PAPERWORK REDUCTION ACT 1995 SUBMISSION
SUPPORTING STATEMENT FOR
PERMIT-REQUIRED CONFINED SPACES
29 CFR 1910.146


blackBALL Federal Register [04/16/1999] #64:18938-18939
Permit-Required Confined Spaces 29 CFR 1910.146);
Information Collection Requirements.


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.

The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 authorizes the promulgation of such health and safety standards as are necessary or appropriate to provide safe or healthful employment and places of employment. The statute specifically authorizes information collection by employers as necessary or appropriate for the enforcement of the Act or for developing information regarding the causes and prevention of occupational injuries, illnesses, and accidents.

The collections of information contained in the permit-required confined spaces standard are necessary to provide for the prevention of deaths and injuries which occur during entry into such spaces. This standard was promulgated under the authority in section 6(b) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970.

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 collections of information are used by employers and employees whenever entry is made into permit-required confined spaces. The purpose of the information is to insure that employers systematically evaluate the dangers in permit spaces before entry is attempted and to insure that adequate measures are taken to make the spaces safe for entry. In addition, the information is needed to determine, during an OSHA inspection by a compliance safety and health officer, if employers are in compliance with the standard. Less frequent information collections will seriously hinder the Agency's ability to ensure that employees are protected from permit-required confined space hazards as required by the standard.

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 when reporting or maintaining records associated with the collections of information.

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

OSHA is unaware of any other Federal requirements for this information.

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

The burden of compliance with the information collection requirements of the standard is an equal obligation for all employers.

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

The information collection frequencies specified in the standard are the minimum amount necessary and appropriate.

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 a statistical data classification that has not been reviewed and approved by OMB;

  • that includes a pledge of confidentiality that is not supported by authority established in statute 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 demonstrate that it has instituted procedures to protect the information's confidentiality 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 data 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 prior to submission to OMB. Summarize public comments received in response to that notice and describe actions taken by the agency in response to these comments. Specifically address comments received on cost and hour burden.

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, disclosed, 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 3 years -- even if the collection of information activity is the same as in prior periods. There may be circumstances that may preclude consultation in a specific situation. These circumstances should be explained.

To date, no major problems have been identified with the paperwork requirements contained in the standard for Permit-Required Confined Spaces (29 CFR 1910.146). As required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA-95), the Agency will issue a Federal Register notice soliciting comments from the public and other interested parties on the information collection requirements contained in the standard. The Agency will then review and address any comments received in response to this notice before obtaining OMB approval of the paperwork requirement contained in the above standard.

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

No payments or gifts will be provided to respondents.

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 form 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:

  • Indicate 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 burden, and explain the reasons for the variance. Generally, 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 burden estimates for each form and aggregate the hour burdens in Item 13 of OMB Form 83-I.

  • 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.
Estimates of the burden hours for each information collection requirement are shown below. Information regarding the number of permit spaces, the number of establishments with permit spaces, and the number of permit space entrants have been taken from Table II-1 of the Final Regulatory Impact Analysis and Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (RIA) of the final Permit-Required Confined Space standard (58 FR 4542). The annual burden hours calculated here are for subsequent years only because the standard has been in effect for more than five years, thus, OSHA is assuming that the first year burdens have been met.

  • 1910.146(c)(2) -- If the workplace contains permit spaces, the employer shall inform exposed employees, by posting danger signs or by any other equally effective means, of the existence and location of and the danger posed by the permit spaces.

    NOTE: A sign reading "DANGER -- PERMIT-REQUIRED CONFINED SPACE, DO NOT ENTER" or using other similar language would satisfy the requirement for a sign.

    Preparation of "Danger -- Permit Required Confined Space" Sign

    In the final RIA, OSHA estimates that there are approximately 4,844,849 permit spaces being entered annually, half of which (2,422,425) are susceptible to inadvertent entry and, therefore, must be marked by a warning sign. Signs are expected to last five years (averaging out to a per year rate of 20 percent). OSHA estimated that it would take five minutes (.08 hr.) for an average laborer to replace the signs.

    The language for the warning sign is provided by the standard, therefore, in accordance Section 1320.3(c)(2) of PRA-95, posting of this warning sign is not within the definition of a collection of information. However, OSHA does allow the employer to use other language on the warning sign if desired. The Agency believes an employer would very rarely opt for the "similar language," but for purposes of this supporting statement, OSHA estimates that two (2) percent of the susceptible spaces will include a warning sign with language other than that provided by OSHA.

    2,422,425 spaces x 2 percent with own version of sign x 20 percent of spaces changing sign per year x .08 hr. to post sign = 775 burden hours

    COST: Using an hourly wage rate of $17.84(1) (which includes benefits), the cost to comply with this provision is as follows:

    775 burden hours x $17.84 = $13,826 (total annual cost for danger sign posting)
  • 1910.146(c)(4) -- If the employer decides that its employees will enter permit spaces, the employer shall develop and implement a written permit space program that complies with this section. The written program shall be available for inspection by employees and their authorized representatives.

    Preparation of a written permit space entry program

    Employers whose employees enter permit spaces are required to develop, implement, and use an entry permit system that includes written procedures describing how permits are to be issued at the establishment. According to the information in the standard's RIA, there are 238,853 establishments, with 4,844,849 permit spaces, subject to this provision. The RIA also states that an employer without a written program can expect to spend a minimum of 16 hours developing a written program; an employer with unwritten, informal confined space entry procedures can expect to develop a written program in a minimum of 8 hours. Since the standard has been in effect for over five years, OSHA believes that existing establishments have already prepared and implemented their permit space entry program. The Agency has no definitive number of new establishments which will be required to develop a written program, but estimates five (5) percent of the total number of establishments (11,943) are new establishments who must prepare a written permit space entry program. For purposes of this paperwork package, OSHA is assuming that all new establishments have no written program.

    11,943 new establishments which must prepare a permit space program annually x 16 hours to prepare a written program, maintain and disclose it = 191,088 total annual burden hours for the preparation of a written permit space entry program

    COST: Using an hourly wage rate of $23.16(2) (which includes benefits), the cost to comply with this provision is as follows:

    191,088 burden hours x $23.16 = $4,425,598 (total annual cost for preparation of written permit space entry program)
  • 1910.146(c)(5)(i)(E) -- The determinations and supporting data required by paragraphs (c)(5)(i)(A), (c)(5)(i)(B), and (c)(5)(i)(C) of this section are documented by the employer and are made available to each employee who enters the permit space under the terms of paragraph (c)(5) of this section or to that employee's authorized representative; and...

    Documentation of determinations and supporting data required for entries using the alternative procedures

    According to the standard's Regulatory Impact Analysis, approximately 2.7 million permit spaces will be entered each year under the alternative procedures allowed in paragraph (c)(5) of the standard. A documentation of the determinations and supporting data for each entry under the alternative procedures is required and must be maintained and disclosed to each employee. OSHA believes that the process takes 15 minutes (.25 hr.), therefore:

    2,700,000 permit spaces to be entered annually using the alternative procedures x .25 hour required to complete documentation = 675,000 total annual burden hours for the documentation of the determinations and supporting data needed to perform entry under the standard's alternative procedures

    COST: Using an hourly wage rate of $22.31(3) (which includes benefits), the cost to comply with this provision is as follows:

    675,000 burden hours x $22.31 = $15,059,250 (total annual cost for the documentation of the determinations and supporting data needed to perform entry under the standard's alternative procedures)
  • 1910.146(c)(5)(ii)(H) -- The employer shall verify that the space is safe for entry and that the pre-entry measures required by paragraph (c)(5)(ii) of this section have been taken, through a written certification that contains the date, the location of the space, and the signature of the person providing the certification. The certification shall be made before entry and shall be made available to each employee entering the space or to that employee's authorized representative.

    Written certification for the alternative procedures

    According to the standard's Regulatory Impact Analysis, approximately 2,700,000 permit spaces will be entered each year under the abbreviated permit system. A written certificate must be prepared in accordance with paragraph (c)(5)(ii)(H) of the standard for each of these entries. OSHA estimates that it will take 5 minutes (.08 hr.) to generate, disclose and maintain the written certification (one year retention).

    2,700,000 permit spaces to be entered annually under abbreviated procedures x (.08 hr.) required to generate, maintain and disclose the written certificate = 216,000 total annual burden hours for the preparation of alternative certificates

    COST: Using an hourly wage rate of $22.31 (which includes benefits), the cost to comply with this provision is as follows:

    216,000 burden hours x $22.31 = $4,818,960 (total annual cost for written certification for entries under the alternative procedures)
  • 1910.146(c)(7)(iii) -- The employer shall document the basis for determining that all hazards in a permit space have been eliminated, through a certification that contains, the date, the location of the space, and the signature of the person making the determination. The certification shall be made available to each employee entering the space or to that employee's authorized representative.

    Written certification that all hazards have been eliminated (reclassification of a permit space)

    According to of the standard's Regulatory Impact Analysis, approximately 200,000 permit spaces will be declassified each year under paragraph (c)(7) of the standard. A certificate must be prepared in accordance with paragraph (c)(7)(iii) for each of these entries. OSHA estimates that it takes 5 minutes (.08 hr.) to generate, disclose and maintain the certification. Therefore:

    200,000 permit spaces to be entered annually under the reclassification x .08 hr. to generate, disclose and maintain the written certification (one year retention) = 16,000 total annual burden hours for the preparation of declassification certificates

    COST: Using an hourly wage rate of $22.31 (which includes benefits), the cost to comply with this provision is as follows:

    16,000 burden hours x $22.31 = $356,960 (total annual cost for written certifications required for paragraph (c)(7) entries)
  • 1910.146(d) -- Permit-required confined space program (permit space program). Under the permit space program required by paragraph (c)(4) of this section, the employer shall:
    (1) Implement the measures necessary to prevent unauthorized entry;

    (2) Identify and evaluate the hazards of permit spaces before employees enter them;

    (3) Develop and implement the means, procedures, and practices necessary for safe permit space entry operations, including, but not limited to, the following:
    Requirements for a permit-required confined space program

    Burden hours counted under 1910.146(c)(4).
  • 1910.146(e) -- Permit system. (1) Before entry is authorized, the employer shall document the completion of measures required by paragraph (d)(3) of this section by preparing an entry permit.

  • 1910.146(e)(3) -- The completed permit shall be made available at the time of entry to all authorized entrants or their authorized representatives, by posting it at the entry portal of by any other equally effective means, so that the entrants can confirm that pre-entry preparations have been completed.

  • 1910.146(e)(6) -- The employer shall retain each canceled entry permit for at least one (1) year to facilitate the review of the permit-required confined space program required by paragraph (d)(4) of this section....

    Written entry permits

    According to the standard's Regulatory Impact Analysis, approximately 1,900,000 permit spaces will be entered each year under the full permit system. A complete written permit, prepared in accordance with paragraph (f) of the standard, must be generated for each of these entries, made available to authorized entrants by posting it, and retained for one year.

    1,900,000 permit spaces to be entered annually under the full permit system x 15 minutes (.25 hr.) to generate, post and maintain a written permit = 475,000 total annual burden hours for the preparation of written entry permits

    COST: Using an hourly wage rate of $22.31 (which includes benefits), the cost to comply with this provision is as follows:

    475,000 burden hours x $22.31 = $10,597,250 (total annual cost for preparation of written entry permits)
  • 1910.146(g)(1) -- The employer shall provide training so that all employees whose work is regulated by this section acquire the understanding, knowledge, and skills necessary for the safe performance of the duties assigned under this section.

  • 1910.146(g)(2) -- Training shall be provided to each affected employee:

    (i) Before the employee is first assigned duties under this section;

    (ii) Before there is a change in assigned duties;

    (iii) Whenever there is a change in permit space operations that presents a hazard about which an employee has not previously been trained;

    (iv) Whenever the employer has reason to believe either that there are deviations from the permit space entry procedures required by paragraph (d)(3) of this section or that there are inadequacies in the employees knowledge or use of these procedures.
  • 1910.146(g)(4) -- The employer shall certify that the training required by paragraphs (g)(1) through (g)(3) of this section has been accomplished. The certification shall contain each employee's name, the signatures or initials of the trainers, and the dates of training. The certification shall be available for inspection by employees and their authorized representatives.

    Preparation of certification of training

    The standard is written in performance-oriented language, not considered a collection of information under PRA-95, thus, no burden is shown for the training activity. However, a record of all training must be prepared, maintained, and disclosed. According to the RIA there are approximately 1.6 million employees who enter permit spaces annually. OSHA believes that 10 percent of these employees (160,000) are considered new employees or are assigned new duties which will require that they receive new training in any given year. A new record of training will be prepared for these employees. The Permit-Required Confined Space standard has been in affect since 1993, thus, OSHA assumes that 90 percent of the current staffing level of 1,600,000 employees have already been trained and a record prepared. OSHA has calculated the burden for maintaining and disclosing the previously prepared records.

    OSHA believes it will take three minutes (.05 hr.) to prepare the certification record, and two minutes (.03 hr.) to maintain and disclose it upon request.
    1,600,000 employees x .03 hr. to maintain/disclose record = 48,000 annual burden hours

    160,000 new/retrained employees x .08 hr. to generate (prepare) maintain and disclose record = 12,800 burden hours

    COST: Using an hourly wage rate of $22.31 (which includes benefits), the cost to comply with this provision is as follows:

    48,000 + 12,800 = 60,800 burden hours x $22.31 = $1,356,448 (total annual costs for training certifications)

    TOTAL ANNUAL BURDEN HOURS:  1,634,663

    TOTAL ANNUAL COSTS:  $36,628,292
13. Provide an estimate of the total annual cost burden to respondents or record keepers resulting from the collection of information. (Do not include the cost of any hour burden shown in Items 12 and 14).

Costs under this item for complying with the standard are included under those costs in Item 12.

14. Provide estimates of 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), and 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 in a single table.

The cost to the Federal Government associated with the collection of information requirements described in this supporting statement is $875.56. This cost is based on the average time (5 minutes (.08 hr.)) that a compliance officer (GS-12, step 5), with an hourly wage rate of $26.50, spends reviewing information at the time of an inspection. Information derived from recent OSHA enforcement data, dated October 1, 1997 through September 30, 1998, indicate that at least 413 inspections were made involving the collections covered in this supporting statement. 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 reporting in Items 13 or 14 of the OMB Form 83-I.

There is a change of +119,152 burden hours associated with this paperwork package (from 1,515,511 hours to 1,634,663 hours). Increases occurred in two provisions (1910.146(c)(4) and 1910.146(g)(4)). A decrease occurred in 1910.146(c)(2). In 1910.146(c)(4), OSHA increased its hours from 47,772 to 191,088 (+143,316 burden hours). This increase resulted because in the previous package, OSHA assumed that new establishments would have an existing, but unwritten procedure for a permit space entry program and that it would only take four (4) hours to prepare the written program. OSHA has reevaluated its previous estimate. Based on the RIA, OSHA assumes that new establishments will have to develop a written program, which takes 16 hours.

Also In 1910.146(g)(4), OSHA increased its hours from 22,708 to 60,800 (+38,092 burden hours). In the previous package, OSHA used total establishments rather than total employees in calculating the time it takes to prepare training certifications.

OSHA decreased its previous estimated burden hours in 1910.146(c)(4) from 62,983 hours to 775 hours (-62,208 burden hours). This decrease is discussed fully in number 12 of this document).

16. For collections of information whose results will be published, outline plans for tabulation, 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.

This question is not applicable as this information will not be published for statistical use.

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 approval to not display the expiration date of OMB's approval of this collection of information.

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

OSHA is not seeking exceptions to the certification statement in Item 19.

B. COLLECTION OF INFORMATION EMPLOYMENT STATISTICAL METHODS

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.

1. This figure was arrived at by taking an hourly wage rate of $12.78 for an average manufacturing worker (figure taken 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)
2. This figure was arrived at by taking an hourly wage rate of $16.59 for a manager (figure taken 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)
3. This figure was arrived at by taking an hourly wage rate of $15.98 for a supervisory manufacturing worker (figure taken 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)