Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Purpose of Writing Inspection Reports

Purpose of Writing Inspection Reports
Writing inspection reports is an indispensable part of conducting inspections. The main purpose of writing such a report is to present and document the findings obtained from an inspection. The inspection report must be written clearly and depict all elements of the inspection vividly so that it becomes easy for the prospective audiences to read and understand. It is usual that some audiences will want to know the exact regulatory citations, language and technical issues from an inspection report. On the other hand, other audiences may want to know detailed information of the inspection so that they can note the trends of the report. Law enforcing agencies as well as prosecutorial agencies may require knowing specific details of violations noted in the report. They also may require the evidence obtained during the inspection. However, the inspection report, in all cases, serves to present and document the findings of the inspector to the reader. The aim of writing this article is to remind the inspectors that they should aware of the main purposes of writing an inspection report. However, the main purposes of writing inspection reports are given below and all inspectors should write their inspection reports:

1. To Examine Compliance
An inspection report may lead to an enforcement action at any time. In most cases, the failure of inspections to identify violations accelerates an immediate enforcement action. So, it is very important for the inspectors to write a complete inspection report. A complete inspection report enables an agency to keep the record of whether each business is in compliance with environmental regulations. Generally, compliance issues are not usual and may occur years after an inspection. In case of the occurrence of compliance issue, the inspection report becomes the first piece of evidence for lawsuit.

2. To Identify Repeat Violators
In some cases, the repetition of enforcement action is required against those businesses that are unruly or repeat violators. Inspectors should identify these unruly businesses or repeat violators by collecting and reviewing the compliance information of their past inspection reports. This compliance information gives an inspector the necessary insight into a business’s overall environmental management practices and helps him to take necessary actions.

3. To Present Accurate Information
Well-documented inspection reports provide the audiences with necessary information that allows them to quickly assess the regulatory status of the business. Such reports also allow them to determine whether the necessary enforcement actions have been taken or not.  In addition, agencies may use inspection reports to view the level of oversight that is required to assess the overall status.

4. To Keep Agency Record
An inspection report plays a significant role in keeping the record of the inspection findings. This record can be used as a basis to refresh the memory of an inspector for any required testimony.  Furthermore, agency records are frequently used during land transactions, epidemiological studies, site remediation, site closure, and other activities.

5. To Maintain Business Follow-up
The main purpose of writing a complete inspection report is to provide the business owner/operator with a clear and specific direction about the violations occurred and how to correct them. All the elements of an inspection report should be written in a simple and plain language so that anyone in the company can understand it and take necessary actions as the report suggests. This saves inspector's time as he/she need not explain details to the operator.