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Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) Facility Inspections

Under the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS), an Authorization Inspection (AI) is conducted at covered facilities to verify and validate that the content listed in the facility’s security plan is accurate and complete and that existing and planned equipment, processes, and procedures are appropriate and sufficient to meet the established Risk-Based Performance Standards (RBPS) requirements.


Both Section 550 of the Homeland Security Appropriations Act of 2007, Pub. L. No. 109-295 § 550 (2006), and CFATS, 6 C.F.R. Part 27, provide authority for DHS to conduct authorization inspections. Specifically, 6 C.F.R. § 27.250(a) provides authority for the Department to enter, inspect, and audit the property, equipment, operations, and records of CFATS covered facilities.

The CFATS process includes completing a screening process or Top-Screen for potentially dangerous materials, identifying vulnerabilities through a Security Vulnerability Assessment (SVA), and developing a Site Security Plan (SSP) or Alternative Security Program (ASP). Through this process, the Department will determine whether or not facilities are high-risk. The acceptable layering of measures used to meet the RBPS will vary according to risk-based tiers ranging from Tier 1, which contains the highest-risk of covered facilities, to Tier 4, which contains the lowest-risk of covered facilities.

For facilities that are determined to be high-risk, the Department requires each of the facilities to comply with regulatory measures, including developing and implementing an SSP/ASP, which describes security measures (both physical and procedural). 

In order to ensure compliance with the SSP/ASP, the Department will conduct inspections and/or audits at each of the tiered facilities. The Department will inspect high-risk facilities at regular intervals with Tier 1 facilities being inspected first and more frequently. Inspectors from the Department may also inspect a facility at any time based on new information or security concerns. Depending on particular circumstances, the Department will provide facilities with a minimum of 24-hours advance notice for Compliance Inspections (CIs), unless specific security concerns or exigent circumstances demand immediate attention.

Facilities that have successfully implemented their approved SSP/ASP and have passed their inspection will be considered as compliant with the required performance standards.

Facilities not in compliance with CFATS regulation may be subject to a civil penalty. The CFATS Penalty Policy outlines the policies and procedures that the Department’s Infrastructure Security Compliance Division (ISCD) follows to assess civil penalties for chemical facilities found to be in violation of CFATS.

For further information, please refer to:

The Department is committed to meeting the letter and spirit of the CFATS regulation to enhance and ensure the security of the nation's chemical industry, a vital component of the nation's critical infrastructure.

Download a presentation on What to Expect from a CFATS Inspection.

Download a printer-friendly fact sheet on CFATS Compliance Inspections.

For more information about the CFATS program, please contact

Last Published Date: June 12, 2017

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