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Standard on Commercial Diving Operations; Extension of the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) Approval of Information Collection (Paperwork) Requirements

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Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Labor.


Request for public comments.


OSHA solicits public comments concerning its proposal to extend OMB approval of the information collection requirements specified in the Commercial Diving Operations Standard (29 CFR part 1910, subpart T).


Comments must be submitted (postmarked, sent, or received) by April 25, 2011.


Electronically: You may submit comments and attachments electronically at, 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 your comments and attachments to the OSHA Docket Office, Docket No. OSHA-2011-0008, U.S. Department of Labor, 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 Information Collection Request (ICR) (OSHA-2011-0008). All comments, including any personal information you provide, are placed in the public docket without change, and may be made available online at 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 or the OSHA Docket Office at the address above. All documents in the docket (including this Federal Register notice) are listed in the 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 also may contact Theda Kenney at the address below to obtain a copy of the ICR.

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

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I. 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 (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 OSH 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). Subpart T applies to diving and related support operations conducted by employers involved in general industry, construction, ship repairing, shipbuilding, shipbreaking, and longshoring, and specifies equipment and procedures that prevent injury and death among workers exposed to hazards associated with diving and diving support operations.

Subpart T contains a number of paperwork requirements. The following paragraphs describe these requirements.

Section 1910.401(b). Allows employers to deviate from the requirements of the Subpart to the extent necessary to prevent or minimize a situation that is likely to cause death, serious physical harm, or major environmental damage (but not situations in which purely economic or property damage is likely to occur). They must notify the OSHA Area Director within 48 hours of taking such action; this notification must describe the situation responsible for the deviation and the extent of the deviation from the requirements. On request of the Area Director, employers must submit this information in writing.

Sections 1910.410(a)(3) and (a)(4). Paragraph (a)(3) requires employers to train all dive team members in cardiopulmonary resuscitation and first aid (i.e., the American Red Cross Start Printed Page 9818standard course or equivalent), while paragraph (a)(4) specifies that employers train dive team members exposed to hyperbaric conditions, or who control exposure of other employees to such conditions, in diving-related physics and physiology.

Sections 1910.420(a). Under paragraph (a), employers must develop and maintain a safe practices manual and make it available to each dive team member at the dive location. In addition, for each diving mode used at the dive location, the manual must contain: Safety procedures and checklists for diving operations; assignments and responsibilities of the dive team members; equipment procedures and checklists; and emergency procedures for fire, equipment failures, adverse environmental conditions, and medical illness and injury.

Section 1910.421(b). Under this provision, employers are to keep at the dive location a list of telephone or call numbers for the following emergency facilities and services: An operational decompression chamber (if such a chamber is not at the dive location); accessible hospitals; available physicians and means of emergency transportation; and the nearest U.S. Coast Guard Rescue Coordination Center.

Section 1910.421(f). Requires employers to brief dive team members on the diving-related tasks they are to perform, safety procedures for the diving mode used at the dive location, any unusual hazards or environmental conditions likely to affect the safety of the diving operation, and any modifications to operating procedures necessitated by the specific diving operation. Before assigning diving-related tasks, employers must ask each dive team member about their current state of physical fitness, and inform the member about the procedure for reporting physical problems or adverse physiological effects during and after the dive.

Section 1910.421(h). If the diving operation occurs in an area capable of supporting marine traffic and occurs from a surface other than a vessel, employers are to display a rigid replica of the international code flag “A” that is at least one meter in height so that it is visible from any direction; the employer must illuminate the flag during night diving operations.

Section 1910.422(e). Employers must develop and maintain a depth-time profile for each diver that includes, as appropriate, any breathing gas changes or decompression.

Sections 1910.423(b)(1)(ii) through (b)(2). Requires the employer to: Instruct the diver to report any physical symptoms or adverse physiological effects, including symptoms of decompression sickness (DCS); advise the diver of the location of a decompression chamber that is ready for use; and alert the diver to the potential hazards of flying after diving. For any dive outside the no-decompression limits, deeper than 100 feet, or that uses mixed gas in the breathing mixture, the employer must also inform the diver to remain awake and in the vicinity of the decompression chamber that is at the dive location for at least one hour after the dive or any decompression or treatment associated with the dive.

Section 1910.423(d). Paragraph (d)(1) specifies that employers are to record and maintain the following information for each diving operation: The names of dive-team members; date, time, and location; diving modes used; general description of the tasks performed; an estimate of the underwater and surface conditions; and the maximum depth and bottom time for each diver. In addition, for each dive outside the no-decompression limits, deeper than 100 feet, or that uses mixed gas in the breathing mixture, paragraph (d)(2) requires the employer to record and maintain the following information for each diver: Depth-time and breathing gas profiles; decompression table designation (including any modifications); and elapsed time since the last pressure exposure if less than 24 hours or the repetitive dive designation. Under paragraph (d)(3), if the dive results in DCS symptoms, or the employer suspects that a diver has DCS, the employer must record and maintain a description of the DCS symptoms (including the depth and time of symptom onset) and the results of treatment.

Section 1910.423(e). Requires employers to assess each DCS incident by: Investigating and evaluating it based on the recorded information, consideration of the past performance of the decompression profile used, and the diver's individual susceptibility to DCS; taking appropriate corrective action to reduce the probability of a DCS recurrence; and, within 45 days of the DCS incident, preparing a written evaluation of this assessment, including any corrective action taken.

Sections 1910.430(a), (b)(4), (c)(1)(ii), (c)(3)(i), (f)(3)(ii), and (g)(2). Description of the requirements. Paragraph (a) contains a general requirement that employers must record by means of tagging or a logging system any work performed on equipment, including any modifications, repairs, tests, calibrations, or maintenance performed on the equipment. This record is to include a description of the work, the name or initials of the individual who performed the work, and the date they completed the work.

Paragraphs (b)(4) and (c)(1)(iii) require employers to test two specific types of equipment, including, respectively: The output of air compressor systems used to supply breathing air to divers for air purity every six months by means of samples taken at the connection to the distribution system; and breathing-gas hoses at least annually at one and one-half times their working pressure. Under paragraph (c)(3)(i), employers must mark each umbilical (i.e., separate lines supplying air and communications to a diver, as well as a safety line, tied together in a bundle), beginning at the diver's end, in 10-foot increments for 100 feet, then in 50-foot increments. Paragraph (f)(3)(ii) mandates that employers regularly inspect and maintain mufflers located in intake and exhaust lines on decompression chambers. According to paragraph (g)(2), employers are to test depth gauges using dead-weight testing, or calibrate the gauges against a master reference gauge; such testing or calibration is to occur every six months or if the employer finds a discrepancy larger than two percent of the full scale between any two equivalent gauges. Employers must make a record of the tests, calibrations, inspections, and maintenance performed on the equipment specified by these paragraphs in accordance with section 1910.430(a).

Sections 1910.440(a)(2) and (b). Under paragraph (a)(2) of this provision, employers must record any diving-related injuries or illnesses that result in a dive-team member remaining in hospital for at least 24 hours. This record is to describe the circumstances of the incident and the extent of any injuries or illnesses.

Paragraph (b) of this provision regulates the availability of the records required by the Subpart, including who has access to these records, the retention periods for various records, and, in some cases, the final disposition of the records. Under paragraph (b)(1), employers must make any record required by the subpart available, on request, for inspection and copying to an OSHA compliance officer or to a representative of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Paragraph (b)(2) specifies that employers are to provide workers, their designated representatives, and OSHA compliance officers with exposure and Start Printed Page 9819medical records generated under the Subpart in accordance with § 1910.1020 (“Access to employee exposure and medical records”); these records include safe practices manuals, depth-time profiles, diving records, DCS incident assessments, and hospitalization records. This paragraph also mandates that employers make equipment inspection and testing records available to employees and their designated representative on request.

According to paragraph (b)(3), employers must retain these records for the following periods: Safe practices manuals, current document only; depth-time profiles, until completing the diving record or the DCS incident assessment; diving records, one year, except five years if a DCS incident occurred during the dive; DCS incident assessments, five years; hospitalization records, five years; and equipment inspections and testing records, current tag or log entry until the employer removes the equipment from service. Paragraphs (b)(4) and (b)(5) specify the requirements for disposing of these records. Under paragraph (b)(4), employers are to forward any record with an expired five-year retention period to NIOSH. Paragraph (b)(5) states that employers who cease to do business must transfer records without unexpired retention dates to the successor employer who will retain them for the required period; however, if the employers cease to do business without a successor employer, they must transfer the records to NIOSH.

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 to protect workers, 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 Commercial Diving Operations (29 CFR part 1910, subpart T). The Agency is requesting a 1,774 decrease in burden hours from the current level of 205,397 hours to 203,623 hours. This request is being made due to an overall decrease in the number of facilities affected by the Standard.

Type of Review: Extension of a currently approved collection.

Title: Standard on Commercial Diving Operations (29 CFR part 1910, subpart T).

OMB Number: 1218-0069.

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

Number of Respondents: 2,500.

Frequency: On Occasion; Annually.

Total Responses: 3,969,219.

Average Time per Response: Varies from 3 minutes (.05 hour) to replace the safe practices manual to 1 hour to develop a new manual.

Estimated Total Burden Hours: 203,623.

Estimated Cost (Operation and Maintenance): $2,480.

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, which is the Federal eRulemaking Portal; (2) by facsimile; or (3) by hard copy. All comments, attachments, and other material must identify the Agency name and the OSHA docket number for this ICR (Docket No. OSHA-2011-0008). You may supplement electronic submissions by uploading document files electronically. If you wish to mail additional materials in reference to an electronic or a 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 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 Therefore, OSHA cautions commenters about submitting personal information such as social security numbers and date of birth. Although all submissions are listed in the 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 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

David Michaels, Ph.D., MPH, 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. 4-2010 (75 FR 55355).

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Signed at Washington, DC on February 16, 2011.

David Michaels,

Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health.

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[FR Doc. 2011-3874 Filed 2-18-11; 8:45 am]