Tips and Tricks to Survive Your Next Medical Inspection
Your first small business health inspection is likely to be in the food service sector. It can be stressful, especially if this is your first time going through an inspection. Ray Walters from Walts Tavern gave me some tips on how to pass inspections.
A difficult start
Walters faced a difficult introduction to health inspections once he had opened the door for the first time. “Our front door was unlocked accidentally even though it was closed,” Walters explains. “She caught me off guard and I was really amazed at what she observed.”
Walters was lectured by an inspector for having raw wood visible at his bar. Walters was initially puzzled by the fact that people would not eat straight from the bar. However, he soon realized that the rules were important to follow in order to avoid any future trouble.
Learning About the System
Walters recalls that “after that difficult first visit, it was clear I needed to prepare more.” He went straight to his local Department of Health. “They were very helpful and gave me a checklist of everything I should do before my next inspection. Our situation was much improved the next time our inspector visited.
Walters also suggests that business owners consult their health inspectors when they spot a problem during inspections. He explains, “When you ask for assistance, you give the inspector ownership over the problem and they want you to succeed.” “One time, they had to write us up about the lighting in the bathroom. I asked for their assistance and they advised me to switch to a 50-watt light bulb. I did that, and the next inspection was flawless.”
Trouble spots may not always be what you expected
Walters discovered that small business health inspections can cover more than you would expect. This can surprise you. His inspectors were particularly focused on lighting conditions in restaurants and the condition of the bathrooms. Walters states, “I am surprised at some details they look at. But whenever they ask me for something I make sure that it is taken care of.”
Inspections depend on the Inspector
Walters has not seen any change in the standards of the small business inspection. He does admit that inspections can be affected by the individual who is running them. He says that he has had four different health inspectors. They all did things differently. They each have their own points and they take them all seriously. Walters recommends that business owners know the patterns of each health inspector so they can be more efficient in future inspections.
Fear and dread should not be the reason for a health inspection. You’ll be prepared for your next inspection by following these tips and understanding safety and health rules applicable to your industry and organization.