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Frequently Asked Questions


Dockets | Comments or Public Submissions | Searching | General Information
Dockets

These notices are daily publications of the U.S. federal government that make available the rules, regulations, other legal notices, and non-rulemaking actions issued by federal agencies. The Federal Register allows public access to materials that support an agency's rulemaking and non-rulemaking proposals, which are housed in Dockets.

Please visit the Federal Register webpage for additional information.

A Docket is like a file cabinet of information and materials related to a specific regulatory or non-regulatory topic.

The Docket may contain:

  • One or more Federal Register documents (Rules and Notices)
  • Materials specifically referenced in the Federal Register
  • Public submissions
  • Applications, Petitions or Adjudication documents

The Docket ID number uniquely identifies a collection of materials related to a particular docket. The alphanumeric format of the Docket ID number identifies the government agency, year created and the sequence number.

For example: OSHA-2010-0003 would show that this OSHA docket was created in 2010 and was the 3rd docket created in that calendar year.

A Docket is organized by folders. Each folder represents phases of a docket and may contain Federal Register notices, supporting and related materials and public submissions.

Docket phases are electronic folders that represent the latest action taken in a docket's lifecycle. When a new docket is created, an initial phase is established. Each time an agency initiates an action related to a rulemaking or non-rulemaking docket activity, the action prompts the creation of a new phase.

Examples of docket phases include Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM), Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA) and Final rule.

Comments or Public Submissions

Public submissions are responses, from individuals or representatives of an organization, to a request for information from the Agency. These submissions may include comments expressing an opinion or position taken by a member of the public or other external stakeholder about an Agency rulemaking or other action. Other submissions may include nominations to serve on an Agency advisory committee or a notice of intent to appear at a hearing.

Comments may be submitted online at www.regulations.gov under the Docket ID number listed in the corresponding Federal Register notice (FRN) or other methods noted by the FRN.

You may also submit written comments by any of the following methods:

  • Fax: If your submissions, including attachments, are not longer than 10 pages, you may fax them to the OSHA Docket Office at (202) 693-1648.
  • Mail, hand delivery, express mail, messenger, or courier service: You must submit your comments to the following address:
    • U.S. Department of Labor - OSHA
    • Attn: OSHA Docket office
    • U.S. Department of Labor
    • Room N-2625
    • 200 Constitution Avenue, N.W.
    • Washington, DC 20210

    NOTE: Deliveries (hand, express mail, messenger, or courier service) are accepted during the Department of Labor's and Docket Office's normal business hours, 8:15 a.m.-4:45 p.m., E.T.

Once you locate a document that is open for comment, click the Comment Now! button on either the Search Results or the Document Details page. This will display the comment form. You can enter your comment on the form, attach files (up to 10MB each), as well as your personal information when applicable. Be sure to complete all required fields.

Please note that information entered on the web form may be viewable publicly. These fields are identified by the globe icon. Once you reach the Your Preview screen, the information that will be viewable publicly is displayed directly on the form under the section titled: "This information will appear on Regulations.gov." To complete your comment, you must first agree to the disclaimer and check the box. This will enable the Submit Comment button.

Upon completion, you will receive a Comment Tracking Number.

OSHA also accepts comments by mail, fax and hand delivery.

NOTE: The comment due date indicated on Regulations.gov is based on Eastern Time. For example, if the comment due date is listed as 05/05/2014, then you have until 11:59PM ET on 05/05/2014 to submit your comment via Regulations.gov.

More advice for commenters can be found at Tips for Submitting Effective Comments page on Regulations.gov (PDF*).

On the Submit a Comment page:

  • Click the Choose files button to find an attachment stored on your computer or other disk.
  • Select the file you want to attach. The name of the file will appear in the File Name field in the Upload file browser. Regulations.gov accepts the following file types: .bmp, .doc, .xls, .pdf, .gif, .htm, .html, .jpg, .jpeg, .png, .ppt, .rtf, .sgml, .tif, .tiff, .txt, .wpd, .xml, .docx, .xlsx, .pptx.
  • If you are uploading more than one attachment to the comment web form, please use the following standardized file naming convention:
    • Attachment1_<insert title of document>
    • Attachment2_<insert title of document>
    • Attachment3_<insert title of document>
  • Click the Open button to confirm that you have found the correct file.

Repeat these steps for any additional files you wish to attach.

Before you submit a comment, you must enter all required fields.

NOTE: Most browsers will include the Drop files here text. Users can drag and drop the attachment files into the browser.

Generally, comments submitted to OSHA will be posted to www.regulations.gov and also made available for in-person viewing at Agency's Docket Office.

NOTE: Public submissions are restricted from view on Regulations.gov if they:

  • Are protected by copyright law
  • Contain Personal Identifiable Information (PII)
  • Contain Confidential Business Information (CBI)
  • Contain vulgarities
  • Are available at a cost from a publisher
  • Are physical items that cannot be uploaded (e.g. a hard hat, chemicals, books etc.)

Public submissions are restricted from in-person viewing at the Technical Data Center's Public Reading Room if they contain PII.

Comments cannot be edited once submitted. To make changes, submit another comment referring to your previous comment correcting any errors and/or re-stating your position or opinion.

For additional questions, please contact OSHA's Docket Office at (202) 693-2350 or technicaldatacenter@dol.gov.

The Comment Tracking Number is the best way to find your comment once it has been posted on Regulations.gov. After submitting your comment, a confirmation page will appear which contains a Comment Tracking Number. We encourage you to retain this number for your records.

Once you submit a comment, it may not be immediately posted to Regulations.gov. Once the Docket Office completes its review and posts your comment, you can find it online by entering the Comment Tracking Number in the search field on the homepage. You can also search by your name or text contained in your comment.

A comment may not be viewable on Regulations.gov for two reasons: (1) it is under Agency review or (2) access was restricted by OSHA's Technical Data Center.

Agency Review

Once a comment is received, Docket Office personnel must review it before it is posted to Regulations.gov.

Comments are typically posted within five (5) days of receipt by OSHA's Docket Office. However, posting times may vary in situations where there is a high volume response to an Agency action such as a mass mail campaign.

NOTE: Mass mails are three or more similar and/or nearly identical form letters sponsored by organizations such as industry associations, labor unions, and other stakeholders in response to an Agency action.

Once processed, your comment may be publicly viewable on Regulations.gov. The best way to find it is to enter your Comment Tracking Number in the search field on the homepage. You can also search by keyword or Submitter Name.

Agency Restrictions

Comments containing threatening language or profanity will be rejected without notice from OSHA's Docket Office.

The inclusion of any copyrighted material without accompanying proof of one's explicit right to redistribute that material will result in the comment being restricted from view at Regulations.gov. Comments may be restricted for other reasons as well (e.g., a comment contains personally identifiable information (PII) or confidential business information (CBI)).

Currently, the Agency posts all mass mail comments received for a docket, provided that OSHA Docket Office staff has determined that the comment should not be restricted. Organizations that are sponsoring a mass mail campaign are encouraged to coordinate with OSHA's Docket Office in advance for assistance in transmitting its submissions.

Also, organizations seeking to build an Application Programming Interface (API) with Regulations.gov are encouraged to review Regulation.gov API Terms of Service.

The due date for comments is located below the Comment Now! button on the Search Results page.

To access documents with comment periods closing within 90 days, return to the Home page and click one of the links under the title, Comments Due Soon.

NOTE: The comment due date on Regulations.gov is based on Eastern Time. For example, if the comment due date is 05/05/2014, then you have until 11:59PM ET on 05/05/2014 to submit your comment on Regulations.gov.

Searching

You can find a Docket on Regulations.gov by entering a keyword, title, or Document ID in the search area on the Home page and click the Search button. On the Search Results page, you can narrow your results with the filters on the screen. Once you find the Docket of interest, click its title to view the Document Details page. To learn more about finding regulations, visit the Help section.

Click on the Browse tab from the Home page to begin browsing Federal Register documents (e.g., Proposed Rules, Rules, and Notices) and other documents that have been categorized under 10 top-level Industry Category headings (e.g., Banking and Financial, Technology and Telecommunications, etc.). These recently published documents are open for comment and grouped under these categories based on their referenced CFR Citation Number(s). Public Submissions and Supporting and Related Materials are excluded from these categories.

By clicking the title of any document listed on the Browse tab, you will open its Document Detail page to view the regulatory text and other important information. Click the heading of any Category to see other related Federal Register documents listed on the Search Results page. To narrow or expand results, use additional search filters, and even enter a keyword to search within results.

Search results display documents posted on Regulations.gov. These documents include Federal Register publications, scientific and technical findings, comments and other regulatory documents. Once you enter a keyword(s), Docket ID or Document ID, the search engine looks for matches in specific document data, such as the Document ID, title, associated RINs, and other identifiers, in addition to document text. Documents which include a keyword or Document ID that is found more than once will be displayed first in the Search Results.

Most users visit Regulations.gov to submit comments on proposed regulations and other regulatory documents open for comment. Therefore, by default, those documents are placed at the top of the results.

To refine your search results use one or more filters displayed to the left, sort by the options available in the drop-down menu, and/or enter another keyword to search within your existing results.

General Information

Regulations.gov serves as OSHA's and some other federal agencies' electronic public docket and on-line comment system. It provides one-stop, web-based access to every open rule published by different federal agencies, including OSHA. Regulations.gov allows the public to view a description of these rules, read the full text of these documents (unless they are restricted), and submit comments to the appropriate federal agency.

On Regulations.gov, you can find and submit comments on federal registers open for comment.

You can also find:

  • Notices
  • Proposed Rules
  • Final Rules
  • Supporting & Related Materials
  • Regulatory Agenda

Supporting and related materials are documents and exhibits related to OSHA rulemaking and non-rulemaking activities. Examples of supporting and related materials include:

  • Hearing transcripts
  • Information Collection Requests (ICR)
  • Meeting materials
  • Press releases
  • Reports
  • Scientific, technical, and economic analyses
  • Studies

The Regulatory Agenda provides information about regulations that each agency plans to issue or has recently completed, including those for OSHA.

  • Visit the Regulatory Agenda page on Regulations.gov.
  • Select a Publication Date from the drop down.
  • Select Department of Labor (DOL).
  • Click Go.
  • Type OSHA in the search box.
  • Click Search.

A RIN, or "Regulation Identifier Number," is assigned by the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) electronic docketing system to identify each regulatory action listed in the Unified or Regulatory Agenda. OMB has asked agencies to include RINs in the headings of their Rule and Proposed Rule documents when publishing them in the Federal Register, to make it easier for the public and agency officials to track the publication history of regulatory actions throughout their development.

Regulations.gov allows you to receive alerts when changes or additions occur in a Docket. To subscribe:

  • Navigate to a Docket
  • Click the Sign up for E-mail Alerts link
  • Enter your email address and select how frequent you would like to receive emails (daily, weekly, or monthly)

*Accessibility Assistance: Contact OSHA's Directorate of Technical Support and Emergency Management at (202) 693-2300 for assistance accessing PDF materials.

All other documents, that are not PDF materials or formatted for the web, are available as Microsoft Office® formats and videos and are noted accordingly. If additional assistance is needed with reading, reviewing or accessing these documents or any figures and illustrations, please also contact OSHA's Directorate of Technical Support and Emergency Management at (202) 693-2300.

**eBooks - EPUB is the most common format for e-Books. If you use a Sony Reader, a Nook, or an iPad you can download the EPUB file format. If you use a Kindle, you can download the MOBI file format.

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