Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Weights and measures officials, industry tackle emerging issues

Jerry Buendel
Weights & Measures 

You might think that things don’t change much in weights and measures work. After all, a pound still weighs out at 16 ounces.

Jerry Buendel
Government regulators and industry business leaders, however, have a lot on their plate as they respond to new technologies, emerging threats to consumers and fair competition in selling their products and services. At last month’s meeting of the National Conference on Weights and Measures in Denver, the list of topics was long.

Taxi meter codes were updated. Regulations governing the use of GPS systems used by Uber, Lyft and similar enterprises were discussed. And while most of us run our vehicles on gasoline or diesel, regulations for the sale of compressed and liquefied natural gas and hydrogen vehicle fuels were passed by members. Conference attendees were also offered training on a worrisome new crime—credit card skimmers. We’ve even had card skimmers at work at Washington’s gas stations. Fortunately, they were caught and prosecuted.

These are some of the same issues I’ve been involved in as program manager for WSDA’s Weights and Measures Program.  I had the privilege of serving as chairman of the National Conference on Weights and Measures (NCWM) this past year and continue to be impressed by the cooperation between government and industry in developing sound regulations.

WSDA Weights and Measures

Inspector tests fuel accuracy at gas station
There are benefits being involved with regional and national organizations. I’ve been able to get specialized training for my field staff from the experts at the National Institute of Standards and Technology as well as improve my network of industry contacts. Our motor fuel quality manager has been a part of that too.  He has participated in the meetings as a committee member on motor fuel quality standards.  While I was out of my Olympia office because of commitments to the NCWM, our supervisors stepped up and took the initiative to work cooperatively, plan and solve problems and assist their Washington customers.

My program has 14 field inspectors, the state metrologist and support staff. Many of you may have seen our state stickers on fuel meters and grocery scales. If you ever have a problem with a weights or measures issue, you can reach us at (360) 902-2035 or e-mail us at