[Federal Register Volume 66, Number 150 (Friday, August 3, 2001)]
[Notices]
[Pages 40732-40733]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 01-19546]


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DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

Occupational Safety and Health Administration

[Docket No. ICR-1218-0064(2001)]


OSHA-7 Form (``Notice of Alleged Safety and Health Hazards''); 
Extension of the Office of Management of Budget's (OMB) Approval of 
Information-Collection (Paperwork) Requirements

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

ACTION: Notice of an opportunity for public comment.

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SUMMARY: OSHA solicits comments concerning its request to increase the 
existing burden-hour estimates for, and to extend OMB approval of, the 
information collection specified in the OSHA-7 Form.\1\ Under 
paragraphs (a) and (c) of Sec. 1903.11 (``Complaints by employees''), 
employees and their representatives must provide the Agency with 
specific, written information if they believe that OSHA-regulated 
hazards are present in their workplace; they may use the OSHA-7 Form 
for this purpose. Based on this information, the Agency determines 
whether or not reasonable grounds exist to conduct an inspection of the 
workplace; it also uses the information to assess the severity of the 
alleged hazards and the need to expedite the inspection. In addition, 
the form provides an employer with notice of the complaint, and may 
serve as the basis for obtaining a search warrant if an employer denies 
OSHA access to the workplace.
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    \1\ Based on its assessment of the OSHA-7 Form, the Agency 
estimates that the total burden hours increased compared to its 
previous burden-hour estimate. Under this Notice, OSHA is not 
proposing to revise the existing form or the regulation 
(Sec. 1903.11) that specifies the information-collection 
requirements addressed by the form.

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DATES: Submit written comments on or before October 2, 2001.

ADDRESSES: Submit written comments to the Docket Office, Docket No. 
ICR-1218-0064(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 in 
length by facsimile to (202) 693-1648.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Thomas M. Galassi, Directorate of 
Compliance Programs, OSHA, U.S. Department of Labor, Room N-3603, 200 
Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20210; telephone (202) 693-
2100. A copy of the Agency's Information-Collection Request (ICR) 
supporting the need for the information collections specified in this 
notice is available for inspection and copying in the Docket Office or 
by requesting a copy from Thomas M. Galassi; for electronic copies of 
the ICR, contact OSHA on the Internet at http://www.osha.gov/comp-
links.html, 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 understandable, and OSHA's 
estimate of the information-collection burden is correct. The 
Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 authorizes information 
collection by OSHA as necessary or appropriate for enforcement of the 
act or for developing information regarding the causes and prevention 
of occupational injuries, illnesses, and accidents. (29 U.S.C. 657.)
    Under paragraphs (a) and (c) of Sec. 1903.11 (``Complaints by 
employees''), employees and their representatives may notify the OSHA 
area director or an OSHA compliance officer of safety and health 
hazards regulated by the Agency that they believe exist in their 
workplaces. These provisions state further that this notification must 
be in writing and ``shall set forth with reasonable particularity the 
grounds for the notice, and shall be signed by the employee or 
representative of the employees.''
    Along with providing specific hazard information to the Agency, 
paragraph (a) permits employees/employee representatives to request an 
inspection of the workplace. Paragraph (c) also addresses situations in 
which employees/employee representatives may provide the information 
directly to the OSHA compliance officer during an inspection. An 
employer's former employees may also submit complaints to the Agency; 
these complaints account for 30-40% of all complaints received by the 
Agency. Subsequent discussions in this Supporting Statement will refer 
to current and former employees as ``complainants.''

[[Page 40733]]

    To address the requirements of paragraphs (a) and (c), especially 
the requirement that the information be in writing, the Agency 
developed the OSHA-7 Form; this form standardized and simplified the 
hazard-reporting process. For paragraph (a), they may complete an OSHA-
7 Form obtained from the Agency's website and then send it to OSHA on-
line, or deliver a hardcopy of the form to the OSHA area office by mail 
or facsimile, or by hand. They may also write a letter containing the 
information and hand-deliver it to the area office, or sent it by mail 
or facsimile. In addition, they may provide the information orally to 
the OSHA area office or another party (e.g., a Federal safety and 
health committee for Federal employees), in which case the area office 
or other party completes the hardcopy version of the form. for the 
typical situation addressed by paragraph (c), an employee/employee 
representative informs an OSHA compliance officer orally of the alleged 
hazard during an inspection, and the compliance officer then completes 
the hardcopy version of the OSHA-7 Form; occasionally, the employee/
employee representative provides the compliance officer with the 
information on the hardcopy version of the OSHA-7 Form.
    The information in the hardcopy version of the OSHA-7 Form includes 
information about the employer and alleged hazards, including: The 
establishment's name, mailing address, and telephone and facsimile 
numbers; the site's address and telephone and facsimile numbers; the 
name and telephone number of the management official; the type of 
business; a description, and the specific location, of the hazards, 
including the approximate number of employees exposed or threatened by 
the hazards; and whether or not the employee/employee representative 
informed the employer or another government agency about the hazards 
(and the name of the agency if informed).
    Additional information on the hardcopy version of the form 
addresses the complainant, including: Whether or not the complainant 
wants OSHA to reveal their name to the employer; whether the 
complainant is an employee or an employee representative, or, for 
information provided orally, a member of a Federal safety and health 
committee or another party (with space to specify the party); the 
complainant's name, telephone number, and address; and the 
complainant's signature attesting that they believe a violation of an 
OSHA standard exists at the named establishment; and the date of the 
signature. An employee representative must also provide the name of the 
organization they represent and their title.
    The information contained in the on-line version of the OSHA-7 Form 
is similar to the hardcopy version. However, the on-line version 
requests the establishment's county location and the complainant's e-
mail address, and does not ask for the establishment's and site's 
telephone and facsimile numbers and the complainant's signature and 
signature date.
    The Agency uses the information collected on the OSHA-7 Form to 
determine whether or not reasonable grounds exist to conduct an 
inspection of the workplace. The description of the hazards, including 
the number of exposed employees, allows the Agency to assess the 
severity of the hazards and the need to expedite the inspection. The 
completed form also provides an employer with notice of the complaint 
and may serve as the basis for obtaining a search warrant if an 
employer denies the Agency access to the workplace.

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 
cost) of the information-collection requirements, including the 
validity of the methodology and assumptions used;
     The quality, utility, and clarity of the information 
collection; and
     Ways to minimize the burden; for example, by using 
automated or other technological information-collection and -
transmission techniques.

III. Proposed Actions

    OSHA is requesting an increase in the existing burden-hour estimate 
for, as well as an extension of OMB approval of, the OSHA-7 Form. 
Accordingly, the Agency is asking to increase the current total burden-
hour estimate from 8,155 hours to 14,819 hours, an increase of 6,664 
hours. This increase largely occurred because the number of complaints 
received each year by OSHA increased from 28,713 to 55,130. The Agency 
will summarize the comments submitted in response to this notice, and 
will include this summary in its request to OMB to extend its approval 
of these information-collection requirements.
    Type of Review: Extension of currently approved information-
collection requirements.
    Title: OSHA-7 Form (``Notice of Alleged Safety and Health 
Hazards'').
    OMB Number: 1218-0064 (2001).
    Affected Public: Individuals or households.
    Number of Respondents: 55,130.
    Frequency of Response: On occasion.
    Average Time per Response: Varies from 15 minutes (.25 hours) to 
communicate the required information orally to the Agency to 25 minutes 
(.42 hour) to provide the information in writing and send it to OSHA.
    Estimated Total Burden Hours: 14,819.
    Estimated Cost (Operation and Maintenance): $882.

IV. Authority and Signature

    R. Davis Layne, Acting 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 July 31, 2001.
R. Davis Layne,
Acting Assistant Secretary of Labor.
[FR Doc. 01-19546 Filed 8-2-01; 8:45 am]
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