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Voluntary Protection Programs Information; Extension of the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB's) 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 the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB's) approval of the information collection requirements contained in Voluntary Protection Programs Information.


Comments must be submitted (postmarked, sent, or received) by May 23, 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 a copy of your comments and attachments to the OSHA Docket Office, OSHA Docket No. OSHA-2011-0056, 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 Information Collection Request (ICR) (OSHA-2011-0056). 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.

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Patrick Showalter, Acting Director, Office of Partnerships and Recognition, Directorate of Cooperative and State Programs, OSHA, U.S. Department of Labor, Room N-3700, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20210; telephone (202) 693-2213.

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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 (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 Start Printed Page 16001OSHA'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).

The Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) [47 FR 29025], adopted by OSHA, established the efficacy of cooperative action among government, industry, and labor to address employee safety and health issues and to expand employee protection. To qualify, employers must meet OSHA's safety and health management criteria which focus on comprehensive management programs and active employee involvement to prevent or control worksite safety and health hazards. Employers who qualify generally view OSHA standards as a minimum level of safety and health performance, and set their own more stringent standards, wherever necessary, to improve employee protection. Prospective VPP worksites must submit an application that includes:

General applicant information (e.g., site, corporate, and collective bargaining contact information).

Injury and illness rate performance information (i.e., number of employees and/or applicable contractors on-site, type of work performed and products produced, North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes, and Recordable Injury and Illness Case Incidence Rate information).

Safety and health management program information (i.e., description of the applicant's safety and health management programs including how the programs successfully address management leadership and employee involvement, worksite analysis, hazard prevention and control, and safety and health training).

OSHA uses this information to determine whether an applicant is ready for a VPP on-site evaluation and as a verification tool during VPP on-site evaluations. Without this information, OSHA would be unable to determine which sites are ready for VPP status.

Each current VPP applicant is also required to submit an annual evaluation which addresses how that applicant is continuing its adherence to programmatic requirements.

In 2008, OSHA modified procedures for VPP applicants, OSHA on-site evaluations, and annual participant self-evaluations for applicants/participants subject to OSHA's Process Safety Management (PSM) Standard. Applicants that perform work that use or produce highly hazardous chemicals exceeding specified limits covered under the PSM standard must submit responses to the PSM application supplement along with their VPP application.

Once in the VPP, the participant is required to submit an annual evaluation detailing its continued adherence to programmatic requirements. Applicants covered under the PSM standard are required to submit a PSM questionnaire, a supplemental document, as part of their annual submission. OSHA needs this information to ensure that the participant remains qualified to participate in the VPP between on-site evaluations. Without this information, OSHA would be unable to determine whether applicants are maintaining excellent safety and health management programs during this interim period.

In 2009, with the publication of the Federal Register Notice (FRN) (74 FR 927, January 9, 2009), VPP revised its traditional focus on individual fixed worksites (site-based) by adding two new ways to participate: Mobile workforce and corporate. A significant reorganization of the program helped clarify the multiple participation options now available.

Employees of VPP participants may apply to participate in the Special Government Employee (SGE) Program. The SGE Program offers private and public sector safety and health professionals and other qualified participants the opportunity to exchange ideas, gain new perspectives, and grow professionally while serving as full-fledged team members on OSHA's VPP on-site evaluations. In that capacity, SGEs may review company documents, assist with worksite walkthroughs, interview employees, and assist in preparing VPP on-site evaluation reports. Potential SGEs must submit an application that includes:

  • SGE Eligibility Information Sheet (i.e., applicant's name, professional; credentials, site/corporate contact information, etc.);
  • Current Resume;
  • Confidential Financial Disclosure Report (OGE Form 450).

OSHA uses the SGE Eligibility Information Sheet to ensure that the potential SGE works at a VPP site and meets the minimum eligibility qualifications. The resume is required to provide a detailed description of their current duties and responsibilities as they relate to safety and health and the implementation of an effective safety and health management program. The OGE Form 450 is used to ensure that SGEs do not participate on on-site evaluations at VPP sites in-which they have a financial interest.

OSHA Challenge is designed to reach and guide employers and companies in all major industry groups who are strongly committed to improving their safety and health management programs and possibly pursuing recognition in the VPP. The Challenge Administrator's application is used to: (1) Conduct a preliminary analysis of the applicant's knowledge of safety and health management programs; and (2) make a determination regarding the applicant's qualifications to become a Challenge Administrator. Once a Challenge Administrator is approved, the program's Administrator will review each Challenge candidate's application/annual submissions to ensure that all necessary information is provided, prior to forwarding them to OSHA's National Office for analysis and acceptance.

II. 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.

III. Proposed Actions

OSHA proposes to extend OMB's approval of the collection of information (paperwork) requirements necessitated by the Voluntary Protection Programs. The Agency is requesting an adjustment in the burden hours from 105,965 to 115,359; a total increase of 9,394 hours. The Agency will summarize the comments submitted in response to this notice, and will include this summary in its request to OMB to extend the approval of these information collection requirements.

Type of Review: Extension of a currently approved collection.Start Printed Page 16002

Title: Voluntary Protection Programs Information.

OMB Number: 1218-0239.

Affected Public: Business or other for-profits; individuals or households; Federal government; state, local or tribal government.

Number of Respondents:


300 Applications

75 Process Safety Management Applications

1,700 Annual Evaluations

425 (PSM) Annual Evaluations/Supplemental Questionnaire


14 Challenge Administrator's Applications

210 Challenge Participant's Applications

210 Challenge Quarterly Reports

210 Challenge Annual Evaluations

Special Government Employees

900 SGE Eligibility Information Sheets

900 Resumes

300 Confidential Financial Disclosure Forms (OGE- Form 450)

Total Respondents: 5,244.

Frequency: VPP applications and Challenge Administrator's and Participant's applications are submitted once;

VPP and Challenge Annual Evaluations are submitted annually, and SGE applications are submitted once every three years.

Average Time Per Response:

VPP General

200 hours for VPP Applications

20 hours for VPP Annual Evaluations

Process Safety Management

40 hours for Applications

20 hours for Annual Evaluations


5 hours for Challenge Administrator's Applications

10 hours for Challenge Candidate Applications

5 hours for Challenge Quarterly Reports

20 hours for Challenge Annual Evaluations

Special Government Employees (SGE)

8 minutes (.13 hour) for SGE Eligibility Information Sheet

30 minutes (.50 hour) for SGE Resume

30 minutes (.50 hour) for Confidential Financial Disclosure Form

Estimated Total Burden Hours: 115,359.

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, 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-2011-0056). 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 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, PhD, 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 March 17, 2011.

David Michaels,

Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health.

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[FR Doc. 2011-6654 Filed 3-21-11; 8:45 am]