80 FR 57701 - Federal Contract Tower Safety Action Program (SAFER-FCT) and Air Traffic Safety Action Program for Engineers & Architects, Staff Support Specialists, Aviation Technical System Specialists (Series 2186) and Flight Procedures Team (ATSAP-X)

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration

Federal Register Volume 80, Issue 186 (September 25, 2015)

Page Range57701-57703
FR Document2015-24438

This action affirms the order published in the Federal Register on April 3, 2015, regarding the application of Title 14, Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) Part 193, Federal Contract Tower SAFER- FCT Program and the Air Traffic Organization Engineers and Architects, Staff Support Specialist (Series 2186) and Flight Procedures Team (hereinafter ``Region X'') ATSAP-X Program. The Notice proposed that safety information provided to the FAA under the SAFER-FCT and ATSAP-X programs be designated by an FAA Order as protected from public disclosure in accordance with the provisions of 14 CFR part 193, Protection of Voluntarily Submitted Information. The designation is intended to encourage persons to voluntarily provide information to the FAA under the SAFER-FCT and ATSAP-X, so the FAA can learn about and address aviation safety hazards and implement, as appropriate corrective measures for events or safety issues.

Federal Register, Volume 80 Issue 186 (Friday, September 25, 2015)
[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 186 (Friday, September 25, 2015)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 57701-57703]
From the Federal Register Online  [www.thefederalregister.org]
[FR Doc No: 2015-24438]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Aviation Administration

14 CFR Part 193

[Docket No.: FAA-2014-0142]
RIN 2120-AA66


Federal Contract Tower Safety Action Program (SAFER-FCT) and Air 
Traffic Safety Action Program for Engineers & Architects, Staff Support 
Specialists, Aviation Technical System Specialists (Series 2186) and 
Flight Procedures Team (ATSAP-X)

AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

[[Page 57702]]


ACTION: Notice of Order Designating Information as Protected from 
Disclosure; No comments received.

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SUMMARY: This action affirms the order published in the Federal 
Register on April 3, 2015, regarding the application of Title 14, Code 
of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) Part 193, Federal Contract Tower SAFER-
FCT Program and the Air Traffic Organization Engineers and Architects, 
Staff Support Specialist (Series 2186) and Flight Procedures Team 
(hereinafter ``Region X'') ATSAP-X Program. The Notice proposed that 
safety information provided to the FAA under the SAFER-FCT and ATSAP-X 
programs be designated by an FAA Order as protected from public 
disclosure in accordance with the provisions of 14 CFR part 193, 
Protection of Voluntarily Submitted Information. The designation is 
intended to encourage persons to voluntarily provide information to the 
FAA under the SAFER-FCT and ATSAP-X, so the FAA can learn about and 
address aviation safety hazards and implement, as appropriate 
corrective measures for events or safety issues.

DATES: Effective date: September 25, 2015.

ADDRESSES: For information on where to obtain copies of documents and 
other information related to this action, see ``How to Obtain 
Additional Information'' in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of 
this notice.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For questions concerning this action, 
contact Ms. Coleen Hawrysko, Group Manager, Air Traffic Organization 
(ATO) Safety Programs, Federal Aviation Administration, 490 L'Enfant 
Plaza, Suite 7200, Washington, DC 20024; telephone (202) 267-8807, 
email: [email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    Under Title 49 of the United States Code (49 U.S.C.), section 
40123, certain voluntarily provided safety and security information is 
protected from disclosure in order to encourage persons to provide the 
information. In accordance with 14 CFR part 193, Protection of 
Voluntarily Submitted Information, the FAA must issue an Order that 
specifies why the agency finds that the information should be 
protected. If the Administrator issues an Order designating information 
as protected under 49 U.S.C. 40123, that information will not be 
disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act (Title 5 of the United 
States Code (5 U.S.C.), section 552) or other laws, except as provided 
in 49 U.S.C. 40123, 14 CFR part 193, and the Order designating the 
information as protected. This Order is issued under part 193; section 
193.11, which sets out the notice procedure for designating information 
as protected.
    On April 3, 2015, the FAA published a notice of proposed order 
designating information provided under the SAFER-FCT and ATSAP-X 
programs as protected from disclosure under 49 U.S.C. 40123 and 14 CFR 
part 193. 80 FR 18168. The FAA noted that the designation of protected 
information is intended to encourage persons to voluntarily provide 
information to the FAA under the SAFER-FCT and ATSAP-X, so the FAA can 
learn about and address aviation safety hazards of which it was unaware 
or more fully understand and implement corrective measures for events 
or safety issues known by it through other means. The FAA invited 
public comment. No comments were submitted to the docket.

Applicability

    The designation is applicable to any FAA office that receives 
information covered under this designation from SAFER-FCT and ATSAP-X, 
both of which will be incorporated in FAA Order JO 7200.20, Voluntary 
Safety Reporting Programs. Any other government agency that receives 
SAFER-FCT and ATSAP-X information covered under the designation from 
the FAA is subject to the requirements of 49 U.S.C. 40123 regarding 
nondisclosure of the information. Under Sec.  193.7(e), each such 
agency must stipulate in writing, that it will abide by the 
requirements of section 40123, the provisions of part 193, and the 
Order designating SAFER-FCT and ATSAP-X as protected from public 
disclosure under 14 CFR part 193.

3. Summary

    a. Qualified Participants. Region X employees who are covered under 
the Consolidated Collective Bargaining agreement (CBA) between NATCA 
and the FAA effective May 22, 2013, or its successor, and other 
employees identified in FAA Order 7200.22 which will be incorporated in 
FAA Order 7200.20, are eligible to complete a ATSAP-X report for events 
that occur while acting in that capacity. Vendor employees Union or 
Non-Union who are covered under the FAA and the Federal Contract Tower 
September 2011 contract, or its successor, and other employees 
identified in FAA Order 7200.20 are eligible to complete a SAFER-FCT 
report for events that occur while acting in that capacity.
    b. Voluntarily-provided Information Protected from Disclosure Under 
the Proposed Designation. Except for SAFER-FCT or ATSAP-X reports that 
involve possible criminal conduct, substance abuse, controlled 
substances, alcohol, or intentional falsification, the following 
information would be protected from disclosure:
    (1) the content of any report concerning an aviation safety or 
security matter that is submitted by a qualified participant under the 
SAFER-FCT or ATSAP-X that is accepted into either program, including 
the SAFER-FCT or ATSAP-X report, and the name of the submitter of the 
report. Notwithstanding the foregoing, mandatory information about 
occurrences that are required to be reported under FAA Orders or ATO 
guidance is not protected under this designation, unless the same 
information has also been submitted or reported under other procedures 
prescribed by the Agency. The exclusion is necessary to assure that the 
information protected under this designation has been voluntarily 
submitted. It also permits changes to ATO Orders and guidance without 
requiring a change to this designation.
    (2) Any evidence gathered by the Event Review Committee during its 
investigation of a safety- or security-related event reported under 
SAFER-FCT or ATSAP-X, including the SAFER-FCT or ATSAP-X investigative 
file.

    Note: The type of information or circumstances under which the 
information listed above would not be protected from disclosure is 
discussed in paragraph 3.b of this Order.

    c. Ways to Participate. FAA employees who are qualified 
participants register for, and submit a report into, the system.
    d. Duration of this Information-Sharing Program. This program 
continues as long as it is provided for by Order or a collective 
bargaining agreement.
    4. Findings. The FAA designates information received from a SAFER-
FCT or ATSAP-X submission as protected under 49 U.S.C. 40123 and 14 CFR 
193.7, based on the following findings:
    a. Summary of why the FAA finds that the information will be 
provided voluntarily. The FAA finds that the information will be 
provided voluntarily. This finding is supported by the significant 
increase in reports of safety-related matters since the implementation 
of voluntary safety reporting programs. No FAA or Vendor employee is 
required to participate in the SAFER-FCT or ATSAP-X.

[[Page 57703]]

    b. Description of the type of information that may be voluntarily 
provided under the program and a summary of why the FAA finds that the 
information is safety- related.
    (1) The following types of reports are ordinarily submitted under 
the SAFER-FCT or ATSAP-X:
    i. Noncompliance reports. Noncompliance reports identify specific 
instances of a failure to follow FAA directives.
    ii. Aviation safety concern reports. Aviation safety concerns that 
do not involve specific noncompliance with FAA directives. These may 
include, but are not limited to potential safety events or perceived 
problems with policies, procedures, and equipment.
    (2) Region X employees support the design, delivery and efficiency 
of flight services throughout the National Airspace System (NAS) 
facilities, systems and equipment. Reports submitted by these employees 
under ATSAP-X ordinarily involve matters or observations occurring 
during the performance of their job responsibilities, and therefore the 
information submitted is inherently safety related. Vendor employees 
provide and support the provision of air traffic services at Federal 
Contract Tower facilities throughout the NAS. Reports submitted by 
these employees under SAFER-FCT ordinarily involve occurrences or 
problems identified or experienced during the performance of their job 
responsibilities which directly affect safety.
    c. Summary of why the FAA finds that the disclosure of the 
information would inhibit persons from voluntarily providing that type 
of information.
    The FAA finds that disclosure of the information would inhibit the 
voluntary provision of that type of information. Employees are 
unwilling to voluntarily provide detailed information about safety 
events and concerns, including those that might involve their own 
failures to follow Agency directives and policies, if such information 
could be released publicly. If information is publicly disclosed, there 
is a strong likelihood that the information could be misused for 
purposes other than to address and resolve the reported safety concern. 
Unless the FAA can provide assurance that safety-related reports will 
be withheld from public disclosure, employees will not participate in 
the programs.
    d. Summary of why the receipt of that type of information aids in 
fulfilling the FAA's safety responsibilities. The FAA finds that 
receipt of information in SAFER-FCT or ATSAP-X reports aids in 
fulfilling the FAA's safety responsibilities. Because of its capacity 
to provide early identification of needed safety improvements, this 
information offers significant potential for addressing hazards that 
could lead to incidents or accidents. In particular, one of the 
benefits of both the SAFER-FCT and ATSAP-X is that they encourage the 
submission of narrative descriptions of occurrences that provide more 
detailed information than is otherwise available. The SAFER-FCT and 
ATSAP-X have produced safety-related data that is not available from 
any other source. Receipt of this previously unavailable information 
has provided the FAA with an improved basis for modifying procedures, 
policies, and regulations to improve safety and efficiency.
    e. Consistencies and inconsistencies with FAA safety 
responsibilities. The FAA finds that withholding SAFER-FCT and ATSAP-X 
information from public release is consistent with the FAA's safety 
responsibilities, because it encourages individuals to provide 
important safety information that it otherwise might not receive.
    (1) Withholding SAFER-FCT and ATSAP-X information from disclosure, 
as described in this designation, is consistent with the FAA's safety 
responsibilities. Without the Agency's ability to assure that the 
detailed information reported under these programs, which often 
explains why the event occurred or describes underlying problems, will 
not be disclosed, the information will not be provided to the FAA. 
Employees are concerned that public release of the information could 
result in potential misuses of the information that could affect them 
negatively. If the FAA does not receive the information, the FAA and 
the public will be deprived of the opportunity to make the safety 
improvements that receipt of the information otherwise enables. 
Corrective action under SAFER-FCT and ATSAP-X can be accomplished 
without disclosure of protected information. For example, for 
acceptance under both programs, the reporting employee must comply with 
ERC recommendations for corrective action, such as additional training 
for an employee. If the employee fails to complete corrective action in 
a manner satisfactory to all members of the ERC, the event may be 
referred to an appropriate office within the FAA for any additional 
investigation, reexamination, and/or action, as appropriate.
    (2) The FAA may release SAFER-FCT or ATSAP-X information submitted 
to the agency, as specified in Part 193 and this Order. For example, to 
explain the need for changes in FAA policies, procedures, and 
regulations, the FAA may disclose de-identified, summarized information 
that has been derived from SAFER-FCT or ATSAP-X reports or extracted 
from the protected information listed under paragraph 5b. The FAA may 
disclose de-identified, summarized SAFER-FCT or ATSAP-X information 
that identifies a systemic problem in the NAS, when a party needs to be 
advised of the problem in order to take corrective action. Under the 
current version of FAA Order N JO 7200.20, reported events and possible 
violations may be subject to investigation, reexamination, and/or 
action. Although the report itself and the content of the report are 
not used as evidence, the FAA may use the knowledge of the event or 
possible violation to generate an investigation, and, in that regard, 
the information is not protected from disclosure. To withhold 
information from such limited release would be inconsistent with the 
FAA's safety responsibilities. In addition, reports that appear to 
involve possible criminal activity, substance abuse, controlled 
substances, alcohol, or intentional falsification will be referred to 
an appropriate FAA office for further handling. The FAA may use such 
reports for enforcement purposes, and will refer such reports to law 
enforcement agencies, if appropriate. To withhold information in these 
circumstances would be inconsistent with the agency's safety 
responsibilities because it could prevent, or at least diminish the 
FAA's ability to effectively address egregious misconduct.
    f. Summary of how the FAA will distinguish information protected 
under part 193 from information the FAA receives from other sources.
    (1) All employee SAFER-FCT and ATSAP-X reports are clearly labeled 
as such. Each employee must submit their own report.
    5. Designation. The FAA designates the information described in 
paragraph 4b to be protected from disclosure in accordance with 49 
U.S.C., section 40123 and 14 CFR part 193.

    Issued in Washington, DC on September 18, 2015.
Michael P. Huerta,
Administrator, Federal Aviation Administration.
[FR Doc. 2015-24438 Filed 9-24-15; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4910-13-P


80_FR_57887
Current View
CategoryRegulatory Information
CollectionFederal Register
sudoc ClassAE 2.7:
GS 4.107:
AE 2.106:
PublisherOffice of the Federal Register, National Archives and Records Administration
SectionRules and Regulations
ActionNotice of Order Designating Information as Protected from Disclosure; No comments received.
DatesEffective date: September 25, 2015.
ContactFor questions concerning this action, contact Ms. Coleen Hawrysko, Group Manager, Air Traffic Organization (ATO) Safety Programs, Federal Aviation Administration, 490 L'Enfant Plaza, Suite 7200, Washington, DC 20024; telephone (202) 267-8807, email: [email protected]
FR Citation80 FR 57701 
RIN Number2120-AA66

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