Environmental regulatory inspections aren’t slowing down any time soon. In fact, evidence suggests that manufacturers are seeing even more facility inspections and higher penalties these days. If inspectors showed up at your door today, would you be ready for them?
Whether you receive regular inspections or haven’t had one in years, it isn’t a matter of if it’s going to happen, but when. Being prepared starts with knowing the various ways an environmental inspection can be triggered on your facility. Here are the top five:
- Routine Inspections. These are typically focused on one area (e.g., air, waste, storm water). Regulatory agencies often employ advanced technologies to identify sites for inspection or follow materials of concern up (or down) the supply chain.
- Referrals. Inspectors from one area will sometimes notice potential areas of concern in other areas, then inform inspectors from the relevant departments.
- Report Discrepancies. If significant changes or inconsistencies appear in your facility’s environmental reporting from one period to the next, it can raise flags for regulators and trigger an inspection.
- Permit Status or Permit Changes. If you apply for a new permit status or make a change to an existing permit, inspectors might be prompted to visit your facility prior to approving the application.
- Public Notification. An agency might be prompted to visit your facility based on an incident report, a tip from a neighbor, a story in the media or some other third-party source.
What can you do to better prepare yourself for any of these triggers? We recommend three specific preparations:
- Develop an Environmental Compliance Monitoring System for your facility.
- Designate primary points of contact on-site.
- Conduct mock inspections or drills.
These steps will help make an environmental inspection a successful and low-stress event. For more information on what they involve, give U.S. Compliance a call at (952) 252-3000.