The term metrology is composed of Greek words “metron” (measure) and “logos'' (science). Metrology is the science of measurement.
There are three types of metrology.
Scientific or fundamental metrology deals with the organization and development of measurement standards. According to the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM), the scientific metrology activities cover the following fields:
- the mass;
- the length;
- time and frequency;
- the temperature;
- ionizing radiation;
- acoustics and the quantity of materials;
Industrial metrology ensures the proper functioning of measuring instruments used in industry.
Finally, legal metrology originates from the will by the State to ensure fair trade specifically in the field of weights and measures. Therefore, legal metrology is part of the science of measurement relating to the activities resulting from regulatory requirements and applying to measurements, measuring units, instruments, measurement methods. It is conducted by relevant bodies.
The main goal of legal metrology is to provide citizens with correct measurements when the measurement relates to trade,environmental protection, health and safety.
Legal metrology in Cameroon is the responsibility of the Ministry of Trade. The Administration in charge of legal metrology in Cameroon is divided between central, regional and divisional services.
Central Services which have national jurisdiction are responsible for:
- international affairs in the field of metrology;
- drafting laws, decrees and orders relating to metrology;
- approving the design of measuring instruments;
- auditing and monitoring high capacity measuring instruments ;
- calibrating tanks and tank cars (tankers);
- controlling prepackaged products in factories;
- issuing licenses to importers, manufacturers and repairers of measuring instruments;
- training personnel in metrology.
Regional Services are responsible for:
- verifying and monitoring small and medium capacity measuring instruments ;
- calibrating tankers;
- controlling prepackaged products in shops and supermarkets.
Finally, Divisional Services are responsible for controlling prepackaged products in markets.