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Federal Registers - Table of Contents
• Publication Date: 02/17/2016
• Publication Type: Notices
• Fed Register #: 81:8103-8105
• Standard Number: 24; 1978; 1979; 1980; 1981; 1982; 1983; 1984; 1985; 1986; 1987
• Title: Regulations Containing Procedures for Handling of Retaliation Complaints; Revision of Approved Information Collection (Paperwork) Requirements for Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Approval

[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 31 (Wednesday, February 17, 2016)]
[Notices]
[Pages 8103-8105]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-03259]


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DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

Occupational Safety and Health Administration

 [Docket No. OSHA-2012-0026]


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

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 
extend and revise the collections of information 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 collections of information 
include revisions to the form for employees to submit retaliation 
complaints to OSHA, including electronic submission.

DATES: Comments must be submitted (postmarked, sent, or received) by 
April 18, 2016.

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: MaryAnn Garrahan, 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; email Garrahan.Maryann@dol.gov.

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 collections of information 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; 29 CFR part 1983, Procedures for the 
Handling of Retaliation Complaints Under Section 219 of the Consumer 
Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008; 29 CFR part 1984, Procedures 
for Handling of Retaliation Complaints Under Section 1558 of the 
Affordable Care Act; 29 CFR part 1985, Procedures for Handling 
Retaliation Complaints Under the Employee Protection Provision of the 
Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010; 29 CFR part 1986, Procedures 
for the Handling of Retaliation Complaints Under the Employee 
Protection Provision of the Seaman's Protection Act (SPA), as Amended; 
and 29 CFR part 1987, Procedures for Handling Retaliation Complaints 
Under Section 402 of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act.
    In addition, OSHA investigates complaints of retaliation filed 
under the recently-enacted whistleblower provision Section 31307 of the 
Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act, 49 U.S.C. 30171. 
This statutory provision is included in the existing ICR. Collections 
of information 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, 1983, 1984, 1986, 1986, and 
1987 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 revisions to the 
electronic complaint form, titled, "Notice of Whistleblower 
Complaint" (OSHA8-60.1), that will streamline the process for 
employees to submit complaints of retaliation to OSHA electronically 
directly through the Internet. The revisions to the form will not 
impact workers' ability to electronically submit whistleblower 
complaints directly to OSHA 24-hours a day, which provides workers with 
greater flexibility for meeting statutory filing deadlines. 
Additionally, the revised form includes interactive features which make 
the form easier for an employee to understand and complete. By 
streamlining the Agency's electronic complaint filing process, the 
revised 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 collections of information 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 collections of information, 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 extension and 
revision of the collections of information 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, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986 and 1987.\1\ Specifically, this 
revision contains a revised information collection instrument, a form, 
which employees may use to file complaints. In addition, OSHA is 
requesting an adjustment increase in burden hours from 2,872 burden 
hours to 7,516 burden hours (a total increase of 4,644 hours). The 
adjustment increase is due to updated investigation data, which 
includes the number of complaints investigated as well as screened out 
complaints. The updated data shows 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: 7,516.
    Frequency of Response: Once per complaint.
    Average Time per Response: 1 hour.
    Estimated Total Burden Hours: 7,516.
    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-2012-0026). 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, 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).

    Signed at Washington, DC, on February 11, 2016.
David Michaels,
Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health.
[FR Doc. 2016-03259 Filed 2-16-16; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4510-26-P

Federal Registers - Table of Contents

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