Weights and measures
Weighing and measuring equipment used by traders, for example petrol pumps, weights, tape measures, scales and beer glasses are regulated by law. The equipment needs to be accurate and suitable for its intended purpose.
Businesses can ensure that equipment is suitable for trade use by only purchasing government-approved equipment. There are two types of approved or verified equipment:
European CE marked
The CE mark is applied to equipment as a sticker.
UK stamped equipment is marked with a crown.
Trading Standards officers visit all types of businesses, including retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers, to check that the equipment being used is both suitable and accurate for the goods being sold or packed. This type of visit may be carried out following a consumer or trade complaint of short weight or measure.
Any equipment found to be inaccurate will have its CE mark or UK stamp removed and cannot be used again until tested and re-verified.
If your business needs any equipment tested for accuracy or verified and your usual supplier cannot provide the service then we may be able to do it for you. Please contact us for a fee quotation.
We do not charge for checking equipment during a routine market surveillance visit to a business.
If you are starting a new business and you need to weigh or measure goods then we can advise if your proposed equipment is going to be suitable.
For example, scales used for weighing cooking ingredients will not be legal to sell sweets in confectioners.
Checks businesses can make
Digital weighing machines are quite reliable but there are a number of checks you can make to keep them in tip-top condition and to avoid complaints being made:
- ensure that scales are kept on a solid level surface
- check that the display is showing zero before use
- keep the scale pan clean
- make sure consumers can see any weight or price display.
If you carry out a daily or weekly test using your own weights, then keep a record of these additional checks.
We are confident that the weights and measures we use to test businesses equipment are themselves accurate as they are periodically tested and compared back to the UK’s primary standards of weight and measure.