Receiving notification that your company is due for an FAA Drug Abatement Program inspection can, at first, seem daunting. A comprehensive inspection will examine all aspects of your company’s drug abatement program and require a substantial commitment of time and resources. With proper preparation, however, you and your team can be confident that you are ready to work through the process.
Here are some key steps to take in preparation for an FAA Drug Abatement Program inspection. (Learn more in FAA Drug Abatement Program Best Practices).
Approach the inspection with its ultimate purpose in mind
Keep in mind that the purpose of the FAA Drug Abatement Program is to ensure the safety of the traveling public and everyone working in the aviation industry.
Safety is everyone’s responsibility. Keeping this in mind will help your team focus on the positive reasons for going through an inspection and avoid getting caught up in the hassle of the inspection process.
Find out the scope of the inspection up front
Will you be going through a comprehensive inspection or a focused inspection? If it’s a focused inspection, what aspects of your drug abatement program will be examined? Is the inspection being scheduled in response to a particular issue or concern?
Determine the scope of the inspection up front, when you receive notice of the inspection. Contact the FAA Drug Abatement team if the scope is not clear from the notice you receive or you if have other questions.
Use what you find out to prepare for the inspection. While it’s a good idea to review all aspects of your drug abatement program during your preparation, you want to pay particular attention to those aspects you know the inspectors will be focusing on.
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Gather your inspection team
You want to identify the specific people who will participate in the inspection. This team may include your company rep, service agents, and legal representation. These are the people who will be working directly with the inspectors. Your team needs to know the scope of the inspection and understand their roles in it.
- Make sure you and your team are up-to-date on the latest regulations
- Check for changes to regulations since your last inspection.
- If needed make updates to your processes and paperwork so that they meet the current regulations.
Make sure that your team, the people who will be working directly with the inspectors, know and understand the current regulations. This will help them respond to the inspectors’ questions with confidence.
Inform everyone that an inspection is coming
Let everyone in your company know, not just the team working directly with the inspectors. This will give you a chance to set the tone for the inspection. It’s focus is to ensure safety.
This also gives you a chance to set ground rules for the employees’ conduct during the inspection. Maybe you want an inspection team member to be present whenever an employee is talking with an inspector. Or, perhaps you don’t want the inspectors to be walking through your facility without being escorted. All of your employees need to know the ground rules and how to handle any unexpected situations that arise diplomatically.
Remind everyone to be careful what they say during the inspection and answer the question asked. They don’t want to inadvertently admit to any potential problems because they didn't think through what they were saying. And, they also don’t want to lie or misrepresent anything.
Let all of your service agents know that an inspection is coming. The work they do for your company will in all likelihood be examined as part of the inspection. They need to know this and be prepared to respond to any questions the inspectors have.
Do a practice run before the actual inspection
A practice run of the inspection gives you an opportunity to catch and correct any compliance problems before the actual inspection. (Learn more in What Is An FAA Drug Abatement Program Inspection?)
Also, conducting a walk through helps your inspection team and employees become familiar with and comfortable with the inspection process.
Both of these will help things run more smoothly when the actual inspection happens.
Revise your drug abatement processes, as needed, after the practice run
Revising your drug abatement program before the actual inspection, when needed, can help you avoid having a finding. It also strengthens your drug abatement program and helps ensure that you and your team are doing your part in maintaining safety.
Participate in the inspection with confidence
With the proper preparation you and your team can approach any FAA Drug Abatement Program inspection with confidence. Everyone will know what to expect and what they need to do to help get through the inspection. More importantly, everyone will know that their efforts are valuable because they help ensure the safety of the travelling public and everyone working in aviation.