Construction Posting Requirements -- Emergency Number and Floor Load Limits
29 CFR 1926.50(f) and 1926.250(a)(2)

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 require 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 health and safety standards 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.

This paperwork package addresses two general provisions in OSHA's construction standards (29 CFR part 1926) that require employers to post specific information: §1926.50(f), which requires that emergency phone numbers be posted, and §1926.250(a)(2), which requires the posting of floor load limits in storage areas.

§1926.50(f) - This provision requires that telephone numbers of physicians, hospitals, or ambulances are to be conspicuously posted, except in areas where 911 is available. Since construction work is hazardous at times and the injury and severity rates are high in spite of efforts to abate identifiable hazards, there is a need to obtain medical attention or provide ambulance and hospital service as expeditiously as possible. It is therefore necessary to require that the phone numbers be conspicuously posted on construction job sites.

§1926.250(a)(2) - Maximum safe load limits of floors within buildings and structures, in pounds per square foot, must be posted in all storage areas, except for floor or slab on grade. During construction of certain multi-story buildings or structures, it is necessary to store materials on elevated floors. To make sure the floor is not overloaded, OSHA requires the load limits to be posted in the storage area in pounds per square foot. This should eliminate the hazard of building collapse due to overloading.

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

Emergency numbers. In areas where 911 service is not available, employers and employees use this information in an emergency when medical assistance is needed due to accident or illness.. Suppliers of equipment, materials, or services provide wall placards, etc., with spaces to post the required phone numbers free of charge, which facilitates employer compliance. The employer then writes in the number and posts the placards in his office or on some appropriate surface of a facility at the job site. With the phone numbers posted in a conspicuous location, any employee on the job can read the phone number or the appropriate service and not have to lose time searching for the number on his or her own.

Having this requirement helps the employer reduce the degree of harm occasioned by serious injury to employees. This accomplishes the government's mission of reducing the severity of injuries by seeing that employees are provided prompt medical attention.

Load limits. Employees storing materials in the posted storage area will be apprised by the signs of the maximum storage load. They will then be able to limit the loading to within the prescribed limits. Without the posting requirement, employees would be at risk of a building collapse.

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

Emergency Numbers. Employers may use "911" in areas where available, as well as speed dialing equipment.

Load limits. Improved information technology may be used to calculate load limits.

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

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

Emergency Numbers. OSHA contacted telephone company representatives regarding the extent to which 911 can be used nationwide. It was determined that 911 service is still inadequate in some areas of the U.S.

There is no similar information being collected.

Load Limits. There is no duplication since generally only one employer would store material in a particular storage area.

There is no similar information related to this posting requirement being collected.

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.

Emergency Numbers. Although all construction employers are subject to this requirement, the burden is often shared. The construction manager or general contractor usually provides the numbers for all contractors with employees at that location.

Load Limits. The load limits are usually posted by the general contractor. The smaller contractors usually rely on that posting.

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.

Emergency Numbers. This is not a collection or recordkeeping requirements that requires multiple collections. The employer obtains the phone numbers once for any given location or area and retains it until the service or persons furnishing the service cease to do so.

Load Limits. The posting must be done only once per storage area.

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 quaterly;

  • 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 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 prove that it has instituted procedures to protect the information's confidentially to the extent permitted by law.
Both 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.

On June 18, 1998, at 63 FR 33469, OSHA published a final rule amending 1926.50(f) to eliminate the requirement to post the 911 number in areas where that service is available. The requirement became effective August 17, 1998.

As required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, OSHA solicited comments from the public on the burden hour estimates and the need for the collections in 29 CFR 1926.50(f) and 1926.250(a)(2) through an announcement in the Federal Register, published on July 14, 1998 (63 FR 37907-37908). That notice was part of a preclearance consultation program to provide an opportunity for interested parties to comment on the request for extension of the OMB approval of the information collection requirements found in the standard. OSHA did not receive any comments in response to the notice.

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

No payments or gifts will be provided to the 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 in this rulemaking.

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 under this rule.

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.
§1926.50  Medical services and first aid.

* * * * *

(f) The telephone numbers of the physicians, hospitals, or ambulances shall be conspicuously posted.

On June 18, 1998, at 63 FR 33469, OSHA published a final rule amending 29 CFR 1926.50(f) to eliminate the requirement to post the 911 number in areas where that service is available. Effective August 17, 1998, the requirement will be revised to read as follows: (f) In areas where 911 is not available, the telephone numbers of the physicians, hospitals, or ambulances shall be conspicuously posted.

There are 1.4 million construction starts each year. Of these, 1.2 million are individual residential units (single-family houses). OSHA believes that half of the 1.2 million residential starts involve a site where two or more homes are built. In these situations, contractors need only post the number one time. OSHA does not know the exact number of residential units under construction at each location; that is, one contractor may have 25 houses, or as many as 100, under construction at the same site. For purposes of this paperwork package, OSHA is assuming that 50 percent of the 1.2 million houses are being built at a site of two or more homes. Thus, the burden for this posting requirement is calculated for 50 percent of the housing starts, or 600,000 sites (1.2 X 50% = 600,000) and 200,000 commercial sites, for a total of 800,000 construction sites.

Effective August 17, 1998, only employers who are not using 911 must post emergency numbers. This package calculates the burden that will be in effect after August 17. Of the 800,000 sites, OSHA estimates that 90% will have the "911" service available (800,000 X 90% = 720,000). The remaining 10%, or 80,000 will be sites where the employer will have to post the emergency numbers. The Agency estimates that it takes two minutes to obtain the phone number and write it on a poster.

800,000 X 90% = 720,000 jobsites using 911     -0-
800,000 X 10% = 80,000 x 2 minutes ÷ 60 = 2,667 hours
Total hours for posting of emergency numbers 2,667


The Agency assumes that there is no cost involved in writing emergency numbers using materials already found on the construction jobsite, such as on a sheet of paper or cardboard and then posting it on the wall. The costs involved would be in the wages of those responsible for posting. Using an hourly wage rate of $21.54 (which includes benefits), the cost to comply with this standard is $57,447, which is calculated as follows:

2,667 hours X $21.54 = $57,447

§1926.250  General requirements for storage.

  (a) * * * * *
  (2) Maximum safe load limits of floors within buildings and structures, in pounds per square foot, shall be conspicuously posted in all storage areas, except for floor or slab on grade. Maximum safe loads shall not be exceeded.

It is a "usual and customary" practice to have engineering drawings at the site which contain construction load limits and these are kept at the jobsite throughout the project. During construction of certain multi-story buildings or structures, it is necessary to store materials on elevated floors. Before materials are stored in a storage area on an elevated floor, the general contractor or the employer storing the material consults the engineering drawings to ensure the floor will not be overloaded. There generally is no cost involved since contractors will have signs or materials available for posting. These can easily be made with typical material found on a construction site. It takes approximately 5 minutes to prepare and post a sign.

Data received from the F. W. Dodge Construction Report shows that in 1996, 138,631 apartment and other buildings having at least 2-3 stories were built. These structures have elevated floors on which materials could be stored. The Agency estimates that employers would likely use elevated areas for storage in 25% of the total number of buildings, or 34,658.

34,658 structures X 5 minutes ÷ 60 = 2888 hours

Cost of Posting:

Using an hourly wage rate of $21.54 (1) (which includes benefits), the cost to comply with this standard is $62,207, which is calculated as follows:

2888 total burden hours x $21.54 = $62,207

Total burden hours:

Total hours
2,667 hours
2,888 hours

Recent U.S. Census Bureau data shows there are approximately 187,562 general contractors. 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 cost estimate should be split into two components: (a) a total capital and start-up cost component (annualized over its expected useful life); and (b) a total operation and maintenance and purchase of services component. The estimates should take into account costs associated with generating, maintaining, and disclosing or providing the information. Include descriptions of methods used to estimate major cost factors including system and technology acquisition, expected useful life of capital equipment, the discount rate(s), and the time period over which costs will be incurred. Capital and start-up costs include, among other items, preparations for collecting information such as purchasing computers and software; monitoring, sampling, drilling and testing equipment; and record storage facilities.

  • If cost estimates are expected to vary widely, agencies should present ranges of cost burdens and explain the reasons for the variance. The cost of purchasing or contracting out information collection services should be a part of this cost burden estimate. In developing cost burden estimates, agencies may consult with a sample of respondents (fewer than 10), use the 60-day pre-OMB submission public comment process and use existing economic or regulatory impact analysis associated with the rulemaking containing the information collection, as appropriate.

  • Generally, estimates should not include purchases of equipment or services, or portions thereof, made: (1) prior to October 1, 1995, (2) to achieve regulatory compliance with requirements not associated with the information collection, (3) for reasons other than to provide information or keep records for the government, or (4) as part of customary and usual business or private practices.
Costs under this item for complying with this standard are included under those 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), 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 into a single table.

The cost to the Federal Government is the OSHA compliance officer's hourly wage rate ($25.56 average for GS-12 employee compliance officer) multiplied by the time it takes to observe the posted information for a collection of information (5 minutes or 0.08 hour) or $2.04 per document per visit. Other operational 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-I.

There is a program change of -3,311 from the inventory. This program change has resulted from OSHA's recent rule making which eliminates the burden on employers to post an emergency number if they are using 911. 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.

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 appropriate.

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-I.

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


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 $15.43 for an average construction worker (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)