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Inspect This: The many uses of inspection data

Take a ride to understand inspection data. Megan Luther of IRE said.

Buckle up next to an inspector and get to know their world: how often they inspect, how do they do it? How often? Do they inspect everyone on a set timeline, or just the new kids on the block? What is the inspection process? How long does it take? Do they announce the inspections, or just pay surprise visits?

Get the forms, too. Pretend you’re a business-owner and take a mental trip through the inspection process. The structure of the forms translates into the structure of the data.

Need a story idea? Inspection data has a million faces.

For example, on a local level you can check out daycares, restaurants, school buses, elevators, escalators, fire codes, building codes, even city parks. At the state level, dive into pools, waterways, bridges, detention centers, and x-rays. At the federal level, you can use OSHA inspections to dig up dirt on construction, but it also includes occupational injuries at the ballet company, for example. Also look into nursing homes, USDA slaughterhouse inspections, medical facilities, buses and trucks.

Before you get on the loop-the-loop amusement park inspections can be found at the Consumer Product Safety Commission at

Before you fill your tank: check out your state’s Division of Weight and Measures for inspections of gas stations, retail stores and weight scales.

A good one stop shop for Department of Labor inspections, including OSHA and Wage and Hour data is

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