What is the OIML?
The International Organization of Legal Metrology (OIML) is an intergovernmental treaty organization whose membership includes Member States, countries which participate actively in technical activities, and Corresponding Members, countries which join the OIML as observers. It was established in 1955 (see the Convention) in order to promote the global harmonization of legal metrology procedures. Since that time, the OIML has developed a worldwide technical structure that provides its Members with metrological guidelines for the elaboration of national and regional requirements concerning the manufacture and use of measuring instruments for legal metrology applications.
According to 2007 World Bank figures, OIML Members cover in total an astounding 86 % of the world's population and 96 % of its economy.
Definition of Legal Metrology
(OIML Publication D 1)
Legal metrology comprises all activities for which legal requirements are prescribed on measurement, units of measurement, measuring instruments and methods of measurement, these activities being performed by or on behalf of governmental authorities, in order to ensure an appropriate level of credibility of measurement results in the national regulatory environment.
It applies not only to trading parties, but also to the protection of individuals and society as a whole (e.g. law enforcement, health and safety measurements).
Legal metrology generally includes provisions related to units of measurement, to measurement results (e.g. prepackages) and to measuring instruments. These provisions cover the legal obligations related to the measurement results and the measuring instruments, as well as the legal control which is performed by or on behalf of the government.
The OIML develops model regulations, International Recommendations, which provide Members with an internationally agreed-upon basis for the establishment of national legislation on various categories of measuring instruments. Given the increasing national implementation of OIML guidelines, more and more manufacturers are referring to OIML International Recommendations to ensure that their products meet international specifications for metrological performance and testing.
The main elements of an International Recommendation are Scope, application and terminology; Metrological requirements; Technical requirements; Methods and equipment for testing and verifying conformity to requirements; and the Test report format.
OIML Draft Recommendations and Documents are developed by Technical Committees or Subcommittees which are formed by the Member States. Certain international and regional institutions also participate on a consultation basis.