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• Publication Date: 01/17/2013
• Publication Type: Notice
• Fed Register #: 78: 3918-3920
• Standard Number: 24; 1977; 1978; 1979; 1980; 1981; 1982; 1983
• Title: Revision of Approved Information Collection (Paperwork) Requirements for Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Approval;Regulations Containing Procedures for Handling of Retaliation Complaints

[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 12 (Thursday, January 17, 2013)]
[Notices]
[Pages 3918-3920]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-00866]


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DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

Occupational Safety and Health Administration

[Docket No. OSHA-2012-0026]


Revision of Approved Information Collection (Paperwork)
Requirements for Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Approval;
Regulations Containing Procedures for Handling of Retaliation
Complaints

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

ACTION: Request for public comments.

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SUMMARY: OSHA solicits public comments concerning its proposal to
revise the information collection requirements currently approved by
the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for handling of retaliation
complaints filed with OSHA under various whistleblower protection
statutes and the procedural regulations described in this notice. These
regulations contain procedures employees must use to file a complaint
with OSHA alleging that their employer violated a whistleblower
protection provision contained in certain statutes that generally
prohibit retaliatory action by employers against employees who engage
in activities protected by the statutes. The revised information
collection requirements include a new form providing additional methods
for employees to submit retaliation complaints to OSHA, including
electronic submission.

DATES: Comments must be submitted (postmarked, sent, or received) by
March 18, 2013.

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 your comments and attachments
to the OSHA Docket Office, OSHA Docket No. OSHA-2012-0026, U.S.
Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration,
Room N-2625, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20210.
Deliveries (hand, express mail, messenger and 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 (OSHA-2012-0026) 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 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 from the Web site. All submissions,
including copyrighted material, are available for inspection and
copying at the OSHA Docket Office. You may also contact the Directorate
of Whistleblower Protection Programs at the address below to obtain a
copy of the ICR.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Beth Slavet, Director, Directorate of
Whistleblower Protection Programs, OSHA, U.S. Department of Labor, Room
N-4624, 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 generally 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 the Employee Protection Provisions of Six Environmental Statutes
and Section 211 of the Energy Reorganization Act of 1974, As Amended
(29 CFR part 24 covers the: Safe Drinking Water 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 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; Asbestos Hazard
Emergency Response Act, 15 U.S.C. 2651; and 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 and the
Federal Railroad Safety Act; and 29 CFR Part 1983, Procedures for the
Handling of Retaliation Complaints Under Section 219 of the Consumer
Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008.
    In addition, OSHA investigates complaints of retaliation filed
under the following recently-enacted whistleblower provisions: The
Affordable Care Act, 29 U.S.C. 218C; the Consumer Financial Protection
Act, Section 1057 of the Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer
Protection Act, Public Law 111-203; the Seaman's Protection Act, 46
U.S.C. 2114, as amended by Section 611 of the Coast Guard Authorization
Act of 2010, Public Law 111-281; Section 402 of the FDA Food Safety and
Modernization Act, Public Law 111-353; and Section 31307 of the Moving
Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act, 49 U.S.C. 30171. These
statutory provisions are included in the existing ICR. 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.
    OSHA's whistleblower regulations specify the procedures that an
employee must use to file a complaint 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. Two of these regulations, 29 CFR parts 1979 and 1981,
state that complaints must be filed in writing and should include a
full statement of the acts and omissions, with pertinent dates, that
the employee believes constitute the violation. The other regulations,
29 CFR parts 24, 1977, 1978, 1980, 1982, and 1983, require no
particular form of filing for complaints. However, it is OSHA's policy
to accept complaints in any form (i.e. orally or in writing) under all
statutes. This policy helps ensure that employees of all circumstances
and education levels will have equal access to the complaint filing
process.
    OSHA proposes to revise this ICR to include a new form, titled,
"Notice of Whistleblower Complaint" (OSHA8-60.1), that will provide
additional methods for employees to submit complaints of retaliation to
OSHA: Either by submitting the form electronically directly through the
Internet; or by downloading, completing and submitting the form to OSHA
by fax, mail, or hand-delivery. The proposed form will enable workers
to electronically submit whistleblower complaints directly to OSHA 24-
hours a day, which will provide workers with greater flexibility for
meeting statutory filing deadlines. Additionally, by streamlining the
Agency's electronic complaint filing process, the form will reduce the
Agency's complaint processing time, which will improve the quality of
the customer service that the Agency can offer the public.

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 approve the proposed revision of the
information collection requirements contained in OSHA's statutory
authorities and the regulations containing procedures for handling
retaliation complaints at 29 CFR parts 24, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981,
1982, and 1983.\1\ Specifically, this revision contains a new
information collection instrument, a form, which employees may use to
file complaints. In addition, OSHA is requesting an adjustment increase
in burden hours from 2,503 burden hours to 2,686 burden hours (a total
increase of 183 hours). The adjustment increase is due to updated data
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: Revision of a currently approved collection.
    Title: Regulations Containing Procedures for Handling Retaliation
Complaints.
    OMB Number: 1218-0236.
    Affected Public: Individuals.
    Number of Respondents: 2,686.
    Frequency of Response: Once per complaint.
    Average Time per Response: 1 hour.
    Estimated Total Burden Hours: 2,686.
    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 FederaleRulemaking Portal; (2) by facsimile (fax);
or (3) by hard copy. All comments, attachments, and other material
must identify the Agency nameand the OSHA docket number for the
ICR (Docket No. OSHA-2012-0026). Youmay 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, 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 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, Ph.D., 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. 1-2012
(77 FR 3912).

David Michaels,
Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health.
[FR Doc. 2013-00866 Filed 1-16-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4510-26-P

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