Don’t be scared—an inspection isn’t always a bad thing. Someone is just checking to be sure that you have the appropriate plans, procedures and permits in place, and that they are understood and being followed.
Being prepared and ready for an inspection can help relieve some of the anxiety. You can be better prepared for audits and inspections by doing the following:
- Creating an inspection team that is trained and whose members know their responsibilities
- Members may include plant managers, corporate managers, compliance officers, security personnel and legal counsel
- Determine who will accompany an inspector, who will take notes and pictures, etc.
- Maintaining paperwork, including:
- Contact lists
- Training records
- Written plans
- Providing training
- Employees should know what processes are in place and how to follow them as well as where permits and other regulatory paperwork is kept
- Managers and first-line contacts (like security guards and receptionists) should know who to call when an inspector arrives
- Anyone involved with the inspection team should be trained on how to communicate with inspectors (respectfully, without speculating, etc.) and what information or paperwork should be shared
- Understanding the reasons why an inspector could be onsite. There are four types of inspections:
Conducting mock audits that mimic what could happen during an inspection are another way to be prepared. The more comfortable everyone is with pulling samples, retrieving records and speaking with an inspector, the easier it will be to satisfy the inspector’s needs and possibly limit the scope of an inspection.
You tell us: Are you prepared for an EPA inspection? Let us know in the comments section below how you prepare!