(29 CFR 1910.272)

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.

Devastating fires and explosions have occurred in grain handling facilities. These fires and explosions can most often be attributed to the presence of combustible grain dust (fuel), the availability of an ignition source, air and in the case of an explosion, confinement.

Therefore, a provision in the Grain Handling Facilities standard requires employers to develop and implement a housekeeping program and to specify, in writing, how dust is to be controlled in the grain handling facility. OSHA believes that having a planned approach for controlling and minimizing dust in grain handling facilities has had a positive impact on reducing the number of fires and explosions in these facilities.

However, recognizing that an incident could still occur, OSHA requires facilities to develop and implement an emergency action plan so that employees would be aware of the appropriate actions to take in the event of an emergency.

In addition, the standard requires that employers issue hot work permits when hot work is performed, that employers issue permits for entry into grain storage structures and that all mechanical, electrical, hydraulic, and pneumatic equipment which represents a danger to employees entering these structures be deenergized.

Further, the standard requires employers to implement procedures for the use of tags and locks to prevent inadvertent operation of equipment being prepared, serviced or adjusted. Finally, certification records are required to be prepared after scheduled inspections of the mechanical and safety control equipment associated with dryers, grain stream processing equipment, and dust collection equipment.

The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, 29 USC 651 et seq., establishes the responsibility and authority of the Secretary of Labor for occupational safety and health standards. Section 8 of the Act (29 USC 657) 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 purpose of the housekeeping program is to require employers to have a planned course of action for the control and reduction of dust in grain handling facilities reducing the fuel available in a grain facility. The housekeeping program must specify in writing the frequency that housekeeping will be performed and the dust control methods that the employer believes will best reduce dust accumulations in the facility.

The written housekeeping program is used by employers in understanding their duties and responsibilities as an integral part of an overall program to control dust; and, what specific actions they are to take to reduce dust accumulations at the facility. The written housekeeping program is also used by compliance officers as a measure of compliance to compare the planned actions specified in the housekeeping program to those actually implemented to maintain an effective dust control program.

Failure to have a written housekeeping program would result in the absence of a formalized policy on the part of the employer regarding the importance of the facility dust control program, what actions are to be taken during certain circumstances, and the duties and responsibilities of employees in removing dust accumulations. The absence of these factors could adversely impact the effectiveness of the facility dust control program.

Additionally, if an incident occurs, employees should be aware of the appropriate actions in advance that need to be taken during the emergency.

The hot work permit is to assure that the employer is aware of the hot work being performed and that appropriate safety precautions have been taken prior to beginning the work. The permit for entering bins, silos, or tanks is to assure that employers and employees know if these spaces are safety to enter, and the requirement to deenergize equipment which presents a danger to employees entering these bins, silos, or tanks is to assure that employees are not injured due to accidental energization of equipment.

The procedures for the use of tags and locks while servicing equipment is meant to prevent inadvertent injury to employees servicing equipment. Finally, the requirement for certification records of maintenance inspections reiterates to the employer and employees that scheduled inspections have been performed.

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.

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.

Several provisions of the standard give special consideration to small grain handling facilities to minimize their burden. Regarding the housekeeping program, grain elevators are required to implement a housekeeping program that addresses dust accumulations in excess of 1/8 inch in priority housekeeping areas. The housekeeping program requires identification of these priority housekeeping areas, as well as specification of the methods that would be used to remove dust accumulations exceeding 1/8 inch in these areas. However, all other grain handling facilities, most of which are small mills, are not be required to address the 1/8 inch action level or priority housekeeping areas in their housekeeping programs. Instead, these facilities (mostly small entities) will only be required to develop and implement a written housekeeping program that specifies the frequency of housekeeping and the methods that will be used to control dust.

The emergency action plan also has consideration for small businesses. A primary example is that for facilities of 10 or less, the plan may be orally communicated and need not be written.

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 collections of information are for the purpose of employee safety and health in the workplace and is 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 Grain Handling Facilities standard. As required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA-95), the Agency issued a Federal Register notice on June 26, 1998, (63 FR 34931) soliciting comments from the public and other interested parties on the information collection requirements contained in the standard. The Agency received one comment from Sanderson Farms, Inc. The commenter objected to an increase in recordkeeping requirements noting that "[t]he information, that is proposed to be collected, can be obtained by a compliance officer while visiting the affected facilities." OSHA believes that the commenter understood that the "collection of information" meant that the information would be sent to OSHA. This is not the case since no changes were made to the requirements.

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

No payments or gifts are provided to respondents, other than remuneration, 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.
OSHA estimates that there are 23,770 grain elevators and mills covered by the standard.

Grain Elevators: 13,200   Country
  450   Inland-terminal
  250   High-throughput inland-terminal
           75   Export

Mills: 9,000   Feed mills
  80   Oil seed processing
  360   Flour mills
  70   Rice mills
        285   Dog and cat food

  13,975 + 9,795 = 23,770

1910.272(d) -- Emergency action plan.
1910.272(j) -- Housekeeping program.
1910.272(m)(4) -- Procedures for tags and locks.

Because many mills are attached to elevators (the majority of employees in small and medium feed mills are also employees of country elevators), and facilities do not need to develop more than one plan/program/procedure per site, OSHA has estimated the number of impacted facilities to be 16,200. Further, since the standard has been in effect for some time, OSHA is assuming that all of the facilities are currently in compliance with the provisions to implement emergency action plans and housekeeping programs, and to develop procedures for tags and locks, but that an estimated 3 percent of these facilities (486) may need to modify their emergency action plans/housekeeping programs and tag and lock procedures annually. OSHA estimates that it takes one hour to modify each plan.

486 facilities x 3 hours modifications = 1,458 burden hours

  Provisions' Burden Hours = 1,458

1910.272(f)(1) -- Hot work permit. The employer is required to issue a permit for hot work unless the employer or the employer's representative is present while the hot work is performed; or in welding shops; or in hot work areas located outside of the grain handling structure. OSHA estimates that 40 hot work operations are conducted yearly by each facility but only half will require a permit to be issued. OSHA estimates that it takes five minutes (.08 hr.) to generate the permit and to maintain and disclose it upon request.

23,770 facilities x (40 x .50% permits issued) x .08 hr. = 38,032 burden              hours

  Provision Burden Hours = 38,032

1910.272(g)(1)(i) -- Permit for entering bins, silos or tanks.
1910.272(g)(1)(ii) -- Deenergization of equipment. These sections apply to entry into grain storage structures. Upon entry, an employer must issue a permit unless the employer or the employer's representative is present during the entire operation. OSHA estimates that entries into country elevator grain storage structures are conducted approximately 35 times per year, but only 25 percent require a permit to be issued. For all other grain storage structures, OSHA estimates that entries are conducted 61 times per year, but that 80 percent require a permit to be issued. OSHA estimates that it takes five minutes (.08 hr.) to prepare the permit, and to maintain and disclose it upon request.

In addition, upon entry, all mechanical, electrical, hydraulic, and pneumatic equipment which presents a danger to employees must be deenergized by disconnecting, locking out and tagging, blocking off, or by other equally effective means or methods. OSHA estimates that equipment must be deenergized 40 percent of the time, is locked and tagged 20 percent of the time, and that it takes 2 minutes (.03 hr.) to affix a tag.

13,200 facilities x (35 permits issued x 25%) x .08 hr. = 9,240 burden hours

795 facilities x (61 permits issued x 80%) x .08 hr. = 3,104 burden hours

13,200 facilities x (35 entries x 40%) x 20% x .03 hr. = 1,109 burden hours

795 facilities x (61 entries x 40%) x .20% x .03 hr. = 116 burden hours

  Provisions' Burden Hours: 13,569

1910.272(m) -- Preventive maintenance inspections/certification record. This certification refers to regularly scheduled inspections of at least the mechanical and safety control equipment associated with dryers, grain stream processing equipment, dust collection equipment including filter collectors, and bucket elevators. OSHA has used the total number of facilities, 23,770, for the assignment of equipment. OSHA also estimates that it will take five minutes (0.08 hr.) to generate, maintain and disclose the certification record.

Bulk raw grain dryers (applies to elevators only). One dryer per elevator.

13,975 dryers x 12 inspections/year = 167,700 inspections
167,700 inspections x .08 hr. = 13,416 burden hours

Grain stream processing equipment (elevators and mills). Removal of ferrous material from incoming grain stream (including hammer mills, grinders, and pulverizers). One stream per facility except for larger elevators (non-country). Estimated average 10 per larger elevator.

22,995 + 7,750 (larger elevators) = 30,745 streams
30,745 streams x 12 inspections/year = 368,940 inspections
368,940 inspections x .08 hr. = 29,515 burden hours

Dust collection (elevators and mills). One system per facility.

23,770 x 12 inspections/year = 285,240 inspections
285,250 inspections x .08 hr. = 22,819 burden hours

Bucket elevators (applies to elevators only). One bucket elevator per elevator except for larger elevators (non-country). Estimated 10 per larger elevator.

13,200 + 7,750 (larger elevators) = 20,950 bucket elevators
20,950 bucket elevators x 12 inspections/year = 251,400 inspections
251,400 inspections x .08 hr. = 20,112 burden hours

  Provisions' Burden Hours: 85,862

OSHA is not taking a burden for the time it takes to do the inspection. As stated in 5 CFR Part 1320.3(b)(2) "the time, effort, and financial resources necessary to comply with a collection of information that would be incurred by persons in the normal course of their activities...will be excluded from the 'burden.'" Conducting these inspections is a usual and customary business practice based on consensus code, insurance code and industry association recommendations.


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

138,921 BURDEN HOURS x $23.16 = $3,217,410

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 an increase of 133,769 burden hours (from 5,152 to 138,921) associated with the information collection requirements in the Grain Handling Facilities standard. To comply with PRA-95, OSHA has reconsidered those provisions which were not considered information collection requirements in previous packages.

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.


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 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)