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Design of Cave-in Protection Systems; Extension of the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) Approval of Information-Collection Requirements (Paperwork)

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

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Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Labor.


Request for public comment.


OSHA solicits comments concerning its request for an extension of the information-collection requirements contained in 29 CFR 1926.652 Requirements for Protective Systems.


Comments must be submitted by the following dates:

Hard Copy: Your comments must be submitted (postmarked or received) by February 7, 2005.

Facsimile and electronic transmission: Your comments must be received by February 7, 2005.


You may submit comments, identified by OSHA Docket No. ICR-1218-0137 (2005), by any of the following methods:

Regular mail, express delivery, hand-delivery, and messenger service: Submit your comments and attachments to the OSHA Docket Office, Room N-2625, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20210; telephone (202) 693-2350 (OSHA's TTY number is (877) 889-5627). The OSHA Docket Office and Department of Labor hours of operation are 8:15 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., ET.

Facsimile: If your comments, including any attachments, are 10 pages or fewer, you may fax them to the OSHA Docket Office at (202) 693-1648.

Electronic: You may submit comments through the Internet at http://ecomments.osha,gov/​. Follow instructions on the OSHA Webpage for submitting comments.

Docket: For access to the docket to read or download comments or background materials, such as the complete Information Collection Request (ICR) (containing the Supporting Statement, OMB-83-I Form, and attachments), go to OSHA's Webpage at Comments, submissions and the ICR are available for inspection and copying at the OSHA Docket Office at the address above. You may also contact Theda Kenney or Todd Owen at the address below to obtain a copy of the ICR.

(For additional information on submitting comments, please see the “Public Participation” heading in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this document.)

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Todd Owen or Theda Kenney, Directorate of Standards and Guidance, OSHA, Room N-3609, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20210; telephone (202) 693-2222.

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I. Submission of Comments on This Notice and Internet Access to Comments and Submissions

You may submit comments and supporting materials in response to this document by (1) hard copy, (2) FAX transmission (facsimile), or (3) electronically through the OSHA Webpage.

Because of security-related problems, there may be a significant delay in the receipt of comments by regular mail. Please contact the OSHA Docket Office at (202) 693-2350 (TTY (877) 889-5627) for information about security procedures concerning the delivery of materials by express delivery, hand delivery and messenger service.

All comments, submissions and background documents are available for inspection and copying at the OSHA Docket Office at the above address. Comments and submissions posted on OSHA's Webpage are available at Contact the OSHA Docket Office for information about materials not available through the OSHA Webpage and for assistance using the Webpage to locate docket submissions.

Electronic copies of this Federal Register notice as well as other relevant documents are available on OSHA's Webpage.

II. Background

The Department of Labor, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent (i.e., employer) burden, conducts a preclearance consultation program to provide the public with an opportunity to comment on proposed and continuing information-collection requirements in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA-95) (44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A)).

This program ensures that information is in the desired format, reporting burden (time and costs) is minimal, collection instruments are clearly understood, and OSHA's estimate of the information collection burden is accurate. The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (the Act) Start Printed Page 70711(29 U.S.C. 651 et seq.) authorizes information collection by employers as necessary or appropriate for enforcement of the Act or for developing information regarding the causes and prevention of occupational injuries, illnesses, and accidents (29 U.S.C. 657).

Paragraphs (b) and (c) of § 1926.652 (“Requirements for Protective Systems”; the “Standard”) contain paperwork requirements that impose burden hours or costs on employers. These paragraphs require employers to use protective systems to prevent cave-ins during excavation work; these systems include sloping the side of the trench, benching the soil away from the excavation, or using a support system or shield (such as a trench box). The standard specifies allowable configuration and slopes for excavations, and provides appendices to assist employers in designing protective systems. However, paragraphs (b)(3) and (b)(4) of the Standard permit employers to design sloping or benching systems based on tabulated data (Option 1), or to use a design approved by a registered professional engineer (Option 2).

Under Option 1, employers must provide the tabulated data in a written form that also identifies the registered professional engineer who approved the data and the parameters used to select the sloping or benching system drawn from the data, as well as the limitations of the data (including the magnitude and configuration of slopes determined to be safe); the document must also provide any explanatory information necessary to select the correct benching system based on the data. Option 2 requires employers to develop a written design approved by a registered professional engineer. The design information must include the magnitude and configuration of the slopes determined to be safe, and the identity of the registered professional engineer who approved the design.

Paragraphs (c)(2), (c)(3), and (c)(4) allow employers to design support systems, shield systems, and other protective systems based on tabulated data provided by a system manufacturer (Option 3) or obtained from other sources and approved by a registered professional engineer (Option 4); they can also use a design approved by a registered professional engineer (Option 5). If they select Option 3, employers must complete a written form that provides the manufacturer's specifications, recommendations, and limitations, as well as any deviations approved by the manufacturer. The paperwork requirements of Option 4 are the same as for Option 1. Option 5 requires a written form that provides a plan indicating the sizes, types, and configurations of the materials used in the protective system and the identity of the registered professional engineer who approved the design.

Each of these provisions requires employers to maintain a copy of the documents described in these options at the jobsite during construction. After construction is complete, employers may store the documents offsite provided they make them available to an OSHA compliance officer on request. These documents provide both the employer and the compliance officer with information needed to determine if the selection and design of a protective system are appropriate to the excavation work, thereby assuring employees of maximum protection against cave-ins.

III. Special Issues for Comment

OSHA has a particular interest in comments on the following issues:

  • Whether the information-collection requirements are necessary for the proper performance of the Agency's functions, including whether the information is useful;
  • The accuracy of the Agency's estimate of the burden (time and costs) of the information-collection requirements, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used;
  • The quality, utility, and clarity of the information collected; and
  • Ways to minimize the burden on employers who must comply; for example, by using automated or other technological information-collection and -transmission techniques.

IV. Proposed Actions

OSHA is proposing to extend the information-collection requirements contained in 29 CFR 1926, Subpart Q, Concrete and Masonry Construction.

The Agency will summarize the comments submitted in response to this notice and will include this summary in the request to OMB to extend the approval of the information-collection requirements contained in the Standard.

Type of Review: Extension of currently approved information-collection requirements.

Title: Design of Cave-in Protection System.

OMB Number: 1218-0137.

Affected Public: Business or other for-profit.

Number of Respondents: 20,000.

Frequency of Response: On occasion.

Total Responses: 20,000.

Average Time per Response: Two hours to obtain information on the design of cave-in protection systems.

Estimated Total Burden Hours: 20,000 hours.

Estimated Cost (Operation and Maintenance): $721,100.

V. Authority and Signature

John L. Henshaw, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, directed the preparation of this notice. The authority for this notice is the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3506), and Secretary of Labor's Order No. 5-2002 (67 FR 65008).

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Signed at Washington, DC on November 30, 2004.

John L. Henshaw,

Assistant Secretary of Labor.

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[FR Doc. 04-26806 Filed 12-6-04; 8:45 am]