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OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH REVIEW COMMISSION (OSHRC) FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT (FOIA) REPORT FISCAL YEAR 2007

I. Basic Information Regarding Report
A. Name, title, address and telephone number of person to be contacted with questions about this report:
Robert M. Kahn, Attorney-Advisor
Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission
Office of the General Counsel
1120 - 20th St., N.W., 9th Floor
Washington, D.C. 20036-3457
(202) 606-5410

B. Electronic address for this report on the World Wide Web:
http://www.oshrc.gov/foia/foia_annual_reports.html
This report can be found in the “FOIA” section of the agency’s Web site.

C. Address for requesting paper copies of this report:
Robert M. Kahn, Attorney-Advisor
Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission
Office of the General Counsel
1120 - 20th St., N.W., 9th Floor
Washington, D.C. 20036-3457

II. How to Make a FOIA Request
For basic information on how to make a FOIA request, please visit our Web site at www.oshrc.gov, click on the “FOIA” section, and then click on the “The Freedom of Information Act Reference Guide” or type http://www.oshrc.gov/foia/foiaguide.html in your browser.

A. Names, addresses, and telephone numbers of all individual agency components and offices that process FOIA requests:
Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission
Office of the General Counsel
1120 - 20th St., N.W., 9th Floor
Washington, D.C. 20036-3457
(202) 606-5410

B. Brief description of the agency’s response-time ranges:
The agency responds to FOIA requests within 1-20 working days.  Over half of all requests were processed within three days.

C. Brief description of why some requests are not granted:
Some requests are not granted because no record responsive to the request is located. Requests are also not granted because the request is for records not held by this agency and has to be referred to the proper agency.  Some requests are not granted because the records requested are protected by one of the nine exemptions specified in the FOIA.

III. Definitions of Terms and Acronyms Used in the Report
A. Agency-specific acronyms or other terms:
OSHRC, for Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

B. Basic terms, expressed in common terminology:
1. FOIA/PA request – a Freedom of Information Act/Privacy Act request.  A FOIA request is generally a request for access to records concerning a third party, an organization, or a particular topic of interest. A Privacy Act request is a request for records concerning oneself; such requests are also treated as FOIA requests.  (All requests for access to records, regardless of which law is cited by the requester, are included in this report.)

2. Initial Request – a request to a federal agency for access to records under the Freedom of Information Act.

3. Appeal – a request to a federal agency asking that it review at a higher administrative level a full denial or partial denial of access to records under the Freedom of Information Act, or any other FOIA determination such as a matter pertaining to fees.

4. Processed Request or Appeal – a request or appeal for which an agency has taken a final action on the request or the appeal in all respects.

5. Multi-track processing – a system in which simple requests requiring relatively minimal review are placed in one processing track and more voluminous and complex requests are placed in one or more other tracks.  Requests in each track are processed on a first-in/first-out basis.  A requester who has an urgent need for records may request expedited processing (see below).

6. Expedited processing – an agency will process a FOIA request on an expedited basis when a requester has shown an exceptional need or urgency for the records which warrants prioritization of his or her request over other requests that were made earlier.

7. Simple request – a FOIA request that an agency using multi-track processing places in its fastest (non-expedited) track based on the volume and/or simplicity of records requested.

8. Complex request – a FOIA request that an agency using multi-track processing places in a slower track based on the volume and/or complexity of records requested.

9. Grant – an agency decision to disclose all records in full in response to a FOIA request.

10. Partial grant – an agency decision to disclose a record in part in response to a FOIA request, deleting information determined to be exempt under one or more of the FOIA’s exemptions; or a decision to disclose some records in their entireties, but to withhold others in whole or in part.

11. Denial – an agency decision not to release any part of a record or records in response to a FOIA request because all the information in the requested records is determined by the agency to be exempt under one or more of the FOIA’s exemptions, or for some procedural reason (such as because no record is located in response to a FOIA request).

12. Time limits – the time period in the Freedom of Information Act for an agency to respond to a FOIA request (ordinarily 20 working days from proper receipt of a “perfected” FOIA request).

13. “Perfected” request – a FOIA request for records which adequately describes the records sought, which has been received by the FOIA office of the agency or agency component in possession of the records, and for which there is no remaining question about the payment of applicable fees.

14. Exemption 3 statute – a separate federal statute prohibiting the disclosure of a certain type of information and authorizing its withholding under FOIA subsection (b)(3).

15. Median number – the middle, not average, number. For example, of 3, 7, and 14, the median number is 7.

16. Average number – the number obtained by dividing the sum of a group of numbers by the quantity of numbers in the group. For example, of 3, 7, and 14, the average number is 8.

17. Day – working day.

IV. Exemption 3 Statutes
Exemption 3 statutes relied on by agency during current fiscal year: 0

V. Initial FOIA/PA Access Requests
A. Number of initial requests.
1. Number of requests pending at the end of preceding fiscal year: 0
2. Number of requests received during current fiscal year: 91
3. Number of requests processed during current fiscal year: 90
4. Number of requests pending as of end of current fiscal year: 1

B. Disposition of initial requests.
1. Number of total grants: 40
2. Number of partial grants: 2
3. Number of denials: 0
a. Number of times each FOIA exemption used (counting each exemption once per request):

1) Exemption 1: 0
2) Exemption 2: 0
3) Exemption 3: 0
4) Exemption 4: 0
5) Exemption 5: 0
6) Exemption 6: 2
7) Exemption 7(A): 0
8) Exemption 7(B): 0
9) Exemption 7 (C): 0
10) Exemption 7(D): 0
11) Exemption 7(E): 0
12) Exemption 7(F): 0
13) Exemption 8: 0
14) Exemption 9: 0

4. Other reasons for nondisclosure (total): 48
a. no records: 14
b. referrals: 1
c. request withdrawn: 22
d. fee-related reason: 1
e. records not reasonably described: 0
f. not a proper FOIA request for some other reason: 1
g. not an agency record: 9
h. duplicate record: 0
i. other (specify): 0

VI. Appeals of Initial Denials of FOIA/PA Requests
A. Number of appeals.
1. Number of appeals received during fiscal year: 0
2. Number of appeals processed during fiscal year: 0

B. Disposition of appeals.
1. Number completely upheld: 0
2. Number partially reversed: 0
3. Number completely reversed: 0
a. Number of times each FOIA exemption used (counting each exemption once per appeal):

1) Exemption 1: 0
2) Exemption 2: 0
3) Exemption 3: 0
4) Exemption 4: 0
5) Exemption 5: 0
6) Exemption 6: 0
7) Exemption 7(A): 0
8) Exemption 7(B): 0
9) Exemption 7( C ): 0
10) Exemption 7(D): 0
11) Exemption 7(E): 0
12) Exemption 7(F): 0
13) Exemption 8: 0
14) Exemption 9: 0

4. Other reasons for nondisclosure (total): 0
a. no records: 0
b. referrals: 0
c. request withdrawn: 0
d. fee-related reason: 0
e. records not reasonably described: 0
f. not a proper FOIA request for some other reason: 0
g. not an agency record: 0
h. duplicate record: 0
i. other: 0

VII. Compliance with Time Limits/Status of Pending Requests
A. Median processing time for requests processed during the year.
1. Simple requests:
a. number of requests processed: 89
b. median number of days to process: 3

2. Complex requests:
Not applicable

3. Requests accorded expedited processing
a. number of requests processed: 1
b. median number of days to process: 2

B. Status of pending requests.
1. Number of requests pending as of end of current fiscal year: 1
2. Median number of days that such requests were pending as of that date: 3

VIII. Comparisons with Previous Year(s) (Optional)
A. Comparison of numbers of requests received:
The 91 FOIA requests received represent a 30% increase from the 70 FOIA requests received in Fiscal Year 2006.

B. Comparison of numbers of requests processed:
The 90 FOIA requests processed represent a 29% increase from the 70 FOIA requests processed in Fiscal Year 2006.

C. Comparison of median numbers of days requests were pending as of end of fiscal year:
Not applicable, as no cases were pending at end of Fiscal Year 2006.

D. Other statistics significant to agency:
1. Median processing time for FOIA requests changed only slightly; from 2 days in Fiscal Year 2006 to 3 days in Fiscal Year 2007.  This median processing time does not exceed OSHRC’s goal of a median processing time of seven days per request. 

2. All FOIA requests were processed within twenty working days.

3. OSHRC received four requests for expedited processing in Fiscal Year 2007.  OSHRC granted one request and denied the other three requests due to the requesters’ failure to state a basis under OSHRC’s FOIA regulations for granting expedited processing.

E. Other narrative statements describing agency efforts to improve timeliness of FOIA performance and to make records available to the public:
Over the course of the Fiscal Year, new paralegals and attorneys in the Office of the General Counsel were brought in to OSHRC’s FOIA processing operation and received training.  This increase in FOIA processors helps the agency keep its performance at its reliably high levels.  In an effort to keep processing times short, the FOIA Service Center has standardized its search requests forms, various response templates, and its FOIA filing system. 

IX. Costs/FOIA Staffing
A. Staffing levels.
1. Number of full-time FOIA personnel: 0
2. Number of personnel with part-time or occasional FOIA duties: 1.21 work-years
3. Total number of personnel (in work years): 1.21 work-years

B. Total costs.
1. FOIA processing: $107,385
2. Litigation related activities: $0
3. Total costs: $107,385
4. Comparison with previous year: $58,029 increase in processing costs due to increased number of FOIA requests, additional personnel with part-time FOIA duties, and increased personnel compensation.

C. Statement of additional resources needed for FOIA compliance (optional): Not applicable.

X. Fees
A. Total amount of fees collected by agency for processing requests: $1,253.75
B. Percentage of total costs: 1.2%

XI. FOIA Regulations (Including Fee Schedule)
The agency’s regulations implementing the FOIA, which include its fee schedule, can be found at 29 C.F.R. Part 2201 and at the agency’s Web site: http://www.oshrc.gov/foia/regs_implementing_foia.html .

XII. Report on FOIA Executive Order Implementation
A. Description of supplementation/modification of agency improvement plan (if applicable)
Not applicable.

B. Report on agency implementation of its plan, including its performance in meeting milestones, with respect to each improvement area
Pursuant to the requirements of the President’s Executive Order No. 13,392, OSHRC developed a FOIA Improvement Plan, submitted to the U.S. Department of Justice and the Office of Management and Budget in June 2006.  In developing the plan, OSHRC reviewed its entire FOIA program for the areas of potential improvement identified in the Executive Order.  Based on this review, OSHRC determined that the improvement areas for its plan would be to revise its FOIA regulations, directive, and reference guide.  These revisions were completed before the imposed milestone deadline of December 31, 2006.  OSHRC had no deficiencies in its implementation of the Executive Order and, therefore, was not required to submit an Updated Status Report in August 2007.

During Calendar Year 2007, as required in its Improvement Plan, OSHRC continued to monitor its FOIA procedures for ways to improve its services.  Based on the experiences of the FOIA officers, certain elements of OSHRC’s FOIA processing have been standardized—including search request forms, response templates, and request files—streamlining the process.  As documented above, OSHRC has maintained its minimal processing times on the FOIA requests it receives.  Further reductions would be difficult to achieve as many of the records requested are kept in off-site storage.  Additionally, OSHRC issued all FOIA responses within the statutory timeframe.  Because OSHRC did not have any FOIA requests or appeals pending beyond the statutory time period at the end of Fiscal Year 2007, it was not required to establish and publish backlog reduction goals.

C. Identification and discussion of any deficiency in meeting plan milestones (if applicable)
Not applicable.

D. Additional narrative statement regarding other executive order-related activities (optional)
Not applicable.

E. Concise descriptions of FOIA exemptions
The nine FOIA exemptions authorize federal agencies to withhold information covering: (1) classified national defense and foreign relations information; (2) internal agency rules and practices; (3) information that is prohibited from disclosure by another federal law; (4) trade secrets and other confidential business information; (5) inter-agency or intra-agency communications that are protected by legal privileges; (6) information involving matters of personal privacy; (7) records or information compiled for law enforcement purposes, to the extent that the production of those records (A) could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings, (B) would deprive a person of a right to a fair trial or an impartial adjudication, (C) could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy, (D) could reasonably be expected to disclose the identity of a confidential source, (E) would disclose techniques and procedures for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions, or would disclose guidelines for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions, or (F) could reasonably be expected to endanger the life or physical safety of any individual; (8) information relating to the supervision of financial institutions; and (9) geological information on wells.  In addition, it is highly unlikely that OSHRC will withhold information using the three FOIA exclusions because they pertain to especially sensitive law enforcement and national security matters.

F. Additional statistics:
1. Ten Oldest Pending FOIA Requests (as of January 1, 2008)

Calendar Year

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

Requests

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Dec. 11

Note: OSHRC had only one pending FOIA request as of January 1, 2008.  It was processed on January 4, 2008. 

2. Consultations.
a. Number of Consultations Received, Processed, and Pending.

Consultations Received From Other Agencies During FY07

Consultations Received From Other Agencies That Were Processed by OSHRC During FY07 (includes those received prior to FY07)

Consultations Received From Other Agencies That Were Pending at OSHRC as of October 1, 2007 (includes those received prior to FY07)

0

0

0

b. Ten Oldest Pending Consultations Received From Other Agencies

Calendar Year

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

Consults Received

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

G. Attachment: Agency improvement plan (in current form)
http://www.oshrc.gov/foia/foia_improvement_plan_06.htm

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Last Updated: February 29, 2008

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