Hello Mr. Inspector…

If you are an owner or a tenant of commercial premises, you may be subject to inspections of the state authorities from time to time.

No matter how well your business is organized, inspections may cause problems both great and small. The common knowledge is that one can't avoid inspections, and it may be difficult to prepare for one; however, adverse consequences related to inspections may be reduced if your employees know how to act and what to do during the inspection.

If a group of inspectors shows up at your office, we recommend for your employees to abide by the following rules:

First of all, give immediate notice of the beginning of an inspection to the manager or other officers.

In the absence of officers or representatives of the legal entity in question, give verbal notice of the said fact to the officers performing the inspection and then incorporate this circumstance in writing into the Inspection Report. Performing scheduled inspections in the absence of officers or representatives of the legal entity in question is prohibited by law.

Request the representative of the state authorities to produce an inspection order and an officer's ID.

Make a photocopy of the said order (or copy by hand).

Take note of a name of the authority that issued the inspection order and the person that signed the said document.

An inspection order is to be signed by the head or the deputy head of the relevant state authority.

Take note of the officer performing the inspection, since the inspection may be performed only by the officers named in the inspection order.

Find out from the inspection officers the objectives, subject matter, and tasks of the inspection.

Find out what the type of inspection is being conducted (whether it is a scheduled or unscheduled one).

If the inspection is a scheduled one, check the inspection record book as to whether a similar inspection has been performed over the preceding two years, since scheduled inspections of a single legal entity by each state control (or supervision) authority may be implemented no more than once in two years. In respect to small businesses, scheduled inspections may be implemented no earlier than three years following the state registration of such small business.

In the event of an unscheduled inspection, the inspection order must contain grounds for performing the inspection (for instance, control over the execution of instructions to rectify violations discovered during a scheduled inspection, information from third parties regarding emergencies, public complaints, or complaints of legal entities).

Take note of the scheduled inspection date.

The duration of an inspection must not exceed one month from the scheduled date. In exceptional cases, the term for performing an inspection may be extended, but not by more than one month.

If an inspection order does not comply with the above requirements, give verbal notice on the illegitimacy of the actions of the officers performing such inspection. Subsequently, such revealed violations should be specified in writing in the Inspection Report.

At the time of inspection, request the officers to provide clarifications on the issues associated with the subject of inspection, as well as related information.

A manager and other authorized individuals are entitled to provide officers with explanations only on those issues that pertain to the subject of the inspection and only to the extent of their own authority.

When conducting an inspection, the officers from the state control/supervision bodies are not entitled to:

• examine aspects outside the powers of the body conducting the inspection;

• request documents and information unrelated to the subject of inspection, or withdraw original copies of documents related to the subject of inspection;

• exceed time frames established for the relevant inspection.

Upon results of the inspection, an Inspection Report (and 'Act') must be drawn up in accordance with the established form, in two originals.

If no Inspection Report is drawn up, the inspection is deemed invalid as if it had not taken place. The Inspection Report should specify information on results of the inspection; revealed breaches; liable individuals; information on whether a representative of the legal entity has read and signed the Inspection Report or refused to read and/or sign it.

The Inspection Report should have attached protocols/reports on conducted inspection/tests and expert examinations, explanations from officers of the state control/supervision bodies and/or from employees held liable for breaching mandatory requirements, and other documents or copies thereof related to the results of the inspection.

Read the Inspection Report and state in it in writing your comments on the breaches revealed in the course of inspection. Indicate the fact of having read the Inspection Report, note your agreement or disagreement with the results of the inspection, as well as with the certain actions of officers of state bodies (for instance, if a foreigner who is a representative of the company was not provided with an interpreter or if representatives of the legal entity were not explained their respective rights and obligations, etc.).

Upon completion of the inspection, receive one original of the Inspection Report with copies of attachments (to be served to the manager of the legal entity or the deputy or representatives against their signature).

As we have already stated, avoiding inspections is not possible, but you can prepare for them.

In order to minimize the adverse consequences of inspections, remember the following:

Appoint individuals responsible for compliance with the statutory rules and regulations (for example, an individual responsible for fire safety).

Keep due records of inspections (to establish dates and types of inspections conducted in relation to your company).

Use official information on time frames and goals of scheduled inspections, published on official web sites of state bodies (for example, official site of the sanitary and epidemiological control body).

Additionally, remember this:

Most frequent types of inspections are those of construction supervision, sanitary and epidemiological control; state fire safety supervision; and state mining and industry control. Also, lately the bodies of the Ministry of Emergencies have been conducting inspections (to inspect operation of civil defense structures).

Good Luck!