blackball Federal Register [10/07/1998] #63:53930-53937
Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request

A. Justification

1. Explain the circumstances that make the collection of information necessary. Identify any legal or administrative requirements that necessitate the collection. Attach a copy of the appropriate section of each statute and regulation mandating or authorizing the collection of information.

Fighting fires as members of a fire brigade presents a significant risk of harm to employees. In fact, fire fighting continues to be one of the Nations' most hazardous occupations. To mitigate the risks of employees fighting fires, OSHA promulgated a standard for fire brigades in 1980. The Fire Brigade standard does not require the employer to organize a fire brigade. However, if the employer does decide to organize a fire brigade, the provisions of the standard must be met.

There are various types of fire brigades. Some fire brigades merely monitor and assist in evacuation, others perform incipient fire fighting, while others perform Interior structural fire fighting. The tasks, responsibility, training, and personal protective equipment needs differ according to the type of fire brigade organized at the workplace. Therefore, §1910.156(b)(1) requires the employer to develop and maintain an organizational statement which defines the type of fire brigade being organized and describes the functions that the employer expects the fire brigade to perform.

The use of personal protective equipment and the level of training is dependent upon the type of fire brigade organized at the workplace. Consequently, the organizational statement is one of the most important provisions of the Fire Brigades standard because it must describe the tasks that fire brigade members are expected to perform (which in turn determines the personal protective equipment necessary); and, because it describes the type, amount, and frequency of training provided to fire brigade members (level of training).

Public Law 91-596, the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, establishes the responsibility and authority of the Secretary of Labor for occupational safety and health standards. Section 8 of the Act provides for appropriate reporting and recordkeeping procedures.

2. Indicate how, by whom, and for what purpose the information is to be used. Except for a new collection, indicate the actual use the agency has made of the information received from the current collection.

The organizational statement is used by employees in understanding their duties and responsibilities as fire brigade members. It is also used by compliance officers in determining the type of fire brigade which exists: the need for, and adequacy of, personal protective equipment; and if the level of training is commensurate with the duties that fire brigade members are expected to perform. Failure to have a formalized policy (organizational statement) concerning the activities of a fire brigade could lead to confusion with respect to whether or not to wear personal protective equipment and whether to perform fire fighting activities or evacuate. An organizational statement, describing exactly what fire brigade members are expected to do during fire emergencies, will prevent this confusion and will avoid unnecessary deaths and injuries.

3. Describe whether, and to what extent, the collection of information involves the use of automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses, and the basis for the decision for adopting this means of collection. Also describe any consideration of using information technology to reduce burden.

Employers may use improved information technology whenever appropriate.

4. Describe efforts to identify duplication. Show specifically why any similar information already available cannot be used or modified for use for the purpose(s) described in 2 above.

The collection of information is not a duplication of any other collection.

5. If the collection of information impacts small businesses or other small entities (Item 5 of OMB Form 83-1), describe the methods used to reduce the burden.

The burden of compliance with the information collection requirement is an equal obligation for all workplaces.

6. Describe the consequence to Federal program or policy activities if the collection is or is not conducted less frequently, and any technical or legal obstacles to reducing the burden.

Employers are required to develop an organizational statement only one time. No revision to the organizational statement would ever have to be made unless the employer decided to make fundamental changes in the training program and/or functions of the fire brigade. Therefore, developing and maintaining an organizational statement could not be conducted less frequently.

7. Explain any special circumstances that would cause an information collection to be conducted in a manner:
  • requiring respondents to report information to the agency more often than quarterly;
  • requiring respondents to prepare a written response to a collection of information in fewer than 30 days after receipt of it;
  • requiring respondents to submit more than an original and two copies of any document;
  • requiring respondents to retain records, other than health, medical, government contract, grant-in-aid, or tax records for more than three years;
  • in connection with a statistical survey that is not designed to produce valid and reliable results that can be generalized to the universe of study;
  • requiring the use of statistical data classification that has not been reviewed and approved by OMB;
  • that includes a pledge of confidentially that is not supported by authority established in statue or regulation that is not supported by disclosure and data security policies that are consistent with the pledge, or which unnecessarily impedes sharing of data with other agencies for compatible confidential use; or
  • requiring respondents to submit proprietary trade secret, or other confidential information unless the agency can prove that it has instituted procedures to protect the information's confidentially to the extent permitted by law.

The requirements are within the guidelines set forth in 5 CFR 1320.6.

8. If applicable, provide a copy and identify the date and page number of publication in the Federal Register of the agency's notice, required by 5 CFR 1320.8(d), soliciting comments on the information collection before submission to OMB. Summarize public comments received in response to that notice and describe actions taken by the agency in response to those comments specifically address comments received on cost and hour burdens.

Describe efforts to consult with persons outside the agency to obtain their views on the availability of data, frequency of collection, the clarity of instructions and recordkeeping, disclosure, or reporting format (if any), and on the data elements to be recorded, revealed, or reported.

Consultation with representatives of those from whom information is to be obtained or those who must compile records should occur at least once every three years -- even if the collection of information activity is the same as in prior periods. There may be circumstances that mitigate against consultation in a specific situation. These circumstances should be explained.

As required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA-95), OSHA published a Federal Register notice on May 19, 1998 (63 FR 27595, Docket No. ICR-98-24) soliciting comments from the public and other interested parties on the information collection requirements contained in its standard on Fire Brigades (29 CFR 1910.156). The notice was part of a preclearance consultation program intended to provide those interested parties the opportunity to comment on OSHA's request for extension of the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) approval of the information collection requirements found in the above standard. The Agency received no comments on its proposed information collection request.

9. Explain any decision to provide any payments or gift to respondents, other than reenumeration of contractors or grantees.

No payments or gifts are provided to respondents, other than reenumeration, for services rendered by contractors or grantees.

10. Describe any assurance of confidentiality provided to respondents and the basis for the assurance in statute, regulation, or agency policy.

No elements of confidentiality are involved.

11. Provide additional justification for any questions of a sensitive nature, such as sexual behavior and attitudes, religious beliefs, and other matters that are commonly considered private. This justification should include the reasons why the agency considers the questions necessary, the specific uses to be made of the information, the explanation to be given to persons from whom the information is requested, and any steps to be taken to obtain their consent.

No such information is required to be reported.

12. Provide estimates of the hour burden of the collection of information. The statement should:

  • Show the number of respondents, frequency of response, annual hour burden, and an explanation of how the burden was estimated. Unless directed to do so, agencies should not conduct special surveys to obtain information on which to base hour burden estimates. Consultation with a sample (fewer than 10) of potential respondents is desirable. If the hour burden on respondents is expected to vary widely because of differences in activity, size, or complexity, show the range of estimated hour burdens, and explain the reasons for the variance. General estimates should not include burden hours for customary and usual business practices.
  • If this request for approval covers more than one form, provide separate hour burdens estimates for each form and aggregate the hour burden in Item 13 of OMB Form 83-1.
  • Provide estimates of annualized cost to respondents for the hour burdens for collections of information, identifying and using appropriate wage rate categories. The cost of contracting out or paying outside parties for information collection activities should not be included here. Instead, this cost should be included in Item 14.
  §1910.156(b)(1) -- Organizational statement. The employer shall prepare and maintain a statement or written policy which establishes the existence of a fire brigade; the basic organizational structure; the type, amount, and frequency of training to be provided to fire brigade members; the expected number of members in the fire brigade; and the functions that the fire brigade is to perform at the workplace. The organizational statement shall be available for inspection by the Assistant Secretary and by employees or their designated representatives.

Since it has been several years since promulgation of the Fire Brigades standard, OSHA assumes that all existing fire brigades are in compliance with the provision for an organizational statement. It is estimated that a maximum of 15 new fire brigades would be organized annually. Additionally, modification to an existing organizational statement would be made only if the employer decided that fundamental changes were necessary with respect to the functions of the fire brigade or training program. It is believed that such modifications would seldom, if ever, be made because the employer would more likely disband the fire brigade. Therefore, it is estimated that on an annual basis, a maximum of five organizational statements would be modified. Consequently, it is estimated that a maximum of 20 organizational statements would be developed or modified, annually.

OSHA estimates that it takes an employer two hours to develop (or modify) and maintain an organizational statement. Accordingly, the burden of developing (or modifying), and maintaining organizational statements is as follows:

20 organizational statements x 2 hours = 40 burden hrs.

OSHA estimates that there are 55,000 facilities that have some type of fire brigade. Assuming a probable three percent OSHA Compliance Officer inspection rate:

55,000   Facilities
x   0.3   3 percent probable inspections
1,650   Inspections a year

OSHA estimates that it will take approximately 5 minutes (.08 hrs) to disclose an organizational plan.

1,650 Inspections x .08 hrs./Insp. = 132 burden hours

  §1910.156(c)(4) -- The employer shall inform fire brigade members about special hazards such as storage and use of flammable liquids and gases, toxic chemicals, radioactive sources, and water reactive substances, to which they may be exposed during fire and other emergencies. The fire brigade members shall also be advised of any changes that occur in relation to the special hazards. The employer shall develop and make available for inspection by fire brigade members, written procedures that describe the actions to be taken in situations involving the special hazards and shall include these in the training and education program.

  Burden hours covered under 1910.156(b)(1)

  COST:  Using an hourly wage rate of $23.16(1) (which includes benefits), the cost to comply with this standard is as follows:

  172 burden hours x $23.16 = $3,984

13. Provide an estimate of the total annual cost burden to respondents or recordkeepers resulting from the collection of information. (Do not include the cost of any hour burden shown in Items 12 and 14.)

The estimates of the total annual cost burden to respondents or recordkeepers resulting from this collection of information are included in Item 12.

14. Provide estimates of the annualized cost to the Federal Government. Also, provide a description of the method used to estimate cost, which should include quantification of hours, operational expenses (such as equipment, overhead, printing, and support staff), any other expense that would not have been incurred without this collection of information. Agencies also may aggregate cost estimates from Items 12, 13, and 14 into a single table.

The cost to the Federal Government would be the compliance officers' hourly wage rate ($25.56) multiplied by the time it takes to ask for a collection of information (five minutes (0.08 hours)) or $2.04 per document per visit. Other occupational expenses, such as equipment, overhead, and support staff expenses, would have occurred without these collection of information requirements and are considered normal OSHA operating expenses.

15. Explain the reasons for any program changes or adjustments reported in Items 13 or 14 of the OMB Form 83-1.

There is a slight decrease of -97 burden hours (from 269 to 172 burden hours) associated with the collections of information in the Fire Brigades standard. This decrease is a result of the Agency's recalculation of compliance inspections.

16. For collections of information whose results will be published, outline plans for tabulations, and publication. Address any complex analytical techniques that will be used. Provide the time schedule for the entire project, including beginning and ending dates of the collection of information, completion of report, publication dates, and other actions.

No information collected will be published.

17. If seeking approval to not display the expiration date for OMB approval of the information collection, explain the reasons that display would be inappropriate.

OSHA is not seeking such approval.

18. Explain each exception to the certification statement identified in Item 19, "Certification for Paperwork Reduction Act Submissions," of OMB Form 83-1.

OSHA is not seeking any exceptions.


The agency should be prepared to justify its decision not to use statistical methods in any case where such methods might reduce burden or improve accuracy of results. When Item 17 on the Form OMB 83-I is checked "Yes", the following documentation should be included in the Supporting Statement to the extent that it applies to the methods proposed:

1. Describe (including a numerical estimate) the potential respondent universe and any sampling or other respondent selection methods to be used. Data on the number of entities (e.g., establishments, State and local government units, households, or persons) in the universe covered by the collection and in the corresponding sample are to be provided in tabular form for the universe as a whole and for each of the strata in the proposed sample. Indicate expected response rates for the collection as a whole. If the collection had been conducted previously, include the actual response rate achieved during the last collection.

2. Describe the procedures for the collection of information including:

  • Statistical methodology for stratification and sample selection,

  • Estimation procedure,

  • Degree of accuracy needed for the purpose described in the justification,

  • Unusual problems requiring specialized sampling procedures, and

  • Any use of periodic (less frequently than annual) data collection cycles to reduce burden.
3. Describe methods to maximize response rates and to deal with issues of non-response. The accuracy and reliability of information collected must be shown to be adequate for intended uses. For collections based on sampling, a special justification must be provided for any collection that will not yield "reliable" data that can be generalized to the universe studied.

4. Describe any tests of procedures or methods to be undertaken. Testing is encouraged as an effective means of refining collections of information to minimize burden and improve utility. Tests must be approved if they call for answers to identical questions from 10 or more respondents. A proposed test or set of tests may be submitted for approval separately or in combination with the main collection of information.

5. Provide the name and telephone number of individuals consulted on statistical aspects of the design and the name of the agency unit, contractor(s), grantee(s), or other person(s) who will actually collect and/or analyze the information for the agency.

This is not applicable since there is no requirement for the collection of information employing statistical methods.

Footnote (1)This figure was arrived at by taking an hourly wage rate of $16.59 for a person with managerial expertise (from Employment and Earnings, January 1997, U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)) and accounting for benefits as well as wages by multiplying the figure by 1.396 (BLS, Employer Costs for Employee Compensation, March 1996). (Back to Text)