Daren Hansen - Sr. DOT Editor, J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.
February 28 , 2020
Are You Prepared for an Off-Site Audit?
FMCSA's use of off-site audits increased over 300% between 2018 and 2019. Learn more about how an off-site audit is conducted and how you should respond with our FREE guide. Plus, receive a complimentary Compliance Review with one of our Compliance Specialists.
FMCSA is significantly expanding its use of “off-site” audits, but you can avoid one by approaching your compliance program in the same manner as the auditors do.
Off-site audits, sometimes called a “desk audit,” take place at the enforcement agency’s offices. This type of audit allows the agency to review more companies than it otherwise might be able to, as auditors can perform multiple off-site reviews at the same time.
Off-site audits, which began as a pilot program and has slowly expanded across the country, arose in tandem with the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program. CSA provides enforcement agencies with a prioritized list of the motor carriers with the worst safety records so that they can be targeted with audits and investigations.
As a motor carrier, you should be prepared if you receive a notice of an off-site audit. Of course, auditors look for violations of the safety regulations, but they want to understand why violations are occurring and what needs to happen to prevent future violations and crashes.
In part, auditors rely on the Safety Management Cycle (SMC) to help them determine what safety management processes might be breaking down, why they’re breaking down, and how they can be fixed.
Choosing to use the SMC now puts you on the right path to avoiding an audit entirely, and at a minimum, prepares your compliance program in case FMCSA selects you.
The Safety Management Cycle evaluates six areas of your operation to find the root of any compliance problem:
An off-site audit that reveals extensive problems can escalate into an on-site compliance review. A poor compliance review can result in an Unsatisfactory safety rating, significant fines, higher insurance rates, harm to your public image, and the complete loss of your right to operate commercial vehicles. That’s good incentive to use the SMC to build a rock-solid compliance program in place before you show up on the DOT’s radar.
Assess your risk of facing – and failing – an audit with our FREE 44-page DOT Audit Workbook. This powerful workbook covers each BASIC in light of FMCSA’s Safety Management Controls, helping you determine your audit readiness and providing guidance to improve your compliance program.
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