“To Inspect or not to inspect that is the question (Do I document?)”
I have been asked the question as of late whether or not inspections are required for different things. Now of course depending on the state you work in and the requirements around a particular area of environmental management than you will need to get pretty specific around whether or not you are required to inspect things like Satellite accumulation areas for hazardous waste, Main accumulation areas, tanks, etc.
On the subject of inspections that you are not required to complete, people ask me all the time whether or not they should inspect (and document) their findings. In today’s age where regulations and their regulators have such varying opinion in makes all the sense in world to inspect and log all of your findings. I mean this from the perspective of having a great program. Without inspections you risk not knowing the full detail and quality of a particular program. The overall goal is to have true compliance right???? Without inspecting, documenting, analyzing, and deciphering your areas of compliance you will never have a good idea on how well (or how poorly) you have made out.
Having the ability to track compliance and build on poor compliance is the key to what all regulators secretly want to see. If you have a mechanism in place and it is being followed to the highest standard than odds are you are not only going to have a truly compliant system, but if you have a slight mishap your likely to be able to put in place the needed steps to correct and better your individual program (and regulators will see that too).
Here in lies a new concept that’s not a new concept at all “creating a feedback loop”. Give yourself the opportunity to be able to take your results and either make changes if they’re poor results, or (and here is the better of the two) if they are great results pat yourself on the back and let people know.
Using good data like this gives you the opportunity to:
• Showcase your talents as a leader
• Acknowledge peers and co-workers
• Look good in front of your boss
• Obtain and maintain larger budgets based on the data you receive ( to get more done)
• Let the institution know that you are here to “do the right thing” and do it well
So all in all similar to what a Joint Commission inspector would say - “If it’s not documented, it hasn’t been done" – Is a good way to manage your inspection programs. Please feel free to contact me with questions anytime and about all topics.