You’d be right in thinking it’s not as simple as buying a weighbridge and fulfilling all vehicle weighing needs.
There are special checks, certifications and validations required before you can begin to use your weighbridge for its intended purpose. However, what those are is not always clear.
Finding out your requirements and responsibilities is absolutely key to ensuring that your business is compliant and operating legally. So, what are the mandatory certifications, calibrations and verifications needed to be compliant with vehicle weighing?
In this article we'll explain everything you need to know about readying your weighbridge.
Where weighing and measuring instruments are intended to be used in the UK and Europe in legally controlled applications, the instrument must be “conformity assessed” to meet national regulations set by an NMO certification body.
This requirement covers any and all instruments which measure something. It spans from weighbridges and supermarket scales, all the way through to parking meters, utility meters, fuel dispensers and taximeters. It’s this certification body which ensures everything is measured as precisely as it can be.
Weighbridges must be certified to the Non-Automatic Weighing Instruments directive 2014/31/EU (NAWI). You can read more on this directive here.
Another required certification has little to do with the weighbridge itself but rather the weighbridge operator.
To operate a chargeable weighbridge, in other words a weighbridge which you charge people to use, your weighbridge operator must hold the relevant certificate and adhere to its conditions. This is sometimes referred to as a certificate of competence.
These conditions include weighing on demand and fairly, providing statements of weight and keeping a record of 2 years worth of weighing information, including dates, times, names, addresses, vehicle ID's and load types.
Failure to do so can result in a fine of up to £5,000 and 6 months imprisonment.
Whilst this is not a requirement for all weighbridge operators, it’s worth researching for your own application.
Whilst weighbridge calibration is not a legal requirement (unless you’re using it for trade, see below), it’s highly recommended.
Weighbridge calibration is exactly that, a calibration to ensure the weighbridge is accurately measuring the weight which is placed on it. Without a calibration (and accompanying certificate), you have no way of knowing whether your weighbridge is measuring correctly, or if you can rely on the measurements its producing.
If you’re relying on your weighbridge to ensure that your business vehicles remain compliant on the roads, you’d be risking multiple fines by not having it calibrated regularly.
A DVSA officer who pulls over your vehicle doesn’t care if your weighbridge or axle pads are compliant; they care what their scales measure at the time of weighing. It serves to have your weighing apparatus calibrated to avoid any potential problems.
Click here to speak to us about our weighbridge maintenance and calibration services.
Legal for Trade Verification
As highlighted above, there are no requirements to have your weighbridge calibrated, unless you’re using your vehicle for trade purposes. This is where you are using the weighbridge to measure the weight of a vehicle, which is then used for some kind of trade application. This is predominantly where the price of goods is dependent on the weight of the vehicle in some way or another.
In these scenarios it’s obvious why trade verification is important. You can’t charge someone £X based on weight, when you’re not 100% certain that they have received that weight of goods.
Legal for Trade verification is handled by Trading Standards to enforce the Weights and Measures Act 1985. Your local council is able to offer an Inspector of Weights and Measures to provide you with a verification, testing and calibration service for a small fee. This will legally make your weighbridge Legal for Trade.
For more information read our blog What is a Weighing Scales Calibration and Service?