What would happen if a regulator showed up at your doorstep this afternoon? Would personnel working at the entrance to your facility be prepared, know who to contact, and how to proceed in order to get the inspection started off on the right track?
It is a good idea to discuss how to handle unannounced regulatory inspections with key personnel, including the reception staff that will be the first to interact with regulators as well as the personnel that would be called upon to tour the facility with regulators. Walking through the documentation for various program elements is a critical step to take with all individuals that might be part of an unannounced regulatory inspection. Remember to have back up personnel informed as well as the primary contacts. If you implemented this practice three years ago, take the time to revisit the regulatory guidance you put into place at that time. As your EHS program evolves over time, you want to be sure to update the inspection guidance to reflect current practices and documentation.
And remember all staff should be trained to challenge individuals attempting to gain access to your facility. Some regulators will attempt to gain unauthorized access as part of their inspection, which does not set the stage for a smooth inspection if they are successful!