Commercial Diving Operations

blue bulletFederal Register [04/20/1998] #63:19518-19519
Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection; Comment Request;
Commercial Diving Operations

  1. 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.

      Divers are called upon to use their skills in activities such as construction, repair, salvage, inspection, pipe laying and rescue operations. The diver's environment is inherently hazardous and divers must rely completely on external life support systems while working under severe performance limitations (cold, pressure, limited visibility, etc.).

      Thorough planning for emergencies and development of appropriate contingency plans are essential to the safety of all diving activities since being underwater impedes rescue efficiency. Careful consideration must be given to potential emergencies before any operation is undertaken, so that necessary aid may be obtained as quickly as possible.

      Other safety precautions must be routinely incorporated into the diving operations. For example, whenever diving outside the no-decompression time-depth limits is planned, appropriate decompression tables designed to return the diver to the surface without developing decompression illness, must be followed. In the event that decompression sickness does develop, a decompression chamber, oxygen or treatment gas mixtures, and treatment tables and instructions must be readily available to treat this condition quickly and effectively.

      Public Law 91-596, the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, establishes the responsibility and authority of the Secretary of Labor to develop and promulgate 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 recordkeeping provisions are designed to minimize the possibility of a commercial diver being injured or killed (e.g., by gas embolism, decompression sickness) due to poor planning. The safe practices manual acts as a check reference in situations where persons may be unfamiliar with this standard or the employer's own particular instructions to be implemented in crucial situations. The record of each dive lists the times and depths each diver has experienced on a dive. Cumulative concentrations of both factors to an excess have caused irreversible physiological damage to divers and the dive record makes it possible to keep track of the salient aspects of the dive.

      The decompression assessment makes it possible to individualize the decompression periods of each diver. Based generally on individual susceptibility, it provides a safeguard against the cumulative results of repetitive decompression sickness.

      Additionally, the equipment used in a diving operation is critical. It must be in proper operating condition and carefully inspected prior to use in diving operations. For example, compressors must be well maintained and located away from sources that could contaminate the breathing gas supply of divers with carbon monoxide. The safety implication of equipment failure for divers who may be at great depth and who cannot be brought to the surface quickly due to the effects of pressure, warrants the greatest attention to equipment condition and suitability. The requirement for logs or tags for repaired, maintained or modified equipment is for the purpose of demonstrating equipment is safe for use.

      As indicated, this equipment provision (1910.430(a)(2)) requires that work done on or to equipment used in diving operations be recorded. The failure to keep records concerning such operations as equipment modification, repair, testing, calibration, or maintenance service, could constitute a serious hazard to the health or safety of a diver. Therefore, in this instance, OSHA believes that the provision is an appropriate recordkeeping item. A diver is totally dependent on external life support; that is diving support systems such as air compressor systems, breathing gas supply hoses, compressed gas cylinders, decompression chambers, etc. It is absolutely imperative that equipment operate correctly and that problems with equipment be identified in advance of diving operations. In this regard, identification of the nature of the work performed on this critical equipment can isolate problem equipment in advance and better assure that equipment which is essential to employees performing diving operations is functioning as intended and, thus, safely.

      Without the records required in the diving standard, necessary safeguards that have proven extremely effective in protecting commercial divers against inherent and obvious hazards underwater would be removed and as a result the fatality and injury/illness rate for this industry could rise. Consequences of accidents in diving can be severe due to the environment in which divers work. Additionally, without proper knowledge of the time and depth of divers, treatment of decompression sickness properly, could be jeopardized.

      The section pertaining to recordkeeping (1910.440) does not require that new records be generated, but specifies the disposition of those records already required to be developed by the standard or generally by the Act. The disposition of the records includes their retention for a period of time, making them available, or final record disposition.

    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.

    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.

      Both OSHA and the U.S. Coast Guard have some jurisdiction for diving operations; however, jurisdiction is different and, thus, duplication is avoided.

    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 requirements 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.

      The information collection frequencies specified in the Commercial Diving Operations 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 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.

      To date, no major problems have been identified with the paperwork requirements contained in the Commercial Diving Operations standard. 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 Commercial Diving Operations). The Agency will then review and address any comments received in response to this notice before obtaining OMB approval of the paperwork requirements contained in the above standard.

    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.

      • There are approximately 2,400 commercial divers and 3,000 businesses employing these divers.

      • 1910.420(a) -- Safe Practices Manual Initial preparation time: 1 hour OSHA is assuming a 90 percent compliance rate with this provision, thus, OSHA is only taking a burden for 10 percent of the businesses for this provision. However, OSHA is taking a full burden for all businesses to maintain and disclose (5 minutes [.08 hr.]) the manual upon request.
        3,000 x 10% x 1 hour = 300 burden hours
        3,000 x .08 hr. = 240 burden hours
        540 burden hours
        1910.422(e) -- Depth-Time Profile Because divers must track this information in the event they require medical assistance/decompression as a result of a dive, OSHA regards the depth-time profile as a usual and customary activity and believes that there is no burden upon employers. 1910.423(d) -- Record of Dive. Each diver performs approximately 150 dives annually. It is estimated that it takes approximately 10 minutes (.17 hr.) to record, maintain and disclose the dive information.
        2,400 divers x 150 dives x .17 hour = 61,200 burden hrs.
        1910.423(d)(3) --Decompression Procedures Assessment. 1910.423(e)(3) -- Evaluation of Assessment. Of total dives, approximately one percent (3,600) may be subjected to decompression sickness. It is estimated that it takes 2 hour to perform the decompression assessment and evaluation, and to maintain and disclose the information.
        3,600 dives x 2 hrs. = 7,200 burden hrs.
        1910.430(a)(2) -- Equipment Recordings (Tag or Log).

        OSHA estimates that 10 percent of dives(ers) would have, on average, five pieces of equipment which might need to be modified, repaired, tested, calibrated or receive maintenance service. It is estimated that it takes 5 minutes (.08 hr.) to inspect the equipment and 2 minutes (.03 hr.) to record the information by either tagging or logging.
        36,000 dives(ers) x 5 pieces of equipment x .12 hr. = 21,600 burden hours
        1910.440(a)(2) -- Recording of Diving-Related Injury or Illness. OSHA estimates that no more than one percent of the dives (3,600) require hospitalization of 24 hours or more. It is also estimated to take 10 minutes (.17 hr.) to record the occurrence and to maintain and disclose the record.
        3,600 dives x .17 hr. = 612 burden hours
        COST:   Using an hourly wage rate of $23.16(1) (which includes
        benefits), the cost to comply with this standard is as follows:
        90,045 burden hours x $23.16 = $2,085,442

    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 (5 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 decrease of -20,960 burden hours (from 111,005 to 90,045 burden hours) associated with the collections of information associated with Commercial Diving. This decrease is a result of the Agency refining its earlier estimates in light of PRA-95.

    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)