Health and sanitation go hand-in-hand, particularly when it comes to commercial properties. Regardless of what industry you’re in – from restaurants to retail stores to administrative offices – you and your staff’s health is dependent on how hygienic your place of business is.
The cleanliness of a commercial property is so important that local laws are created to ensure that they follow sanitation codes. Thus, many businesses opt to hire the services of a professional commercial sanitation firm to ensure that they pass regularly scheduled inspections. Of course, as any seasoned businessman will tell you, sometimes health inspectors will find something wrong even under the most rigorous cleaning routine.
Here’s what you can do to prepare for health inspections and what to do to avoid any Notices of Violation.
Preparation is always the key when it comes to most things in business. We’re sure you didn’t start your business without any sort of plan in place. You should tackle your workplace’s health and safety in the same way.
- Have your own internal sanitation audit. Ever go into the rest room at a restaurant and see a chart that shows when was the last time it was cleaned? This is a good way for the company to know that the bathrooms are cleaned regularly and for the patron to have that same peace of mind. Doing your own regular sanitation audits ensures that you’re always ready for when a health inspector will come to check your premises.
- Observe the times a health inspector comes. Health inspectors are required to check commercial properties regularly. Their schedule would often depend on the local laws per state. Check with your local government office the number of times health inspectors must come by your workplace. They might not give you the exact time, but they’re obligated to tell you the frequency of their visit.
- Check your exteriors. Don’t be complacent and think that health and sanitation officers only check inside your property. Be aware of what the safety and sanitation codes are for the front and back of your building or you could unknowingly be breaking these rules. And we’re not just talking about trash, either. The placement of some outdoor signages could also be going against code.
How to Avoid a Notice of Violation
If you truly are in violation of a particular code, you need not fret as most of the time, the process of taking care of the notice is fairly straightforward as long as you make a commitment to change or repair what the notice was made for. Things could escalate if you are a repeat offender, so it’s best to avoid the notice of violation all together.
- Verify the code compliance officer’s credentials. Inspectors would normally offer this to you voluntarily, but if they don’t, you should not be afraid to ask. If things seem iffy, call your local officials’ office to verify their identity.
- Follow them around. Don’t let them inspect the place on their own. It’s your right as the business owner to be there when they start inspecting. It would also give you the chance to fix violations on the spot. Inspectors would typically give you credit for that and mark the violation as fixed on the spot.
- Ask for an explanation. You verified their identity. You followed them around like a hawk. You fixed potential violations on the spot. Yet at the end of their visit, they still slap you with a notice. If you’re unsure as to what the violation is, don’t hesitate to ask. Consult your lawyer if they refuse to answer your question or if you think the violation is uncalled for.