Inspection violations come in a variety of formats. In most cases, if it is a minor first violation and you take the necessary steps to correct the issue, you won’t receive a fine. If you do receive a fine for a first time offense, it will likely be minimal.
Because of this, you probably will not need an attorney to respond to the violation, unless the fine and level of seriousness is substantial, or you would prefer for a lawyer to handle the bureaucracy side of resolving the violation.
However, first and foremost, before you get anyone else involved, take some time to review the violation. Look at what it says. See if the charge is correct based on the operations within your facility. Read up on the code that the violation references. Begin formulating a plan to address the violation. Gather up all of the information from your inspection report — interviews, documents, evidence — and figure out the answers to the following questions.
• Does the violation include a fine? If so, you’ll want to fix the noncompliance as soon as possible. It isn’t uncommon for agencies to make return visits or to share information with other agencies — and the penalty goes up if you receive a repeat violation.
• What is the timeline for an appeal? If you think the violation is unwarranted, you will have the option to appeal. However, appeals typically follow a very strict timeframe, so you’ll need to be on top of this process from the very beginning. There will also likely be very specific procedures you have to follow or the appeal will automatically be denied.
• What actions do you need to take to become compliant? When resolving a violation, it is always best to be proactive. If you need more time to respond to a violation notice, be as up front as possible with an inspector and ask for more time. When you demonstrate that you are actively working to resolve an issue, an inspector will be more likely to work with you. Set a schedule to become compliant, then stick to it.
• What changes do you need to make to your pre-planning procedures? Now that you are through an inspection and have fixed any noncompliance, it’s time to reflect on your pre-planning procedures. Consider what changes you need to make to be more prepared for your next inspection.
Above all, remember this: if you’ve received a violation, you can’t just ignore it. Noncompliance issues must be fixed promptly and thoroughly, or the consequences could become much more severe. Stay tuned to learn Walden’s best tips for how to prepare for and survive an inspection.
Click here to download our full inspection preparation guide, “When Government Visits: How to Prepare For and Survive an Inspection.”
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