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Federal Railroad Administration, DOT.


Notice and Request for Comments.


In compliance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.), this notice announces that the Information Collection Requirements (ICRs) abstracted below have been forwarded to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and comment. The ICRs describes the nature of the information collection and their expected burden. The Federal Register notice with a 60-day comment period soliciting comments on the following collection of information was published on July 13, 2010 (75 FR 40021).


Comments must be submitted on or before October 21, 2010.

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Mr. Robert Brogan, Office of Safety, Planning and Evaluation Division, RRS-21, Federal Railroad Administration, 1200 New Jersey Ave., SE., Mail Stop 17, Washington, DC 20590 (telephone: (202) 493-6292), or Ms. Kimberly Toone, Office of Information Technology, RAD-20, Federal Railroad Administration, 1200 New Jersey Ave., SE., Mail Stop 35, Washington, DC 20590 (telephone: (202) 493-6132). (These telephone numbers are not toll-free.)

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The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA), Public Law No. 104-13, Section 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 issue two notices seeking public comment on information collection activities before OMB may approve paperwork packages. 44 U.S.C. 3506, 3507; 5 CFR 1320.5, 1320.8(d)(1), 1320.12. On July 13, 2010, FRA published a 60-day notice in the Federal Register soliciting comment on ICRs for which the agency was seeking OMB approval. 75 FR 40021. FRA Start Printed Page 57547received no comments in response to this notice.

Before OMB decides whether to approve a proposed collection of information, it must provide 30 days for public comment. 44 U.S.C. 3507(b); 5 CFR 1320.12(d). Federal law requires OMB to approve or disapprove paperwork packages between 30 and 60 days after the 30-day notice is published. 44 U.S.C. 3507 (b)-(c); 5 CFR 1320.12(d); see also 60 FR 44978, 44983, Aug. 29, 1995. OMB believes that the 30-day notice informs the regulated community to file relevant comments and affords the agency adequate time to digest public comments before it renders a decision. 60 FR 44983, Aug. 29, 1995. Therefore, respondents should submit their respective comments to OMB within 30 days of publication to best ensure having their full effect. 5 CFR 1320.12(c); see also 60 FR 44983, Aug. 29, 1995.

The summary below describes the nature of the information collection requirements (ICRs) and the expected burden, and are being submitted for clearance by OMB as required by the PRA.

Title: Causal Analysis and Countermeasures to Reduce Rail-Related Suicides.

OMB Control Number: 2130-0572.

Type of Request: Extension without Change of a Previously Approved Information Collection.

Affected Public: 280 Railroad Personnel/Members of the Public/Affected Families and Friends.

Abstract: Pedestrian trespassing on railroad property resulting in serious injury or death is one of the two most serious safety problems (the second being grade crossing collisions) facing the railroad industry and its regulators not only in the United States but also in other countries. It is widely believed in this country that the reported prevalence and incidence of railway suicide vastly under-represents the nature and extent of the problem. There is no central reporting system within the railroad industry or the suicide prevention field that provides verifiable information about how many trespass deaths are accidental vs. intentional. Therefore, there are no verifiable measures of the extent of rail-related suicides in the United States. While railroad companies must report trespass incidents resulting in serious injury or death to the U.S. Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), injuries or deaths that are ruled by a medical examiner or coroner to be intentional are not reported. Preliminary figures from 2006 indicate there were approximately 500 deaths and 360 injuries reported to the FRA—an increase of 100 incidents over the previous year—but suicides are not represented in these numbers. Unverifiable estimates from a number of sources range from 150 to more than 300 suicides per year on the U.S. railways.

Like any other incident on the rail system, a suicide on the tracks results in equipment and facility damage, delays to train schedules, and trauma to railroad personnel involved in the incidents. As a result, FRA last year awarded a grant for the first phase of a 5-year project to reduce suicides on the rail system to the Railroad Research Foundation (part of the Association of American Railroads) and its subcontractor, the American Association of Suicidology (AAS). In the course of five years, the research project's goals include:

  • A prevalence assessment to determine verifiable numbers of suicides on the rail system,
  • Development of a standardized reporting tool for industry use,
  • A causal analysis and root cause analysis of suicide incidents that occur during the grant cycle, and
  • Design and implementation of suicide prevention measures for the Nation's rail system to reduce suicide injuries and deaths.

This request to the Office of Management and Budget is for re-approval in order to complete Phase II of the project, the causal analysis. In order to understand as much as possible about people who intend to die by placing themselves in the path of a train, and therefore to design prevention strategies, AAS has been conducting 60 psychological autopsies over the course of two years on people who die by rail-related suicide. Psychological autopsy is a recognized and accepted method for obtaining information about physical, emotional and circumstantial contributors to a person's death. The 60 psychological autopsies for the FRA project involve interviews with informants to these incidents including family members and friends, employers and co-workers, and rail personnel involved in the incidents.

After conducting a root cause analysis of this data, AAS will then work with the industry to design, pilot test and implement effective countermeasures with the goal of reducing deaths, injuries and psychological trauma.

Form Number(s): FRA F 6180.125A; FRA F 6180.125B.

Annual Estimated Burden Hours: 537 hours.

Title: Confidential Close Call Reporting System Evaluation-Related Interview Data Collection.

OMB Control Number: 2130-0574.

Type of Request: Revision of a Previously Approved Collection.

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

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 (C3 RS). The operating assumption behind C3 RS is that by assuring confidentiality, employees will report events which, if dealt with, will decrease the likelihood of accidents. C3 RS, therefore, has both a confidential reporting component, and a problem analysis/solution component. C3 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 C3 RS works as intended, it could have an important impact on improving safety and safety culture in the railroad industry. While C3 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 C3 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 C3 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 Start Printed Page 57548consequences of the change. Because of the setting in which C3 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 C3 RS.

The ongoing 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.

The confidentiality of the interview data is protected by the Privacy Act of 1974. FRA fully complies with all laws pertaining to confidentiality, including the Privacy Act. Thus, information obtained by or acquired by FRA's contractor, the Volpe Center, from key stakeholders and railroad employees will be used strictly for evaluation purposes. None of the information that might be identifying will be disseminated or disclosed in any way. In addition, the participating railroad sites involved will require Volpe to establish a non-disclosure agreement that prohibits disclosure of company confidential information without the carrier's authorization. Also, the information is protected under the Department of Transportation regulation Title 49 CFR Part 9,which is in part concerned with the Department involvement in proceedings between private litigants. According to this statute, if data are subpoenaed, Volpe and Volpe contractors can not “provide testimony or produce any material contained in the files of the Department, or disclose any information or produce any material acquired as part of the performance of that employee's official duties or because of that employee's official duty status” unless authorized by agency counsel after determining that, in legal proceedings between private litigants, such testimony would be in the best interests of the Department or that of the United States Government if disclosed. Finally, the name of those interviewed will not be requested.

Annual Estimated Burden Hours: 242 hours

Addressee: Send comments regarding this information collection to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, 725 Seventeenth Street, NW., Washington, DC 20503, Attention: FRA Desk Officer. Comments may also be sent electronically via e-mail to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) at the following address:

Comments are invited on the following: Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Department, including whether the information will have practical utility; the accuracy of the Department's estimate of the burden of the proposed information collection; ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

A comment to OMB is best assured of having its full effect if OMB receives it within 30 days of publication of this notice in the Federal Register.

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Authority: 44 U.S.C. 3501-3520.

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Issued in Washington, DC, on September 15, 2010.

Kimberly Coronel,

Director, Office of Financial Management.

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[FR Doc. 2010-23478 Filed 9-20-10; 8:45 am]