to international standards. In managing this program, SMP obtains technical support from U.S. trade associations, instrument manufacturers, academia and federal and state regulatory agencies. SMP's work in OIML is coordinated with NIST's domestic programs.

DOC/NIST's Office of Weights and Measures sponsors the National Conference on Weights and Measures (NCWM), a national organization made up of federal, state, and local weights and measures officials and appropriate industry representatives, which promotes uniformity in weights and measures programs through the adoption of model laws, regulations, specifications, and tolerances for weights and measures. Its state laboratory program provides a system for accrediting state weights and measures laboratories' capabilities to calibrate standards and equipment for measuring mass, length, volume, temperature, and frequency-based devices. It authorizes astate laboratories to conduct initial evaluation of weighing and measuring devices/systems under the National Type Evaluation Program (NTEP) before their use in commerce. Certificates of conformance are issued to manufacturers, and a list of qualified manufacturers is maintained by NIST.

Instruments and standards certified by state laboratories may be identified by a state government-applied mark. Each state must have a trained metrologist and an adequate laboratory facility and must demonstrate on a continuing basis that it is capable of providing valid measurements in order to be accredited in a particular measurement area. The program provides a basis for uniform requirements and consistent results in metrological calibration and tolerance testing among states. The program is recognized by all states and by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Federal Grain Inspection Service and private organizations. Compliance with the program is voluntary.

At the national level, EPA establishes both the overall requirement for measurement and provides an acceptable measurement procedure. EPA promulgates measurement methods for the analysis of biological, chemical, and physical parameters to be utilized in the monitoring of potentially polluting substances. These test methods are used by all levels of government and the regulated community for monitoring and assessing compliance with pollution control laws and regulations. EPA supports the subsequent deployment of that measurement procedure by assuring the avilability of calibration materials, and quality assurance/quality control guidance. State authorities generally implement the control programs, utilize the promulgated methodology, and in some cases conduct laboratory certification programs.

The agencies responsible are the Ministry of Industry, Energy, and Mining (MIEM) and the Technological Laboratory of Uruguay (LATU).
- Scientific metrology: The LATU is the depositary of the national standards and has agreements with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the Physakalische-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) and the Institute of Metrology, Standardization and Industrial Quality (INMETRO).
- Legal metrology: This area is developed by LATU, by delegation of the MIEM.
- Industrial metrology: LATU performs calibrations of instruments and equipment which are important to the industry and to the certification of testing.

The National Autonomous Metrology Service (SANAMET), under the Ministry of Development, has as its objective to foster, develop, promote, and consolidate the metrological infrastructure so as to promote growth in the area of measurements and guarantee their reliability and to facilitate interrelations with the industrial sectors of health, research, commerce, and education, so as to obtain goods and services of enhanced quality that assure their competence and reliability, so as to benefit the user and/or consumer. To attain this objective the law requires abiding by and enforcing the Law on Metrology and other relevant legal provisions; to establish national programs on metrology; to ensure the use and dissemination of the International System of Units (SI); to assay and seal weights and measures and inspect instruments of measurement used in commercial, industrial, and health activities; to cover the industry's needs for calibration, and to provide technical assistance to industry.

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