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Agency Forms Undergoing Paperwork Reduction Act Review

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) publishes a list of information collection requests under review by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in compliance with the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35). To request a copy of these requests, call (404) 639-7570 or send an email to Send written comments to CDC Desk Officer, Office of Management and Budget, Washington, DC 20503 or by fax to (202) 395-5806. Written comments should be received within 30 days of this notice.

Proposed Project

Assessing the Safety Culture of Underground Coal Mining (0920-0835 Expiration 12/31/2012)—Revision—National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Background and Brief Description

NIOSH, under Public Law 91-596, Sections 20 and 22 (Section 20-22, Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970) has the responsibility to conduct research relating to innovative methods, techniques, and approaches dealing with occupational safety and health problems.

This research relates to occupational safety and health problems in the coal mining industry. In recent years, coal mining safety has attained national attention due to highly publicized disasters. Despite these threats to worker safety and health, the U.S. relies on coal mining to meet its electricity needs. For this reason, the coal mining industry must continue to find ways to protect its workers while maintaining productivity. One way to do so is through improving the safety culture at coal mines. In order to achieve this culture, operators, employees, the inspectorate, etc. must share a fundamental commitment to it as a value. This type of culture is known in other industries as a “safety culture.” Safety culture can be defined as the characteristics of the work environment, such as the norms, rules, and common understandings that influence employees' perceptions of the importance that the organization places on safety.

NIOSH requests OMB approval to collect safety culture data from underground coal mine employees over a three-year period to continue the assessment of the current safety culture of underground coal mining in order to identify recommendations for promoting and ensuring the existence of a positive safety culture across the industry. Up to four underground coal mines will be studied for this assessment in an attempt to study mines of different characteristics. Small, medium, and large unionized as well as nonunionized mines will be recruited to diversify the research sample. Data will be collected one time at each mine; this is not a longitudinal study. The assessment includes the collection of data using several diagnostic tools: functional analysis, structured interviews, behavioral observations, and surveys.

It is estimated that across the four mines, approximately 1,144 respondents will be surveyed. The exact number of interviews conducted will be based upon the number of individuals in the mine populations, but it is estimated that, across the four mines, approximately 201 interviews will be conducted. An exact number of participants is unavailable at this time because not all mine sites have been selected.

The use of multiple methods to assess safety culture is a key aspect to the methodology. After all of the information has been gathered, a variety of statistical and qualitative analyses are conducted on the data to obtain conclusions with respect to the mine's safety culture. The results from these analyses will be presented in a report describing the status of the behaviors important to safety culture at that mine.

Data collection for this project had previously taken place between the dates of January 1, 2010 and May 1, 2012. During this time period, safety culture assessments were conducted at five underground coal mines, including one small, two medium, and two large mines located in the Northern Appalachian, Central Appalachian, Southern Appalachian, and Western coal regions. One of the assessments was conducted at a unionized mine and the four other assessments were conducted at non-union mines. Data were collected from 274 interview participants and 1,356 survey respondents.

From this previous data collection, some trends are beginning to emerge. These include safety culture characteristic differences depending on the size of the mine and also differences between union and non-union mines. However, the sample of participating mines from the previous data collection is not sufficient for conclusions to be drawn regarding these emerging trends. Therefore, the need for continuation of data collection is needed in order to include additional union mines and small mines into the study sample.

Upon completion, this project will provide recommendations for the enactment of new safety practices or the enhancement of existing safety practices across the underground coal mining industry. This final report will present a generalized model of a positive safety culture for underground coal mines that can be applied at individual mines. In addition, all study measures and procedures will be available for mines to use in the future to evaluate their own safety cultures. There is no cost to respondents other than their time. The total estimated annualized burden hours are 582.

Estimated Annualized Burden Hours

Type of respondentsForm nameNumber of respondentsNumber of responses per respondentAverage burden per response (in hours)
Underground Coal Mine EmployeesSafety Culture Survey1144120/60
Behavioral Anchored Rating Scale Interview20111

Dated: October 2, 2012.

Ron A. Otten,

Director, Office of Scientific Integrity (OSI), Office of the Associate Director for Science (OADS), Office of the Director Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

[FR Doc. 2012-24755 Filed 10-5-12; 8:45 am]