Frequently Asked Questions

What Our Clients Are Asking

Because of the complexities and ever-changing nature of compliance, safety, human resources, and environmental regulations, many of our clients come to us with similar questions. We would love to speak with you directly about our services to best determine how we can meet your needs but if you are looking for more immediate answers, check out the information below. Click on any of the FAQ’s to expand the answers. In addition to the Frequently Asked Questions, we will soon be providing updates on OSHA regulations, safety compliance, HR policy changes, ISNetworld, and other related regulatory and compliance topics. Visit our News section and subscribe to receive these updates.

FAQs Photo Credit - Oberazzi

  • How Do I Prepare For an OSHA Inspection?
    If you know in advance that you will be subject to an OSHA inspection, it is best to have a consultant on hand to assist with the process and prevent unnecessary exposure to liability. Clients of Blakeman & Associates should inform the inspector and ask them to wait until a representative that we dispatch arrives. Ask the OSHA compliance officer the reason for the inspection if they do not provide one voluntarily. In the event that an employee complaint prompted an investigation, the company is entitled to an explanation of the reason for the inspection and can request a copy of the complaint.During the inspection process, information will be exchanged, records may be requested, and a thorough walk-around will take place. It is best for the company to say as little as possible for liability and legal purposes and trust your consultant to be the primary communicator. At the end of the inspection, the OSHA compliance officer will conduct a conference to discuss “apparent violations” and note the rights and responsibilities of the company. In the event you are given a citation, it should be posted in the specified area. For more details about preparing for an OSHA inspection, what to expect, and how Blakeman & Associates can help you during the process, check out the full article here.
  • What is The Definition of a Commercial Motor Vehicle?
    According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), a “Commercial motor vehicle (CMV) means a motor vehicle or combination of motor vehicles used in commerce to transport passengers or property if the motor vehicle—(1) Has a gross combination weight rating or gross combination weight of 11,794 kilograms or more (26,001 pounds or more), whichever is greater, inclusive of a towed unit(s) with a gross vehicle weight rating or gross vehicle weight of more than 4,536 kilograms (10,000 pounds), whichever is greater; or(2) Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross vehicle weight of 11,794 or more kilograms (26,001 pounds or more), whichever is greater; or

    (3) Is designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver; or

    (4) Is of any size and is used in the transportation of hazardous materials as defined in this section.”

  • Do Older Machines Require Guards Like New Machines Do?
    Grainger shares insight on OSHA’s regulations regarding machine guards;

    “General requirement 1910.212 (a)(1) states that one or more methods of machine guarding must be used to protect operators and other employees from hazards including those created by point of operation, in-going nip points, rotating parts, flying chips and sparks.”

    This means ALL machines require guards, regardless of what age they are or their condition. Checking equipment for potential hazards is one of the most important aspects of ensuring workplace safety. For more information about how Blakeman & Associates can assist you with safety issues, click here.

  • What Should I Do When an Employee Reports Harassment?
    Harassment and discrimination in the workplace can be a serious issue if not dealt with properly. There are two types of legislature regarding harassment and discrimination: federal laws and state-specific laws. Companies should be aware of the regulations applicable in their state and be prepared to follow the procedures outlined in the event of an investigation. Based on the established process for handling reports, an employer can follow these tips on handling employee harassment reports:- Treat the complainer with respect and compassion
    – Don’t retaliate
    – Follow established procedures
    – Interview the people involved
    – Keep it confidential
    – Write it all down
    – Cooperate with government agencies
    – Take appropriate action against the wrongdoer(s)To help process employee complaints or reports related to harassment and discrimination, Blakeman & Associates offers an Employee Confidential Hotline Option (ECHO), which collects information from your employee and sends an anonymous report with the details to you. This allows employees an opportunity for indirect communication in dealing with sensitive incidents that they would otherwise be hesitant to address. For a more detailed explanation about the harassment and discrimination handling process, check out this article by on the subject or contact Blakeman & Associates to see how we can help with your HR needs.

  • Do Employees Need to Fill Out a New W-4 Every Year?
    Typically, employees only need to fill out a new W-4 if they are changing their withholdings information. Employees may submit changes to their W-4 withholdings at any time throughout the year but should make sure to use the most recent W-4 form. If you have any additional questions about employee tax regulations or related topics, contact one of Blakeman & Associates’ Human Resources Consultants.