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||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)]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-03259]
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.
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
Facsimile: If your comments, including attachments, are not longer
than 10 pages, you may fax them to the OSHA Docket Office at (202) 693-
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.
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
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.
\1\ Several of these regulations use the term "discrimination"
or "discrimination complaints" in their titles. These terms are
synonymous with "retaliation" and "retaliation complaints,"
Type of Review: Revision of a currently approved collection.
Title: Regulations Containing Procedures for Handling Retaliation
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.
Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health.
[FR Doc. 2016-03259 Filed 2-16-16; 8:45 am]
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