Reports & Testimonies

  • GAO’s recommendations database contains report recommendations that still need to be addressed.

    GAO’s recommendations help congressional and agency leaders prepare for appropriations and oversight activities, as well as help improve government operations. Recommendations remain open until they are designated as Closed-implemented or Closed-not implemented. You can explore open recommendations by searching or browsing.

    GAO's priority recommendations are those that we believe warrant priority attention. We sent letters to the heads of key departments and agencies, urging them to continue focusing on these issues. These recommendations are labeled as such. You can find priority recommendations by searching or browsing our open recommendations below, or through our mobile app.

  • Browse Open Recommendations

    Explore priority recommendations by subject terms or browse by federal agency

    Search Open Recommendations

    Search for a specific priority recommendation by word or phrase



  • Governing on the go?

    Our Priorities for Policy Makers app makes it easier for leaders to search our recommendations on the go.

    See the November 10th Press Release


  • Have a Question about a Recommendation?

    • For questions about a specific recommendation, contact the person or office listed with the recommendation.
    • For general information about recommendations, contact GAO's Audit Policy and Quality Assurance office at (202) 512-6100 or apqa@gao.gov.
  • « Back to Results List Sort by   

    Results:

    Subject Term: "Accident investigations"

    5 publications with a total of 15 open recommendations
    Director: Frank Rusco
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    8 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To enhance its ability to effectively oversee offshore oil and gas development, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement to continue to implement its restructuring effort. To address risks to the effectiveness of its investigations, environmental compliance, and enforcement capabilities, BSEE should complete policies outlining the responsibilities of its the Safety and Incident Investigations Division (SIID), Environmental Compliance Division, and Safety Enforcement Division and update and develop procedures to guide them.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to BSEE documentation, SIID, the Environmental Compliance Division, and the Safety Enforcement Division continue work to complete foundational policies for their respective areas. The target date has been extended to June 30, 2018, due to the need to align policy development with BSEE's new Directives System outlined in Bureau Manual Chapter 380.1, signed on May 18, 2017.
    Recommendation: To enhance its ability to effectively oversee offshore oil and gas development, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement to continue to implement its restructuring effort. To enhance its investigative capabilities, BSEE should establish a capability to review investigation policy and collect and analyze incidents to identify trends in safety and environmental hazards.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to BSEE documentation, the Safety and Incident Investigations Division (SIID) is working closely with the Office of Policy and Analysis and the Records, Delegations, and Directives Team to implement the requirements specified in the BSEE Directives System Manual Chapter and to convert a number of Bureau Interim Directives into Bureau Manual Chapters. An internal control review was initiated in fiscal year 2017 to assess compliance with the tiering process outlined in the National Investigations Handbook. SIID staff are currently reviewing the Handbook to assess the need for updates and are working with District staff to review District level investigations to determine what needs to be included in the narrative portion of District Form 2010. We anticipate completion of these actions by December 31, 2017.
    Recommendation: To enhance its ability to effectively oversee offshore oil and gas development, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement to continue to implement its restructuring effort. To enhance its investigative capabilities, BSEE should clearly communicate the purpose of the Investigations and Review Unit, as it will be assumed by the SIID, to industry operators.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to BSEE documentation, SIID, the Office of Public Affairs, the Office of Policy and Analysis, and regional offices will consult with the new BSEE Director to solicit input and discuss potential mechanisms for communicating the purpose of SIID to industry operators. Actions to implement this recommendation are expected to be completed by December 31, 2017.
    Recommendation: To enhance its ability to effectively oversee offshore oil and gas development, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement to continue to implement its restructuring effort. To enhance its investigative capabilities, BSEE should clarify policies and procedures for assigning panel investigation membership and referring cases of suspected criminal wrongdoing to the Interior's Office of Inspector General.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: In March 2016, BSEE issued two Bureau Interim Directives (BID) regarding the assignment of panel investigation membership and referral to Interior's Office of the Inspector General. However, the BID regarding panel investigation membership is not clear regarding how disagreements between regional management and headquarters investigation management are to be adjudicated. According to BSEE documentation, BID No. 2016-003N (Designation of Panel Chair and Panel Members) is being revised to clarify how disagreements between regional management and headquarters investigation management will be adjudicated. BSEE did not provide a time frame for completion.
    Recommendation: To enhance its ability to effectively oversee offshore oil and gas development, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement to continue to implement its restructuring effort. To enhance its environmental compliance capabilities, BSEE should conduct and document a risk analysis of the regional-based reporting structure of the Environmental Compliance Division, including actions to mitigate any identified risk.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to BSEE documentation, a risk analysis of the regional-based reporting structure of the Environmental Compliance Division was initiated in fiscal year 2017 using the Department of Interior's Integrated Risk Rating Tool (IRRT). The results of the analysis are currently being reviewed to assess whether the IRRT's design and methodology actually addressed the intent of the recommendation. BSEE did not provide a time frame for completion.
    Recommendation: To enhance its ability to effectively oversee offshore oil and gas development, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement to continue to implement its restructuring effort. To enhance its environmental compliance capabilities, BSEE should coordinate with the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency to consider the relevance of existing interagency agreements for monitoring operator compliance with National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits on the Outer Continental Shelf and, if necessary, update them to reflect current oversight needs.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to BSEE documentation, BSEE, in coordination with EPA, has been reviewing the agreements. Given new leadership in both agencies, this effort has been delayed. BSEE did not provide a time frame for completion.
    Recommendation: To enhance its ability to effectively oversee offshore oil and gas development, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement to continue to implement its restructuring effort. To enhance its environmental compliance capabilities, BSEE should develop a plan to address documented environmental oversight staffing needs.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to BSEE documentation, the BSEE Director has ordered an assessment. In the meantime, inspectors are being trained to assist with environmental oversight responsibilities as appropriate. BSEE did not provide a time frame for completion.
    Recommendation: To enhance its ability to effectively oversee offshore oil and gas development, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement to continue to implement its restructuring effort. To enhance its enforcement capabilities, BSEE should develop a mechanism to ensure that it reviews the maximum daily civil penalty and adjust it to reflect increases in the Consumer Price Index within the time frame as directed by statute.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: In April 2016, BSEE issued a bureau manual chapter regarding the review and adjustment of civil penalty amounts but has not developed business practices to implement it. According to BSEE documentation, a Bureau Interim Directive, aligned with OMB guidance on Implementation of the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015, is currently being drafted to define business practices that include specific bureau roles, responsibilities, and timelines. This action is expected to be completed by December 31, 2017.
    Director: Dillingham, Gerald L
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the applicants' understanding of the medical standards and the information required to complete FAA's medical certification process, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator of FAA to enhance the online medical-application system by clarifying instructions and questions on the medical application form and providing useful information to applicants.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions FAA has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Dillingham, Gerald L
    Phone: (202)512-2834

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To enhance FAA's efforts to improve general aviation safety, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FAA Administrator to improve measures of general aviation activity by requiring the collection of the number of hours that general aviation aircraft fly over a period of time (flight hours). FAA should explore ways to do this that minimize the impact on the general aviation community, such as by collecting the data at regular events (e.g., during registration renewals or at annual maintenance inspections) that are already required.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: In August 2017, GAO confirmed that FAA's collection of flight hour data during registration renewals or annual maintenance inspections is not feasible because it would require rulemaking and potentially have a significant economic and paperwork impact on the GA community. FAA noted that, although previously the GA Activity Survey was somewhat limited for collecting more extensive flight hour data, improvements to the survey regarding flight hour data collection have resulted in a low standard error of 1.1 percent, which means that the agency and industry can have confidence in the aggregate results regarding how GA is operated in the national airspace system. While there may have been methodological improvements to the survey, FAA's response indicates that it does not require the collection of GA flight hour data. GAO maintains that estimates from the survey still may not be sufficient for drawing conclusions about changes in crash rates over time and that more precise flight hour data could allow FAA to better target its safety efforts within the general aviation community.
    Recommendation: To enhance FAA's efforts to improve general aviation safety, and to ensure that ongoing safety issues are addressed, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FAA Administrator to set specific general aviation safety improvement goals--such as targets for fatal accident reductions--for individual industry segments using a datadriven, risk management approach.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: GAO confirmed in August 2017 that FAA's General Aviation Joint Steering Committee has undertaken a data-driven approach to resolving and mitigating the risks associated with all General Aviation (GA) fatal accidents and is exploring different metrics for monitoring individual industry segments utilizing tools such as the GA Activity Survey but that credible metrics for each industry sub-sector are currently not feasible. However, our recommendation was for FAA to develop metrics for industry segments because we found a variety of differences in accident and fatality rates among industry segments and believe that focusing on segments with higher instances of both is a better use of FAA's limited resources.
    Recommendation: To enhance FAA's efforts to improve general aviation safety, and to determine whether the programs and activities underlying the 5-year strategy are successful and if additional actions are needed, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FAA Administrator to develop performance measures for each significant program and activity underlying the 5-year strategy.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: GAO confirmed in August 2017 that FAA has established performance metrics for the activities underlying the 5-year strategy and that the GA fatal accident rate remains its primary performance measure. FAA also reported that additional performance measures would be developed in association with the General Aviation Joint Steering Committee working groups. However, FAA has provided no documentation of its metrics for the associated activities underlying the 5-year strategy therefore this recommendation remains open.
    Director: Dillingham, Gerald L
    Phone: (202)512-4803

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help FAA improve the data on and the safety of air cargo operations, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FAA Administrator to gather comprehensive and accurate data on all part 135 cargo operations to gain a better understanding of air cargo accident rates and better target safety initiatives. This can be done by separating out cargo activity in FAA's annual survey of aircraft owners or by requiring all part 135 cargo carriers to report operational data as part 121 carriers currently do.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: In 2017, FAA reported that the agency has determined that a redesign of the General Aviation and Part 135 Activity Survey (GA Survey) is not required to address the recommendation, as originally considered. Beginning with the GA survey for year 2016--survey results are being processed--FAA will identify aircraft certified for cargo operations and use the certificate type to break out operational data for cargo operations. FAA also discussed this plan with stakeholders, including the Regional Air Cargo Carriers Association, and believe this new approach will meet the recommendation for gathering comprehensive and accurate data on all part 135 cargo operations. In June 2017, FAA informed us that the agency expects to release the 2016 GA survey by October 31, 2017.
    Director: Trimble, David C
    Phone: (202)512-6225

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: Congress may wish to consider amending CSB's authorizing statute or the Inspector General Act of 1978 to permanently give Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Inspector General the authority to serve as the oversight body for the agency.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: Congress has not taken action yet.
    Recommendation: As Congress prepares the appropriation of the EPA Inspector General, it may wish to consider providing the Inspector General with appropriations and staff allocations specifically for the audit function of CSB via a direct line in the EPA appropriation.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: Congress has not taken action yet.