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[Federal Register Volume 83, Number 99 (Tuesday, May 22, 2018)]
[Notices]
[Pages 23724-23726]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2018-10889]


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DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

Occupational Safety and Health Administration

[Docket No. OSHA-2011-0858]


Permit-Required Confined Spaces; Extension of the Office of 
Management and Budget's (OMB) Approval of Information Collection 
(Paperwork) Requirements

AGENCY: Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Labor.

ACTION: Request for public comments.

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SUMMARY: OSHA solicits public comments concerning the proposal to 
extend OMB approval of the information collection requirements 
contained in the Standard on Permit-Required Confined Spaces.

DATES: Comments must be submitted (postmarked, sent, or received) by 
July 23, 2018.

ADDRESSES: Electronically: You may submit comments and attachments 
electronically at http://www.regulations.gov, which is the Federal 
eRulemaking Portal. Follow the instructions online for submitting 
comments.
    Facsimile: If your comments, 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: 
When using this method, you must submit a copy of your comments and 
attachments to the OSHA Docket Office, Docket No. OSHA-2011-0858, 
Occupational Safety and Health Administration, U.S. Department of 
Labor, Room N-3653, 200 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20210. 
Deliveries (hand, express mail, messenger, and courier service) are 
accepted during the OSHA Docket Office's normal business hours, 10:00 
a.m. to 3:00 p.m., ET.
    Instructions: All submissions must include the Agency name and the 
OSHA docket number (OSHA-2011-0858) for the Information Collection 
Request (ICR). All comments, including any personal information you 
provide, are placed in the public docket without change, and may be 
made available online at http://www.regulations.gov. For further 
information on submitting comments, see the ``Public Participation'' 
heading in the section of this notice titled SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION.
    Docket: To read or download comments or other material in the 
docket, go to http://www.regulations.gov or the OSHA Docket Office at 
the above address. All documents in the docket (including this Federal 
Register notice) are listed in the http://www.regulations.gov index; 
however, some information (e.g., copyrighted material) is not publicly 
available to read or download through the website. All submissions, 
including copyrighted material, are available for inspection and 
copying at the OSHA Docket Office. You may also contact Christie Garner 
at (202) 693-2222 to obtain a copy of the ICR.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, CONTACT: Thomas Mockler or Christie Garner, 
Directorate of Standards and Guidance, OSHA, U.S. Department of Labor, 
telephone (202) 693-2222.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

I. Background

    The Department of Labor, as part of its continuing effort to reduce 
paperwork and respondent (i.e., employer) burden, conducts a 
preclearance process to provide the public with an opportunity to 
comment on proposed and continuing information collection requirements 
in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA-95) (44 
U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A)). This program ensures that information is in the 
desired format, reporting burden (time and costs) is minimal, 
collection instruments are clearly understood, and OSHA's estimate of 
the information collection burden is accurate. The Occupational Safety 
and Health Act of 1970 (the OSH Act) (29 U.S.C. 651 et seq.) authorizes 
information collection by employers as necessary or appropriate for 
enforcement of the OSH Act or for developing information regarding the 
causes and prevention of occupational injuries, illnesses, and 
accidents (29 U.S.C. 657). The OSH Act also requires OSHA to obtain 
such information with minimum burden upon employers, especially those 
operating small businesses, and to reduce to the maximum extent 
feasible unnecessary duplication of effort in obtaining information (29 
U.S.C. 657).
    The purpose of the information collection requirements specified in 
the Permit-Required Confined Spaces Standard (29 CFR 1910.146) is to 
ensure that employers systematically evaluate the dangers in permit 
spaces before entry is attempted, and to ensure that

adequate measures are taken to make the spaces safe for entry. Section 
1910.146(c)(2) requires the employer to post danger signs to inform 
exposed employees of the existence and location of, and the dangers 
posed by, permit spaces.
    Section 1910.146(c)(4) requires the employer to develop and 
implement a written ``permit-space program'' when the employer decides 
that its employees will enter permit spaces. The written program is to 
be made available for inspection by employees and their authorized 
representatives. Section 1910.146(d) provides the employer with the 
requirements of a permit-required confined space program.
    Section 1910.146(c)(5)(i)(E) requires that the determinations and 
supporting data specified 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 a permit space or to that 
employee's authorized representative. Under paragraph (c)(5)(ii)(H) of 
Sec.  1910.146, the employer is required to 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, using a written 
certification that contains the date, the location of the space, and 
the signature of the person providing the certification. The 
certification is to be made before entry and is required to be made 
available to each employee entering the space or to that employee's 
authorized representative.
    Section 1910.146(c)(7)(iii) requires the employer to document the 
basis for determining that all hazards in a permit space have been 
eliminated using a certification that contains the date, the location 
of the space, and the signature of the person making the determination. 
The certification is to be made available to each employee entering the 
space or to that employee's authorized representative.
    Section 1910.146(c)(8)(i) requires the employer to inform the 
contractor that the workplace contains permit spaces and that permit 
space entry is allowed only through compliance with a permit space 
program meeting the requirements of this section. Section 
1910.146(c)(8)(ii) requires the employer to apprise the contractor of 
the elements, including the hazards identified and the host employer's 
experience with the space, that make the space in question a permit 
space. Section 1910.146(c)(8)(iii) requires the employer to apprise the 
contractor of any precautions or procedures that the host employer has 
implemented for the protection of employees in or near permit spaces 
where contractor personnel will be working. Section 1910.146(c)(8)(v) 
requires the employer to debrief the contractor at the conclusion of 
the entry operations about the permit space program that was followed, 
and any hazards confronted or created in permit spaces during entry 
operations.
    Section 1910.146(c)(9)(iii) requires the contractor to inform the 
host employer of the permit space program that the contractor will 
follow and of any hazards confronted or created in permit spaces, 
either through a debriefing or during the entry operation.
    Section 1910.146(d)(5)(vi) requires the employer to immediately 
provide each authorized entrant or that an employee's authorized 
representative with the results of any testing conducted in accord with 
paragraph (d) of the Standard. Section 1910.146(d)(14) requires 
employers to review the permit space program, using the canceled 
permits retained under paragraph (e)(6) within 1 year after each entry 
to ensure that employees participating in entry operations are 
protected from permit space hazards, and revise the program as 
necessary.
    Section 1910.146(e)(1) requires the employer to document the 
completion of measures required by paragraph (d)(3) by preparing an 
entry permit before employee entry is authorized. Paragraph (f) of 
Sec.  1910.146 specifies the information to be included on the entry 
permit. Paragraph (e)(3) requires the employer to make the completed 
permit available at the time of entry to all authorized entrants by 
posting the permit at the entry portal or by any other equally 
effective means, so that the entrants can confirm that pre-entry 
preparations have been completed. Paragraph (e)(6) requires the 
employer to retain each canceled entry permit for at least one year; 
any problems encountered during an entry operation must be noted on the 
pertinent permit so that revisions to the permit space program can be 
made.
    Section 1910.146(g)(4) requires the employer to certify that the 
training required by paragraphs (g)(1) through (g)(3) has been 
accomplished by preparing a written certification record.
    Section 1910.146(h)(3) requires the employer to ensure that all 
authorized entrants communicate with the attendant as necessary to 
enable the attendant to monitor entrant status and to enable the 
attendant to alert entrants of the need to evacuate the space as 
required by paragraph (l)(6) of the Standard. Section 1910.146(h)(4) 
requires the employer to ensure that all authorized entrants alert the 
attendant whenever the entrant recognizes any warning sign or symptom 
of exposure to a dangerous situation (paragraph (h)(4)(i)), or the 
entrant detects a prohibited condition (paragraph (h)(4)(ii)).
    Section 1910.146(i)(5) requires the employer to ensure that each 
attendant communicate with authorized entrants as necessary to monitor 
entrant status and to alert entrants of the need to evacuate the space 
under the conditions specified in paragraphs (i)(6)(i)-(i)(6)(iv) of 
the Standard. Section 1910.146(i)(7) requires the employer to ensure 
that the attendant summon rescue and other emergency services as soon 
as the attendant determines that authorized entrants may need 
assistance to escape from permit space hazards. Section 1910.146(i)(8) 
requires the employer to ensure that the attendant warn unauthorized 
persons that they must stay away from the permit space (paragraph 
(i)(8)(i)); advise unauthorized persons that they must exit immediately 
if they have entered the permit space (paragraph (i)(8)(ii)); and 
inform authorized entrants and the entry supervisor if unauthorized 
persons have entered the permit space (paragraph (i)(8)(iii)).
    Section 1910.146(j)(2) requires the employer to ensure that each 
entry supervisor verifies, by checking that the appropriate entries 
have been made on the permit, that all tests specified by the permit 
have been conducted and that all procedures and equipment specified by 
the permit are in place, before endorsing the permit and allowing entry 
to begin.
    Section 1910.146(k)(1)(i) requires the employer to evaluate a 
prospective rescuer's ability to respond to a rescue summons in a 
timely manner, considering the hazard(s) identified; Section 
1910.146(k)(1)(ii) requires the employer to evaluate a prospective 
rescue service's ability, in terms of proficiency with rescue-related 
tasks and equipment, to function appropriately while rescuing entrants 
from the particular permit space or types of permit spaces identified. 
Section 1910.146(k)(1)(iv) requires the employer to inform each rescue 
team or service of the hazards they may confront when called on to 
perform rescue at the site. Section 1910.146(k)(1)(v) requires the 
employer to provide the rescue team or service selected with access to 
all permit spaces from which rescue may be necessary so that the rescue 
service can develop appropriate rescue plans.
    Section 1910.146(k)(4) requires that, if an injured entrant is 
exposed to a substance for which a ``Material Safety Data Sheet'' 
(MSDS) [now referred to as an SDS (Safety Data Sheet)] or other

similar written information is required to be kept at the worksite, 
then the employer must make the MSDS or written information available 
to the medical facility treating the exposed entrant.
    Section 1910.146(l)(1) requires employers to consult with affected 
employees and their authorized representatives on the development and 
implementation of all aspects of the permit space program required by 
paragraph (c). Section 1910.146(l)(2) requires employers to make all 
information required by this section available to affected employees 
and their authorized representatives.

II. Special Issues for Comment

    OSHA has a particular interest in comments on the following issues:
     Whether the proposed information collection requirements 
are necessary for the proper performance of the Agency's functions, 
including whether the information is useful;
     The accuracy of OSHA's estimate of the burden (time and 
costs) of the information collection requirements, including the 
validity of the methodology and assumptions used;
     The quality, utility, and clarity of the information 
collected; and
     Ways to minimize the burden on employers who must comply--
for example, by using automated or other technological information 
collection and transmission techniques.

III. Proposed Actions

    OSHA is requesting an adjustment increase for the information 
collection requirements of 68,406 burden hours (from 1,573,813 to 
1,642,219). The burden hour increase is related to updated data 
estimates showing an increase in the number of permit space entrants 
(from 1,463,075 to 1,471,634) and establishments with permit spaces 
(from 205,548 to 210,281) affected by the Standard.
    Type of Review: Extension of a currently approved collection.
    Title: Permit-Required Confined Spaces (29 CFR 1910.146).
    OMB Control Number: 1218-0203.
    Affected Public: Business or other for-profits.
    Number of Respondents: 210,281.
    Frequency: On occasion.
    Average Time per Response: Varies.
    Estimated Number of Responses: 9,024,483.
    Estimated Total Burden Hours: 1,642,219.
    Estimated Cost (Operation and Maintenance): $0.

IV. Public Participation--Submission of Comments on This Notice and 
Internet Access to Comments and Submissions

    You may submit comments in response to this document as follows: 
(1) Electronically at http://www.regulations.gov, which is the Federal 
eRulemaking Portal; (2) by facsimile (fax); or (3) by hard copy. All 
comments, attachments, and other material must identify the Agency name 
and the OSHA docket number (Docket No. OSHA-2011-0858) for the ICR. You 
may supplement electronic submissions by uploading document files 
electronically. If you wish to mail additional materials in reference 
to an electronic or facsimile submission, you must submit them to the 
OSHA Docket Office (see the section of this notice titled ADDRESSES). 
The additional materials must clearly identify electronic comments by 
your name, date, and the docket number so that the Agency can attach 
them to your comments.
    Because of security procedures, the use of regular mail may cause a 
significant delay in the receipt of comments. For information about 
security procedures concerning the delivery of materials by hand, 
express delivery, messenger, or courier service, please contact the 
OSHA Docket Office at (202) 693-2350; TTY (877) 889-5627.
    Comments and submissions are posted without change at http://www.regulations.gov. Therefore, OSHA cautions commenters about 
submitting personal information such as Social Security numbers and 
dates of birth. Although all submissions are listed in the http://www.regulations.gov index, some information (e.g., copyrighted 
material) is not publicly available to read or download through this 
website. All submissions, including copyrighted material, are available 
for inspection and copying at the OSHA Docket Office. Information on 
using the http://www.regulations.gov website to submit comments and 
access the docket is available at the website's ``User Tips'' link. 
Contact the OSHA Docket Office for information about materials not 
available through the website, and for assistance in using the internet 
to locate docket submissions.

V. Authority and Signature

    Loren Sweatt, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational 
Safety and Health, directed the preparation of this notice. The 
authority for this notice is the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 
U.S.C. 3506 et seq.) and Secretary of Labor's Order No. 1-2012 (77 FR 
3912).

    Signed at Washington, DC, on May 16, 2018.
Loren Sweatt,
Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health.
[FR Doc. 2018-10889 Filed 5-21-18; 8:45 am]
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