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• Publication Date: 10/28/2010
• Publication Type: Notice
• Fed Register #: 75:66391-66393
• Standard Number: 24; 1977; 1978; 1979; 1980; 1981; 1982; 1983
• Title: Regulations Containing Procedures for Handling of Retaliation Complaints; Extension of the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) Approval of Information Collection (Paperwork) Requirements

 
[Federal Register: October 28, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 208)]
[Notices]               
[Page 66391-66393]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr28oc10-59]                         

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DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

Occupational Safety and Health Administration

[Docket No. OSHA-2010-0049]

 
Regulations Containing Procedures for Handling of Retaliation 
Complaints; 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 comments concerning its proposal to extend OMB 
approval of the information collection requirements for handling of 
retaliation complaints filed under various whistleblower protection 
statutes contained in regulations at: 29 CFR part 24, Procedures for 
the Handling of Retaliation Complaints under Federal Employee 
Protection Statutes; 29 CFR part 1977, Discrimination Against Employees 
Exercising Rights under the Williams-Steiger Occupational Safety and 
Health Act; 29 CFR part 1978, Procedures for the Handling of 
Retaliation Complaints under the Employee Protection Provision of the 
Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 1982; 29 CFR part 1979, 
Procedures for Handling Discrimination Complaints Under Section 519 of 
the Wendell H. Ford Aviation Investment and Reform Act for the 21st 
Century; 29 CFR part 1980, Procedures for Handling of Discrimination 
Complaints Under Section 806 of the Corporate and Criminal Fraud 
Accountability Act of 2002, Title VIII of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act 2002; 
29 CFR part 1981, Procedures for the Handling of Discrimination 
Complaints under Section 6 of the Pipeline Safety and Improvement Act 
of 2002; 29 CFR part 1982, Procedures for the Handling of Retaliation 
Complaints Under the National Transit Systems Security Act of 2007, 
Enacted as Section 1413 of the Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 
Commission Act of 2007, and the Federal Railroad Safety Act,
as Amended by Section 1521 of the Implementing Recommendations
 of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007; and 29 CFR part 1983,
 Procedures for the Handling of Retaliation Complaints 
Under Section 219 of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 
2008. These regulations set forth procedures employees must use to file 
a complaint with OSHA alleging that their employer violated a 
whistleblower protection provision contained in certain statutes that 
prohibit retaliatory action by employers against employees who engage 
in activities protected by the statutes.

DATES: Comments must be submitted (postmarked, sent, or received) by 
December 27, 2010.

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, and messenger or courier 
service: You must submit your comments and attachments to the OSHA 
Docket Office, OSHA Docket No. OSHA-2010-0049, U.S. Department of 
Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Room N-2625, 200 
Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20210. Deliveries (hand, 
express mail, and messenger or courier service) are accepted during the 
Department of Labor's and Docket Office's normal business hours, 8:15 
a.m. to 4:45 p.m., e.t.
    Instructions: All submissions must include the Agency name and OSHA 
docket number for the Information Collection Request (ICR) (OSHA-2010-
0049). All comments, including any personal information you provide, 
are placed in the public docket without change, and will 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 address above. 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 Web site. All submissions, 
including copyrighted material, are available for inspection and 
copying at the OSHA Docket Office. You may obtain a copy of the ICR by 
contacting Theda Kenney or Todd Owen, Directorate of Standards and 
Guidance, OSHA, U.S. Department of Labor, Room N-3609, 200 Constitution 
Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20210; telephone: (202) 693-2222.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Nilgun Tolek, Office of the 
Whistleblower Protection Program, Directorate of Enforcement Programs, 
OSHA, U.S. Department of Labor, Room N-3610, 200 Constitution Avenue, 
NW., Washington, DC 20210; telephone: (202) 693-2199.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background

    The Department of Labor, as part of its continuing effort to reduce 
paperwork and respondent (e.g., an employee filing a retaliation 
complaint) 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 (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 Agency is responsible for investigating alleged violations of 
"whistleblower" provisions contained in a number of statutes. These 
whistleblower provisions prohibit retaliation by employers against 
employees who report alleged violations of certain laws or regulations. 
Accordingly, these provisions prohibit an employer from discharging or 
taking any other retaliatory action against an employee because the 
employee engages in any of the protected activities specified by the 
whistleblower provisions of the statutes.
    These statutes are covered under the following regulations: 29 CFR 
part 24, Procedures for the Handling of Retaliation Complaints under 
Federal Employee Protection Statutes (29 CFR part 24 covers: Safe Water 
Drinking Act, 42 U.S.C. 300j-9(i); Federal Water Pollution Control Act, 
33 U.S.C. 1367; Toxic Substances Control Act, 15 U.S.C. 2622; Solid 
Waste Disposal Act, 42 U.S.C. 6971; Clean Air Act, 42 U.S.C. 7622; 
Energy Reorganization Act of 1974, 42 U.S.C. 5851; and the 
Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, 
42 U.S.C. 9610); 29 CFR part 1977, Discrimination Against Employees 
Exercising Rights under the Williams-Steiger Occupational Safety and 
Health Act (29 CFR part 1977 covers: the Occupational Safety and Health 
Act, 29 U.S.C. 660; the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act, 15 
U.S.C. 2651; and the International Safe Container Act, 46 U.S.C. 
80507); 29 CFR part 1978, Procedures for the Handling of Retaliation 
Complaints under the Employee Protection Provision of the Surface 
Transportation Assistance Act of 1982; 29 CFR part 1979, Procedures for 
Handling Discrimination Complaints Under the Wendell H. Ford Aviation 
Investment and Reform Act for the 21st Century; 29 CFR part 1980, 
Procedures for Handling of Discrimination Complaints Under Section 806 
of the Corporate and Criminal Fraud Accountability Act of 2002, Title 
VIII of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002; 29 CFR part 1981, Procedures 
for the Handling of Discrimination Complaints under Section 6 of the 
Pipeline Safety and Improvement Act of 2002; 29 CFR part 1982, 
Procedures for the Handling of Retaliation Complaints Under the 
National Transit Systems Security Act of 2007, Enacted as Section 1413 
of the Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007, 
and the Federal Railroad Safety Act, as Amended by Section 1521 of the 
Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007; and 29 
CFR part 1983, Procedures for the Handling of Retaliation Complaints 
Under Section 219 of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 
2008. Information collection requirements contained in future 
regulations promulgated by the Agency with respect to a whistleblower 
provision of any other Federal law, except those that are assigned to 
another DOL agency, will be added to this information collection.
    These regulations specify the procedures that an employee must use 
to file a complaint with OSHA alleging that their employer violated a 
whistleblower provision for which the Agency has investigative 
responsibility. Any employee who believes that such a violation 
occurred may file a complaint, or have the complaint filed on their 
behalf. Four of these regulations, 29 CFR parts 24, 1979, 1980 and 
1981, require that complaints must be filed in writing, and should 
include a full statement of the acts and omissions, with pertinent 
dates, that are believed to constitute the violation. The other 
regulations, 29 CFR parts 1977, 1978, 1982, and 1983, require 
no particular form of filing for complaints.

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 individuals who must 
comply; for example, by using automated or other technological 
information collection and transmission techniques.

III. Proposed Actions

    OSHA is requesting that OMB extend its approval of the information 
collection requirements contained in the regulations containing 
procedures for handling retaliation complaints at 29 CFR parts 24, 
1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, and 1983.\1\ OSHA is proposing to 
increase the burden hours in the currently approved information 
collection request from 390 burden hours to 2,160 burden hours (a total 
increase of 1,770 hours). These information collection requirements are 
included in this extension. This increase is due to the Agency's 
determination that all of the Agency's regulations containing 
procedures for the investigation of retaliation complaints, regardless 
of the form used to file a complaint, contain information collection 
requirements associated with the initiation of the complaint. The 
increase is also due to updated information showing an increase in the 
annual number of complaints filed. The Agency will summarize the 
comments submitted in response to this notice, and will include this 
summary in the request to OMB.
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    \1\ Several of these regulations use the term "discrimination" 
or "discrimination complaints" in their titles. These terms are 
synonymous with "retaliation" and "retaliation complaints," 
respectively.
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    Type of Review: Extension of a currently approved collection.
    Title: Regulations Containing Procedures for Handling Retaliation 
Complaints.
    OMB Number: 1218-0236.
    Affected Public: Individuals.
    Number of Respondents: 2,160.
    Frequency of Recordkeeping: Once per complaint.
    Average Time per Response: 1 hour.
    Total Annual Hours Requested: 2,160.
    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 for the ICR (Docket No. OSHA-2010-0049). 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 your electronic comments 
by your name, date, and the docket number so 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, and 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 date 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 Web site.
 All submissions, including copyrighted material, are 
available for inspection and copying at the OSHA Docket Office. 
Information on using the http://www.regulations.gov
 Web site to submit comments and access the docket is
available at the Web site's "User Tips" link.
 Contact the OSHA Docket Office for information about 
materials not available through the Web site, and for assistance in 
using the Internet to locate docket submissions.

V. Authority and Signature

    David Michaels, PhD, MPH, 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. 4-2010 
(75 FR 55355).

    Signed at Washington, DC, on October 25, 2010.
David Michaels,
Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health.
[FR Doc. 2010-27264 Filed 10-27-10; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4510-26-P

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