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An inspection is, most generally, an organized examination or formal evaluation exercise. In engineering activities inspection involves the measurements, tests, and gauges applied to certain characteristics in regard to an object or activity. The results are usually compared to specified requirements and standards for determining whether the item or activity is in line with these targets. Inspections are usually non-destructive.
A 2007 Scottish Government review of scrutiny of public services (the Crear Review, 2007) defined inspection of public services as "... periodic, targeted scrutiny of specific services, to check whether they are meeting national and local performance standards, legislative and professional requirements, and the needs of service users."
A surprise inspection tends to have different results than an announced inspection. Leaders wanting to know how others in their organization perform can drop in without warning, to see directly what happens. If an inspection is made known in advance, it can give people a chance to cover up or to fix mistakes. This could lead to distorted and inaccurate findings. A surprise inspection, therefore, gives inspectors a better picture of the typical state of the inspected object or process than an announced inspection. It also enhances external confidence in the inspection process. See section 4.12 of the Crear report.
Most fire equipment needs to be inspected to make sure in the event of a fire, every effort has been taken to make sure it doesn't get out of control. Extinguishers are to be inspected every month by law and inspected by a servicing company at least once a year. To help keep track of inspection dates and maintenance to be serviced the use of software can be used such as FlameTask. 
Inspection and quality control are the most important tools in today's corporate world. In international trade several destination countries require pre-shipment inspection. The importer instructs the shipper which inspection company should be used. The inspector makes pictures and a report to certify that the goods that are being shipped and produced are in accordance with the accompanying documents.
Commodity inspection is other term that is used between buyers and sellers. The scope of work for commodity inspection depends to the buyers. Some buyers hire the inspection agencies only for pre-shipment inspections i.e. visual quality, quantity, packing, marking and loading inspections and some others request for higher level inspections and ask inspection agencies to attend in the vendor shops and inspect commodities during manufacturing processes. Normally inspection is done based on an agreed inspection and test plan (ITP).
In government and politics, an inspection is the act of a monitoring authority administering an official review of various criteria (such as documents, facilities, records, and any other assets) that are deemed by the authority to be related to the inspection. Inspections are used for the purpose of determining if a body is complying with regulations. The inspector examines the criteria and talks with involved individuals. A report and evaluation follows such visits.
The Food Safety Inspection Service is charged with ensuring that all meat and egg products in the United States are safe to consume and accurately labeled. The Meat Inspection Act of 1906 authorized the Secretary of Agriculture to order meat inspections and condemn any found unfit for human consumption. The United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission is a regulatory body that inspects for weapons of mass destruction. The Scottish Commission for the Regulation of Care regulates and inspects care services in Scotland.
A vehicle inspection, e.g., an annual inspection, is a necessary inspection required on vehicles to conform with laws regarding safety, emissions, or both. It consists of an examination of a vehicle's components, usually done by a certified mechanic. Vehicles pass a pre-warranty inspection, if, and only if, a mechanic provide evidence for the proper working condition of the vehicle systems specified in the type of inspection.
Quality related inspection is an essential part of quality control.
A mechanical inspection is usually undertaken to ensure the safety or reliability of structures or machinery.
In Europe bodies involved in engineering inspection may be assessed by accreditation bodies according to ISO 17020 "General criteria for the operation of various types of bodies performing inspection". This standard defines inspection as "examination of a product, process, service, or installation or their design and determination of its conformity with specific requirements or, on the basis of professional judgment, with general requirements".
Non-destructive examination (NDE) or nondestructive testing (NDT) is a family of technologies used during inspection to analyze materials, components and products for either inherent defects (such as fractures or cracks), or service induced defects (damage from use). Some common methods are visual, industrial computed tomography scanning, microscopy, dye penetrant inspection, magnetic-particle inspection, X-ray or radiographic testing, ultrasonic testing, eddy-current testing, acoustic emission testing, and thermographic inspection. In addition, many non-destructive inspections can be performed by a precision scale, or when in motion, a checkweigher. Stereo microscopes are often used for examining small products like circuit boards for product defects.
A medical inspection is the thorough and unhurried visualization of a patient, this requires the use of the naked eye.
An examination vessel is a craft used to inspect ships entering or leaving a port during wartime.
A property inspection is the examination for purposes of evaluating a property's condition. In purchasing property, a "whole house inspection" tries to detect defects in the property.
Software inspection, in software engineering, refers to peer review of any work product by trained individuals who look for defects using a well defined process.
- United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS): law enforcement arm of the United States Postal Service.
- Review: Writings that discuss opinion on something, usually art or entertainment.
- Workers and Peasants Inspection: A Soviet government organization.
- Inspection phase: Judgements on knowledge of various subjects relating to events.
- Crerar, Professor Lorne D, September 2007 The Crerar Review: The report of the independent review of regulation, audit, inspection and complaints handling of public services in Scotland.
- "Inspection". Inspection.com.tr. Retrieved March 8, 2013.
- "Commodity Inspection Services. Retrieved on 02-18-2013". Inspection-for-industry.com. Retrieved February 18, 2013.
- Antaki, George (2005). Fitness-for-Service Evaluations for Piping and Pressure Vessels: ASME Code Simplified. McGraw-Hill. ISBN 978-0071453998.
- BS EN ISO/IEC 17020: "Conformity assessment - Requirements for the operation of various types of bodies performing inspection", pp. 1 (2012)
- Ben-Gal I., Herer Y. and Raz T. (2003). Self-correcting inspection procedure under inspection errors. IIE Transactions on Quality and Reliability, 34(6), pp. 529-540.