Every business is subject to inspections, but not every business is ready to be inspected. Businesses are subject to inspections by the IRS, OSHA, local and state entities and federal agencies and departments at any time.
Compliance with these governing bodies is crucial for the health of a company, and failure to comply could result in costly fines and possible closure of an establishment. Therefore, it’s vital to companies’ long-term success to prepare for inspections before they happen.
Get Personnel Ready for Inspections and Audits
The first step to prepare for an inspection is informing employees, personnel and company representatives that the company is subject to planned and unplanned reviews by governing bodies.
Start by designating an employee as an onsite representative for all inspectors who visit the business. This employee should have a general understanding of health and safety laws and access to any records pertinent to the situations. Safety managers or maintenance supervisors are both ideal roles to designate as an onsite representative to escort inspectors.
Prepare Employees With Scheduled Training
Adequately preparing and training employees on health and safety regulations will develop the business for future inspections. Employees should be well-informed on their responsibility in maintaining a cleanly workspace as well as their role in keeping everyone safe.
Educating employees on safety procedures, regulations and proper working conditions will prepare the company for success with future inspections. Scheduled training can provide the company safety manager or maintenance supervisor with the time to educate everyone on the expectations of their specific roles.
Schedule Regular Internal Inspections
The best way to prepare for inspections from outside agencies is to conduct internal inspections on a regularly scheduled basis. Assign the designated company representative to schedule regular inspections of all the equipment, machinery and employees during regular operating hours, or even hire a Certified Internal Auditor to make sure your financial data is up to date and secure.
Proactive internal reviews provide businesses with the opportunity to find potential hazards or unsafe areas before an external inspector finds them. After identifying hazardous or unsafe areas, take the necessary steps to resolve the situation.
During internal inspections, pay close attention to equipment and machinery. Find potentially dangerous areas that could hurt an employee and set new procedures in place to protect the personnel working on the machinery.
Review employee common areas such as kitchens, bathrooms and lounge areas to ensure that they’re clean and orderly. Scheduling recurring cleaning of employee common areas will go a long way toward avoiding a health or safety compliance issue.
What to Do During an Inspection
When an inspection happens, whether planned or unplanned, be prepared for the process. First, verify the identity and credentials of the inspector. The individual who is performing the inspection must provide the proper paperwork and identification. Once the individual is approved, notify the onsite company representative to escort the inspector around the facility.
While the inspector is working, keep notes, photos and information about what’s happening for the company records. You should answer any questions the inspector asks during the process, but it isn’t necessary to offer any unsolicited insights into the company. After the inspection, ask for a review of any potential violations or safety hazards they found while touring the facility.
After an Inspection Happens
After an inspection, the individual who performed the inspection will submit a review. The review will either validate that the company is operating in a safe and healthy space or list violations identified during the inspection.
If there are violations listed, the company has the right to appeal the process. The appeal process will be specific to the entity that submitted the breach. If the inspector finds no violations, discuss the process with employees to explain what went well and go over potential improvement areas.
Preparation for future inspections will decrease the possibility of violations being found by an inspector. Preparing ahead of time will save you time, energy and money that would be lost if violations were filed for noncompliance with health and safety laws. Most importantly, preparing for inspections will allow your business to keep its employees safe and free from injury.