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• Publication Date: 09/13/2001
• Publication Type: Notice
• Fed Register #: 66:47687-47688
• Standard Number: 1910.156
• Title: Standard on Fire Brigades; Extension of the Office of Management and Budget's Approval of Information-Collection (Paperwork) Requirements

DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

Occupational Safety and Health Administration

[Docket No. ICR-1218-0075(2001)]

Standard on Fire Brigades; Extension of the Office of Management and Budget's 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 public comment concerning the proposed extension of the information-collection requirements contained in the Standard on Fire Brigades (29 CFR 1910.156).

DATES: Submit written comments on or before November 13, 2001.

ADDRESSES: Submit written comments to the Docket No. ICR-1218-0075(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: Theda Kenney, Directorate of Safety Standards Programs, OSHA, U.S. Department of Labor, Room N-3609, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20210; telephone: (202) 693-2222. A copy of the Agency's Information-Collection Request (ICR) supporting the need for the information collections specified in the Standard on Fire Brigades is available for inspection and copying in the Docket Office, or by requesting a copy from Theda Kenney at (202) 693-2222 or Todd Owen at (202) 693-2444. For electronic copies of the ICR, contact OSHA on the Internet at http://www.osha.gov 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 costs) is minimal, collection instruments are clearly understood, and OSHA's estimate of the information-collection burden is correct. The Standard imposes the following paperwork requirements on each employer who establishes a fire brigade: Write an organizational statement; ascertain the fitness of employees with specific medical conditions to participate in fire-related operations; and provide appropriate training and information to fire-brigade members.

Although OSHA does not mandate that employers establish fire brigades, if they do so, they must comply with the provisions of the Standard. The provisions of the Standard, including the paperwork requirements, apply to fire brigades, industrial fire departments, and private or contract fire departments, but not to airport crash-rescue units or forest fire-fighting operations. Paragraphs (b)(1), (b)(2), (c)(1), (c)(2), and (c)(4) contain the paperwork requirements of the Standard.

Under paragraph (b)(1) of the Standard, employers must develop and maintain an organizational statement that establishes the: Existence of a fire brigade; the basic organizational structure of the brigade; type, amount, and frequency of training provided to brigade members; expected number of members in the brigade; and functions that the brigade is to perform. This paragraph also specifies that the organizational statement must be available for review by employees, their designated representatives, and OSHA compliance officers. The organizational statement delineates the functions performed by the brigade members and, therefore, determines the level of training and type of personal protective equipment (PPE) necessary for these members to perform their assigned functions safely. Making the statement available to employees, their designated representatives, and OSHA compliance officers ensures that the elements of the statement are consistent with the functions performed by the brigade members and the occupational hazards they experience, and that employers are providing training and PPE appropriate to these functions are hazards.

To permit an employee with known heart disease, epilepsy, or emphysema to participate in fire-brigade emergency activities, paragraph (b)(2) of the Standard requires employers to obtain a physician's certificate of the employee's fitness to do so. This provision provides employers with a direct and efficient means of ascertaining whether or not they can safely expose employees with these medical conditions to the hazards of fire-related operations.

Paragraph (c)(1) of the Standard requires employers to provide training and education for fire-brigade members commensurate with the duties and functions they perform, with brigade leaders and training instructors receiving more comprehensive training and education than employers provide to the general membership. Under paragraph (c)(2) of the Standard, employers must conduct training and education frequently enough, but at least annually, to assure that brigade members are able to perform their assigned duties and functions satisfactorily and safely; employers must provide brigade members who perform interior structural fire fighting with educational and training sessions at least quarterly. In addition, paragraph (c)(4) specifies that employers must: Inform brigade members about special hazards such as storage and use of flammable liquids and gases, toxic chemicals, radioactive sources, and water-reactive substances that may be present during fires and other emergencies; advise brigade members of changes in the special hazards; and develop written procedures that describe the actions brigade members must take when special hazards are present, and make these procedures available in the education and training program and for review by the brigade members.

Providing appropriate training to brigade members at the specified frequencies, informing them about special hazards, developing written procedures on how to respond to special hazards, and making these procedures available for training purposes and review by the members enables them to use operational procedures and equipment in a safe manner to avoid or control dangerous exposures to fire-related hazards. Therefore, the training and information requirements specified by paragraphs (c)(1), (c)(2), and (c)(4) of the Standard prevent serious injuries and death among members of fire brigades.

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 proposes to increase the existing burden-hour estimate, and to extend the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) approval, of the collection-of-information requirements specified in the Standard on Fire Brigades (29 CFR 1910.156). OSHA will summarize the comments submitted in response to this notice, and will include this summary in its request to OMB to extend the approval of these information-collection requirements.

Type of Review: Extension of a currently-approved information-collection requirement.

Title: Fire Brigades (29 CFR 1910.156).

OMB Number: 1218-0075.

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

Number of Respondents: 55,939.

Frequency: On occasion.

Average Time per Response: Varies from 5 minutes (.08 hour) to 2 hours.

Estimated Total Burden Hours: 6.042.

IV. Authority and Signature

John L. Henshaw, 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 September 7, 2001.

John L. Henshaw,
Assistant Secretary of Labor.

[FR Doc. 01-23020 Filed 9-11-01; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4510-26-M


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