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Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request; Occupational Noise Exposure

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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The Department of Labor (DOL) is submitting the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) sponsored Information Collection Request (ICR) titled, “Occupational Noise Exposure,” to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval for continued use in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.).


Submit comments on or before July 26, 2012.


A copy of this ICR with applicable supporting documentation; including a description of the likely respondents, proposed frequency of response, and estimated total burden may be obtained from the Web site,, on the day following publication of this notice or by contacting Michel Smyth by telephone at 202-693-4129 (this is not a toll-free number) or sending an email to

Submit comments about this request to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Attn: OMB Desk Officer for DOL-MSHA, Office of Management and Budget, Room 10235, New Executive Office Building, Washington, DC 20503, Telephone: 202-395-6929/Fax: 202-395-6881 (these are not toll-free numbers), email:


Contact Michel Smyth by telephone at 202-693-4129 (this is not a toll-free number) or by email at


Noise is a harmful physical agent and one of the most pervasive health hazards in mining. Repeated exposure to high levels of sound over time causes occupational noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL), a serious, often profound physical impairment in mining, with far-reaching psychological and social effects. NIHL can be distinguished from aging and other factors that can contribute to hearing loss and it can be prevented. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, NIHL is among the top ten leading occupational illnesses and injuries.

For many years, NIHL was regarded as an inevitable consequence of working in a mine. Mining, an intensely mechanized industry, relies on drills, crushers, compressors, conveyors, trucks, loaders, and other heavy-duty equipment for the excavation, haulage, and processing of material. This equipment creates high sound levels, exposing machine operators as well as miners working nearby. The MSHA, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, military, and other organizations around the world have established and enforced standards to reduce the loss of hearing. Quieter equipment, isolation of workers from noise sources, and limiting the time workers are exposed to noise are among the many well-accepted methods that will prevent the costly incidence of NIHL.

Records of miner exposures to noise are necessary so that mine operators and the MSHA can evaluate the need for and effectiveness of engineering controls, administrative controls, and personal protective equipment to protect miners from harmful levels of noise that can result in hearing loss. However, the Agency believes that extensive records for this purpose are not needed. These requirements are a performance-oriented approach to monitoring. Records of miner hearing examinations enable mine operators and the MSHA to ensure that the controls are effective in preventing NIHL for individual miners. Records of training are needed to confirm that miners receive the information they need to become active participants in hearing conservation efforts.

These information collections are subject to the PRA. A Federal agency generally cannot conduct or sponsor a collection of information, and the public is generally not required to respond to an information collection, unless it is approved by the OMB under the PRA and displays a currently valid OMB Control Number. In addition, notwithstanding any other provisions of law, no person shall generally be subject to penalty for failing to comply with a collection of information if the collection of information does not display a valid OMB Control Number. See 5 CFR 1320.5(a) and 1320.6. The DOL obtains OMB approval for this information collection under OMB Control Number 1219-0120. The current OMB approval is scheduled to expire on June 30, 2012; however, it should be noted that existing information collection requirements submitted to the OMB receive a month-to-month extension while they undergo review. For additional information, see the related notice published in the Federal Register on March 22, 2012 (77 FR 16865).

Interested parties are encouraged to send comments to the OMB, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs at the address shown in the ADDRESSES section within 30 days of publication of this notice in the Federal Register. In order to help ensure appropriate consideration, comments should mention OMB Control Number 1219-0120. The OMB is particularly interested in comments that:

  • Evaluate whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility;
  • Evaluate the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used;
  • Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and
  • Minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses.

Agency: DOL-MSHA.

Title of Collection: Occupational Noise Exposure.

OMB Control Number: 1219-0120.

Affected Public: Private Sector—Businesses or other for-profits.

Total Estimated Number of Respondents: 13,245.

Total Estimated Number of Responses: 207,633.

Total Estimated Annual Burden Hours: 14,289.

Total Estimated Annual Other Costs Burden: $34,327.

Dated: June 20, 2012.

Michel Smyth,

Departmental Clearance Officer.

[FR Doc. 2012-15503 Filed 6-25-12; 8:45 a.m.]