The Oregon Department of Agriculture's (ODA) principle goal is to make sure that scales are reliable, accurate, and do not assist with fraud. The operator should be paid for what is sold and the buyer should receive what they paid for.
Placing a scale into service
A commercial scale is placed into service when the following actions are completed:
- The scale is evaluated for conformance to the specifications and tolerances found in NIST Handbook 44
- A completed placed in service report is filed with the ODA Weights and Measures Program
You may begin using the scale once the placed in service report (PISR) is complete. Next, an ODA investigator will receive notice of the new scale and will schedule an inspection to verify that it meets all requirements of a legal for trade scale. The investigator will provide instructions for licensing the scale. Continued use of the scale is contingent on maintaining a current license with ODA.
Using a scale
You are responsible for ensuring that your commercial scale meets the following criteria:
- Used in the manner intended by the manufacturer
- Suitable for each transaction
- Installed appropriately to ensure consistent and reliable weighing
- In good repair
- Displayed so the customer can accurately read the scale from a reasonable position without intervention by the scale operator
Additional requirements can be found in NIST Handbook 44 under user requirements.
See the five points to remember and retailer scale users documents below for more information.
Rejected scales are issued a rejection tag requiring the scale owner to correct the problem before returning the scale to commercial service. A rejected scale is illegal to use in commerce until the repair is complete. ODA tracks the repair tag to ensure that the problem is remedied in an acceptable manner.
You may use the scale once you have done the following:
- Completed the repair yourself or hired a service company
- Filled out and returned the rejection tag to ODA, indicating service was completed
If the repair tag is lost, you may complete and return a placed in service report (PISR) instead of returning the rejection tag. You should indicate on the PISR which repair was performed so that the repair can be cleared from the system. The investigator then will be notified and may return to verify that the repair was completed.
ODA does not recommend any service companies. Service companies are often able to help you with the following:
- Purchase an NTEP approved legal for trade weighing or measuring device
- Place a commercial device into service
- Calibrate and seal a commercial weighing or measuring device
- Service your commercial weighing or measuring device
When contacting a service company ask them if they are familiar with Oregon's weights and measures laws and whether or not they can help you complete the required placed-in-service report forms.
Packaging and tare
As an operator of a commercial scale, it is your responsibility to accurately account for any packaging material when weighing product. Tare must be taken so that the customer pays only for the weight of the product sold, not for the weight of the container.
Many scales provide automatic tare functions for certain products. You can verify that the proper tare is taken by first placing the empty container onto the scale and verifying that the scale reads zero before filling the container.
Legal requirements for packaging and labeling of products can be found in NIST Handbook 130 under uniform packaging and labeling regulation.