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Notice

Proposed Agency Information Collection Activities; Comment Request

Action

Notice.

Summary

In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 and its implementing regulations, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) hereby announces that it is seeking approval of the following information collection activities. Before submitting these information collection requirements for clearance by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), FRA is soliciting public comment on specific aspects of the activities identified below.

 

Table of Contents Back to Top

DATES: Back to Top

Comments must be received no later than August 10, 2007.

ADDRESSES: Back to Top

Submit written comments on any or all of the following proposed activities by mail to either: Mr. Robert Brogan, Office of Safety, Planning and Evaluation Division, RRS-21, Federal Railroad Administration, 1120 Vermont Ave., NW., Mail Stop 25, Washington, DC 20590, or Ms. Gina Christodoulou, Office of Support Systems, RAD-43, Federal Railroad Administration, 1120 Vermont Ave., NW., Mail Stop 35, Washington, DC 20590. Commenters requesting FRA to acknowledge receipt of their respective comments must include a self-addressed stamped postcard stating, “Comments on OMB control number 2130-New.” Alternatively, comments may be transmitted via facsimile to (202) 493-6230 or (202) 493-6170, or via e-mail to Mr. Brogan at robert.brogan@dot.gov, or to Ms. Christodoulou at gina.christodoulou@dot.gov. Please refer to the assigned OMB control number or collection title in any correspondence submitted. FRA will summarize comments received in response to this notice in a subsequent notice and include them in its information collection submission to OMB for approval.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Back to Top

Mr. Robert Brogan, Office of Planning and Evaluation Division, RRS-21, Federal Railroad Administration, 1120 Vermont Ave., NW., Mail Stop 25, Washington, DC 20590 (telephone: (202) 493-6292) or Ms. Gina Christodoulou, Office of Support Systems, RAD-43, Federal Railroad Administration, 1120 Vermont Ave., NW., Mail Stop 35, Washington, DC 20590 (telephone: (202) 493-6139). (These telephone numbers are not toll-free.)

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Back to Top

The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA), Pub. L. No. 104-13, § 2, 109 Stat. 163 (1995) (codified as revised at 44 U.S.C. 3501-3520), and its implementing regulations, 5 CFR part 1320, require Federal agencies to provide 60-days notice to the public for comment on information collection activities before seeking approval by OMB. 44 U.S.C. § 3506(c)(2)(A); 5 CFR 1320.8(d)(1), 1320.10(e)(1), 1320.12(a). Specifically, FRA invites interested respondents to comment on the following summary of proposed information collection activities regarding (i) whether the information collection activities are necessary for FRA to properly execute its functions, including whether the activities will have practical utility; (ii) the accuracy of FRA's estimates of the burden of the information collection activities, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used to determine the estimates; (iii) ways for FRA to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information being collected; and (iv) ways for FRA to minimize the burden of information collection activities on the public by automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology (e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses). See 44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A)(i)-(iv); 5 CFR 1320.8(d)(1)(i)-(iv). FRA believes that soliciting public comment will promote its efforts to reduce the administrative and paperwork burdens associated with the collection of information mandated by Federal regulations. In summary, FRA reasons that comments received will advance three objectives: (i) Reduce reporting burdens; (ii) ensure that it organizes information collection requirements in a “user friendly” format to improve the use of such information; and (iii) accurately assess the resources expended to retrieve and produce information requested. See 44 U.S.C. 3501.

Below is a brief summary of proposed new information collection activities that FRA will submit for clearance by OMB as required under the PRA:

Title: Collect Close Call Reports.

OMB Control Number: 2130-New.

Abstract: In the U.S. railroad industry, injury rates have been declining over the last 25 years. Indeed, the industry incident rate fell from a high of 12.1 incidents per 100 workers per year in 1978 to 3.66 in 1996. As the number of incidents has decreased, the mix of causes has also changed toward a higher proportion of incidents that can be attributed to human and organizational factors. This combination of trends—decrease in overall rates but increasing proportion of human factors-related incidents—has left safety managers with a need to shift tactics in reducing injuries to even lower rates than they are now.

In recognition of the need for new approaches to improving safety, FRA has instituted the Confidential Close Call Reporting System (C 3 RS). The operating assumption behind C 3 RS is that by assuring confidentiality, employees will report events which, if dealt with, will decrease the likelihood of accidents. C 3 RS, therefore, has both a confidential reporting component, and a problem analysis/solution component. C 3 RS is expected to affect safety in two ways. First, it will lead to problem solving concerning specific safety conditions. Second, it will engender an organizational culture and climate that supports greater awareness of safety and a greater cooperative willingness to improve safety.

If C 3 RS works as intended, it could have an important impact on improving safety and safety culture in the railroad industry. While C 3 RS has been developed and implemented with the participation of FRA, railroad labor, and railroad management, there are legitimate questions about whether it is being implemented in the most beneficial way, and whether it will have its intended effect. Further, even if C 3 RS is successful, it will be necessary to know if it is successful enough to implement on a wide scale. To address these important questions, FRA is implementing a formative evaluation to guide program development, a summative evaluation to assess impact, and a sustainability evaluation to determine how C 3 RS can continue after the test period is over. The evaluation is needed to provide FRA with guidance as to how it can improve the program, and how it might be scaled up throughout the railroad industry.

Program evaluation is an inherently data driven activity. Its basic tenet is that as change is implemented, data can be collected to track the course and consequences of the change. Because of the setting in which C 3 RS is being implemented, that data must come from the railroad employees (labor and management) who may be affected. Critical data include beliefs about safety and issues related to safety, and opinions/observations about the operation of C 3 RS.

The proposed study is a five-year demonstration project to improve rail safety, and is designed to identify safety issues and propose corrective action based on voluntary reports of close calls submitted to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Because of the innovative nature of this program, FRA is implementing an evaluation to determine whether the program is succeeding, how it can be improved and, if successful, what is needed to spread the program throughout the railroad industry. Interviews to evaluate the close call reporting system will be conducted with two groups: (1) Key stakeholders to the process (e.g., FRA officials, industry labor, and carrier management within participating railroads); and (2) Employees in participating railroads who are eligible to submit close call reports to the Confidential Close Call Reporting System. Different questions will be addressed to each of these two groups. Interviews will be semi-structured, with follow-up questions asked as appropriate depending on the respondent's initial answer.

Form Number(s): FRA F 6180.126A; FRA F 6180.126B.

Affected Public: Railroad Employees and Key Non-railroad Stakeholders.

Respondent Universe: 300 Select Railroad Employees/Non-railroad Stakeholders.

Frequency of Submission: On occasion.

Estimated Annual Burden: 267 hours.

Status: Regular Review.

Pursuant to 44 U.S.C. 3507(a) and 5 CFR 1320.5(b), 1320.8(b)(3)(vi), FRA informs all interested parties that it may not conduct or sponsor, and a respondent is not required to respond to, a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.

Authority: Back to Top

Issued in Washington, DC, on June 5, 2007.

D.J. Stadtler,

Director, Office of Budget, Federal Railroad Administration.

[FR Doc. E7-11154 Filed 6-8-07; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4910-06-P

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