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Notice

On-site Consultation Programs; Extension of the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) Approval of Information Collection (Paperwork) Requirements

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Labor.

ACTION:

Request for public comment.

SUMMARY:

OSHA solicits comments concerning its proposal to extend OMB approval of the information collection requirements contained in the Standard on Consultation Agreements (hereinafter, the On-site Consultation Program regulations) (29 CFR part 1908). The Consultation Program regulations specify services to be provided, and practices and procedures to be followed by the State On-site Consultation Programs. Information collection requirements set forth in the On-site Consultation Program regulations are in two categories: State Responsibilities and Employer Responsibilities. Eight regulatory provisions require information collection activities by the State. The Federal government provides 90 percent of funds for on-site consultation services delivered by the States, which result in the collection of information. Four requirements apply to employers and specify conditions for receiving the free on-site consultation services.

DATES:

Comments must be submitted (postmarked, sent, or received) by August 29, 2008.

ADDRESSES:

Electronically: You may submit comments and attachments electronically at http://www.regulations.gov, which is the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Follow the instructions online for submitting comments.

Facsimile: If your comments, including attachments, are not longer than 10 pages, you may fax them to the OSHA Docket Office at (202) 693-1648.

Mail, hand delivery, express mail, messenger, or courier service: When using this method, you must submit three copies of your comments and attachments to the OSHA Docket Office, Docket No. OSHA-2008-0019, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Room N-2625, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20210. Deliveries (hand, express mail, messenger, and courier service) are accepted during the Department of Labor's and Docket Office's normal business hours, 8:15 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., e.t.

Instructions: All submissions must include the Agency name and OSHA docket number for the ICR (OSHA-2008-0019). All comments, including any personal information you provide, are placed in the public docket without change, and may be made available online at http://www.regulations.gov. For further information on submitting comments see the “Public Participation” heading in the section of this notice titled “SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION .”

Docket: To read or download comments or other material in the docket, go to http://www.regulations.gov or the OSHA Docket Office at the address above. All documents in the docket (including this Federal Register notice) are listed in the http://www.regulations.gov index; however, some information (e.g., copyrighted material) is not publicly available to read or download through the Web site. All submissions, including copyrighted material, are available for inspection and copying at the OSHA Docket Office. You may also contact Larry Liberatore at the address below to obtain a copy of the ICR.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Larry Liberatore, Acting Director, Office of Small Business Assistance, Directorate of Cooperative and State Programs, OSHA, U.S. Department of Labor, Room N-3660, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20210; telephone (202) 693-2220.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background

The Department of Labor, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent (i.e., employer) burden, conducts a preclearance process 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 (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 OSH Act) (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). The OSH Act also requires that OSHA obtain such information with minimum burden upon employers, especially those operating small businesses, and to reduce to the maximum extent feasible unnecessary duplication of efforts in obtaining information (29 U.S.C. 657).

Section 7(c)(1) of the OSH Act authorizes the Secretary of Labor to, “with the consent of any State or political subdivision thereof, accept and use the services, facilities, and personnel of any agency of such State or subdivision with reimbursement.” Section 21(C) of the Act authorizes the Secretary of Labor (Secretary) to, “consult with and advise employers and employees * * * as to effective means of preventing occupational illnesses and injuries.”

Additionally, Section 21(d) of the OSH Act instructs the Secretary to “establish and support cooperative agreements with the States under which employers subject to the Act may consult with State personnel with respect to the application of occupational safety and health requirements under the Act or under State plans approved under section 18 of the Act.” This gives the Secretary authority to enter into agreements with the States to provide on-site consultation services, and establish rules under which employers may qualify for an inspection exemption. To satisfy the intent of these and other sections of the OSH Act, OSHA codified the terms that govern cooperative agreements between OSHA and State governments whereby State agencies provide on-site consultation services to private employers to assist them in complying with the requirements of the OSH Act. The terms were codified as the Consultation Program regulations (29 CFR Part 1908).

The Consultation Program regulations specify services to be provided, and practices and procedures to be followed by the State On-site Consultation Programs. Information collection requirements set forth in the On-site Consultation Program regulations are in two categories: State Responsibilities and Employer Responsibilities. Eight regulatory provisions require information collection activities by the State. The Federal government provides 90 percent of funds for on-site consultation services delivered by the States, which result in the information collection. Four requirements apply to employers and specify conditions for receiving the free consultation services.Start Printed Page 36906

II. Special Issues for Comment

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

  • Whether the proposed information collection requirements are necessary for the proper performance of the Agency's functions, including whether the information is useful;
  • The accuracy of OSHA'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.

III. Proposed Actions

OSHA is requesting that OMB extend its approval of the information collection requirements contained in the Standard on On-site Consultation Agreements (29 CFR part 1908). The Agency is requesting to increase its current burden hour estimate associated with this Program from 21,771 hours to 231,207 hours, a total increase of 209,436 hours. The increase is a result of the following:

  • Previously, a large percentage (over 90%) of all On-site Consultation Programs visits were deemed to be limited in scope. Over half of all such visits are now comprehensive in nature due to the States continued emphasis on providing comprehensive advice on safety and health management systems.
  • We had previously estimated that only visits that were comprehensive in nature would provide a written report. Now all visits, whether comprehensive or limited in scope provide a written report to the employer, in accordance with our Consultation Policies and Procedures Manual.
  • We had previously estimated that it took only 0.5 hours to complete a written report. As we have received input from our stakeholders in updating the Consultation Program policies and procedures, our small employers requested specific guidelines and information in order to implement the recommended safety and health improvements noted during our On-site Consultation visits. A recent survey of our Consultation Projects indicated that approximately 7.5 hours are spent on these technical assistance reports (a range of 6-9 hours).

The Agency will summarize the comments submitted in response to this notice and will include this summary in the request to OMB.

Type of Review: Extension of a currently approved collection.

Title: Consultation Agreements (29 CFR part 1908).

OMB Number: 1218-0110.

Affected Public: State Government, Local or Tribal Government, Federal Government, Not-for-profit institutions, Business or other for-profits.

Number of Respondents: 27,854.

Frequency: Ranges from each visit to every other year.

Average Time per Response: Ranges from 5 minutes (.08 hour) to 7.5 hours.

Estimated Total Burden Hours: 231,207.

Estimated Cost (Operation and Maintenance): $0.

IV. Public Participation—Submission of Comments on This Notice and Internet Access to Comments and Submissions

You may submit comments in response to this document as follows: (1) Electronically at http://www.regulations.gov, which is the Federal eRulemaking Portal; (2) by facsimile (FAX); or (3) by hard copy. All comments, attachments, and other material must identify the Agency name and the OSHA docket number for the ICR (Docket No. OSHA-2008-0019). You may supplement electronic submissions by uploading document files electronically. If you wish to mail additional materials in reference to an electronic or facsimile submission, you must submit them to the OSHA Docket Office (see the section of this notice titled ADDRESSES). The additional materials must clearly identify your electronic comments by your name, date, and the docket number so the Agency can attach them to your comments.

Because of security procedures, the use of regular mail may cause a significant delay in the receipt of comments. For information about security procedures concerning the delivery of materials by hand, express delivery, messenger, or courier service, please contact the OSHA Docket Office at (202) 693-2350 (TTY (877) 889-5627).

Comments and submissions are posted without change at http://www.regulations.gov. Therefore, OSHA cautions commenters about submitting personal information such as social security numbers and date of birth. Although all submissions are listed in the http://www.regulations.gov index, some information (e.g., copyrighted material) is not publicly available to read or download through this Web site. All submissions, including copyrighted material, are available for inspection and copying at the OSHA Docket Office. Information on using the http://www.regulations.gov Web site to submit comments and access the docket is available at the Web site's “User Tips” link. Contact the OSHA Docket Office for information about materials not available through the Web site, and for assistance in using the Internet to locate docket submissions.

V. Authority and Signature

Edwin G. Foulke, Jr., 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 et seq.) and Secretary of Labor's Order No. 5-2007 (72 FR 31159).

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Signed at Washington, DC, on June 23, 2008.

Edwin G. Foulke, Jr.

Assistant Secretary of Labor, for Occupational Safety and Health.

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[FR Doc. E8-14671 Filed 6-27-08; 8:45 am]

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