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• Publication Date: 05/31/2001
• Publication Type: Notice
• Fed Register #: 66:29598-29599
• Standard Number: 1926 Subpart P
• Title: "Excavations"; Extension of the Office of Management of Budget's (OMB) Approval of Information-Collection (Paperwork) Requirements

DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

Occupational Safety and Health Administration

[Docket No. ICR-1218-0137(2001)]

"Excavations"; Extension of the Office of Management of Budget's (OMB) Approval of Information-Collection (Paperwork) Requirements

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

ACTION: Notice of an opportunity for public comment.


SUMMARY: OSHA solicits comments concerning its request to decrease the existing burden-hour estimates for, and to extend OMB approval of, the collection-of-information requirements specified by 29 CFR 1926, subpart P ("Excavations"). This subpart specifies several requirements for designing protective systems (i.e., sloping, benching, support, and shield systems) that prevent cave-ins during excavation work.

DATES: Submit written comments on or before July 30, 2001.

ADDRESSES: Submit written comments to the Docket Office, Docket No. ICR-1218-0137(2001), OSHA, U.S. Department of Labor, Room N-2625, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20210; telephone (202) 693-2350. Commenters may transmit written comments of 10 pages or less by facsimile to (202) 693-1648.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kathleen M. Martinez, Directorate of Policy, Office of Regulatory Analysis, OSHA, U.S. Department of Labor, Room N-3609, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20210; telephone (202) 693-1953. A copy of the Agency's Information-Collection Request ("ICR") supporting the need for the information collections specified by 29 CFR 1926, subpart P is available for inspection and copying in the Docket Office or by requesting a copy from Todd Owen at (202) 693-2444. For electronic copies of the ICR contact OSHA on the Internet at http://www.osha.gov/law-regs.html and select "Information Collection Requests."

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 consultation program 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 cost) is minimal, collection instruments are understandable, and OSHA's estimate of the information-collection burden is correct. The Occupational Safety and Health Act of the 1970 (the Act) authorizes information collection by employers as necessary or appropriate for enforcement of the Act or for developing information regarding the causes and prevention of occupational injuries, illnesses, and accidents (29 U.S.C. 657).

Paragraphs (b) and (c) of § 1926.652 ("Requirements for Protective Systems"; the "Standard") contain the only paperwork requirements in 29 CFR 1926, subpart P that impose burden hours or costs on employers as specified by PRA-95.(1) These paragraphs require employers to use protective systems to prevent cave-ins during excavation work; these systems include sloping the side of the trench, benching the soil away from the excavation, or using a support system or shield (such as a trench box). The Standard specifies allowable configurations and slopes for excavations, and provides appendices to assist employers in designing protective systems. However, paragraphs (b)(3) and (b)(4) of the Standard permit employers to design sloping or benching systems based on tabulated data (Option 1), or to use a design approved by a registered professional engineer (Option 2).

Under Option 1, employers must provide the tabulated data in a written form that also identifies the registered professional engineer who approved the data and the parameters used to select the sloping or benching system drawn from the data, as well as the limitations of the data (including the magnitude and configuration of slopes determined to be safe); the document must also provide any explanatory information necessary to select the correct sloping or benching system based on the data. Option 2 requires employers to develop a written design approved by a registered professional engineer. The design information must include the magnitude and configuration of the slopes determined to be safe, and the identity of the registered professional engineer who approved the design.

Paragraphs (c)(2), (c)(3), and (c)(4) allow employers to design support systems, shield systems, and other protective systems based on tabulated data provided by a system manufacturer (Option 3) or obtained from other sources and approved by a registered professional engineer (Option 4); they can also use a design approved by a registered professional engineer (Option 5). If they select Option 3, employers must complete a written form that provides the manufacturer's specifications, recommendations, and limitations, as well as any deviations approved by the manufacturer. The paperwork requirements of Option 4 are the same as Option 1. Option 5 requires a written form that provides a plan indicating the sizes, types, and configurations of the materials used in the protective system and the identity of the registered professional engineer who approved the design.

Each of these provisions requires employers to maintain a copy of the documents described in these options at the jobsite during construction. After construction is complete, employers may store the documents offsite provided they make them available to an OSHA compliance officer on request. These documents provide both the employer and the compliance officer with information needed to determine if the selection and design of a protection system are appropriate to the excavation work, thereby assuring employees of maximum protection against cave-ins.

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 cost) 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 a decrease in the existing burden-hour estimate for, as well as an extension of OMB approval of, the collection-of-information requirements specified by the Standard. Accordingly, the Agency is requesting to decrease the current burden-hour estimate from 20,080 hours to 20,011 hours, a total reduction of 69 hours. This reduction occurred because OSHA decreased the estimated number of inspections that it will conduct during each year covered by the ICR. The Agency will summarize the comments submitted in response to this notice, and will include this summary in its request to OMB to extend its approval of these information-collection requirements.

Type of Review: Extension of currently approved information-collection requirements.

Title: Excavations.

OMB Number: 1218-0137.

Affected Public: Business or other for-profit; not-for-profit institutions; Federal government; State, local or tribal governments.

Number of Respondents: 10,000.

Frequency of Response: Occasionally.

Average Time per Response: 2 hours to obtain design information.

Estimated Total Burden Hours: 20,011.

Estimated Cost (Operation and Maintenance): $405,563.

IV. Authority and Signature

R. Davis Layne, Acting 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) and Secretary of Labor's Order No. 3-2000 (65 FR 50017).

Signed at Washington, DC on May 25, 2001.

R. Davis Layne,
Acting Assistant Secretary of Labor.

[FR Doc. 01-13689 Filed 5-30-01; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4510-26-M


Footnote 1 Paragraph (b)(2) of § 1926.651 ("Specific Excavation Requirements") requires that employers, before excavating, request local utility companies to locate underground utility installations. However, the agency considers such a request to be a usual and customary business practice and, therefore, excluded from coverage under PRA-95. (Back to text)


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