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: Safety

    32 publications with a total of 85 open recommendations including 10 priority recommendations
    Director: Susan Fleming
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To assess and validate the effectiveness of PHMSA's Risk Ranking Index Model (RRIM) in prioritizing pipelines for inspection, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator of PHMSA to document the decisions and underlying assumptions for the design of RRIM, including what data and information were analyzed as part of determining each component of the model, such as the threat factors, weights, risk tiers, and inspection frequency.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To assess and validate the effectiveness of PHMSA's RRIM in prioritizing pipelines for inspection, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator of PHMSA to establish and implement a process that uses data to periodically review and assess the effectiveness of the model in prioritizing pipelines for inspection and document the results of these analyses.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Dave Wise
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should direct NHTSA to define, document, and externally communicate the agency's roles and responsibilities in relation to connected vehicle data privacy.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Susan Fleming
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better position DOT and FHWA to effectively guide the transformation of federal surface transportation programs to a more performance-oriented approach, and to help states and MPOs overcome anticipated challenges, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator of FHWA to take the following two actions: 1. Develop a formal TPM implementation plan to include overarching implementation goals, specific actions FHWA plans to take to help states and MPOs successfully implement TPM, and corresponding timelines. 2. Publicly communicate this plan and approach to build a shared understanding of the goals and purpose of the transformation with its grantees.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Carol C. Harris
    Phone: (202) 512-4456

    5 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help improve the modernization of FMCSA's IT systems, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FMCSA Administrator to update FMCSA's IT strategic plan to include well-defined goals, strategies, measures, and timelines for modernizing its systems.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To help improve the modernization of FMCSA's IT systems, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FMCSA Administrator to ensure that the IT investment process guidance lays out the roles and responsibilities of all working groups and individuals involved in the agency's governance process.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To help improve the modernization of FMCSA's IT systems, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FMCSA Administrator to finalize the restructure of the Office of Information Technology, including fully defining the roles and responsibilities of the CIO.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To help improve the modernization of FMCSA's IT systems, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FMCSA Administrator to ensure that appropriate governance bodies review all IT investments and track corrective actions to closure.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To help improve the modernization of FMCSA's IT systems, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FMCSA Administrator to ensure that required operational analyses are performed for Aspen, Motor Carrier Management Information System, Sentri 2.0, and Unified Registration System on an annual basis.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

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

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To more fully address stakeholder concerns and help ensure FirstNet's resources reflect expected changes in responsibilities, FirstNet should assess the long-term staffing needs in the Network Program Office prior to requesting to assume full responsibility from Interior for administering the network contract.

    Agency: Department of Commerce: National Telecommunications and Information Administration: First Responder Network Authority
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To more fully address stakeholder concerns and help ensure FirstNet's resources reflect expected changes in responsibilities, FirstNet should request that the Public Safety Advisory Committee's Tribal Working Group fully explore tribal concerns and propose actions, as needed, to address those concerns.

    Agency: Department of Commerce: National Telecommunications and Information Administration: First Responder Network Authority
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Melissa Emrey-Arras
    Phone: (617) 788-0534

    6 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should direct the Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs to develop and take corrective actions, in consultation with Interior's Designated Agency Safety and Health Official, to address BIA safety program weaknesses identified in prior Interior evaluations.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: Interior agreed with this recommendation. The agency stated that the Designated Agency Safety and Health Official (DASHO) is working with the Indian Affairs' safety office and BIA regional leadership to discuss the current state of BIA's safety program and develop a corrective action plan to address identified safety program weaknesses.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should direct the Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs to assign responsibility to a specific office or official to develop and implement a plan to assess employees' safety training needs and monitor employees' compliance with Indian Affairs' safety training requirements.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: Interior agreed with this recommendation. Interior indicated that Indian Affairs is developing a safety training plan, which will establish program responsibilities and compliance requirements for safety training across BIA, among other areas. Interior also noted that line offices will track the implementation of the training plan and individuals' compliance with training requirements.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should direct the Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs to ensure that BIA's employee performance standards on inspections are consistently incorporated into the appraisal plans of all BIA personnel with safety program responsibilities.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: Interior agreed with this recommendation. Interior commented that the appraisal plans of BIA regional directors had been updated to include BIA's new performance standards on inspections, which we noted in our report. The agency also stated that Indian Affairs' work in addressing this recommendation was primarily completed. However, Interior did not provide evidence that the appraisal plans of all BIA staff with safety program responsibilities included all of the bureau's new performance standards on safety inspections. We continue to believe that it is important that BIA's employee performance standards on inspections are consistently incorporated in all BIA employee appraisal plans.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should direct the Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs to develop a performance standard on inspection report quality and establish a process to routinely monitor the quality of inspection reports. Monitoring could include, but not be limited to, the following areas: accuracy of risk levels and abatement timeframes assigned to deficiencies and clarity of language to describe safety hazards and recommended corrections.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: Interior agreed with this recommendation. The agency noted that Indian Affairs is developing written policies and procedures for safety inspections at BIE schools, which it says will address issues with report clarity and accuracy, among other areas. However, Interior did not provide us with information about whether it will establish a performance standard for report quality and a process for monitoring inspection quality, which are the two key actions we recommended. We maintain that these steps are needed to ensure that BIE schools receive thorough and accurate safety inspection reports.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should direct the Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs to require safety inspectors to document when inspection reports are sent to schools and establish a process to routinely monitor the timeliness of reports against Indian Affairs' required 30-day timeframe.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: Interior agreed with this recommendation. Interior stated that Indian Affairs will require inspectors to certify and report the dates on which inspectors send reports to schools. The agency also noted that Indian Affairs' safety office will monitor the timeliness of inspection reports sent to schools and report the results of its monitoring to Indian Affairs' senior leadership.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should direct the Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs to use information gathered from monitoring the timeliness of school safety inspection reports to assess the performance of employees with safety program responsibilities and hold them accountable.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: Interior agreed with this recommendation. Interior stated that supervisors will ensure that responsible employees are held accountable for complying with its performance standards on safety inspections. We continue to believe it is important that Indian Affairs use information from monitoring inspection report timeliness to assess employee performance.
    Director: Susan Fleming
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To leverage and build upon the ongoing efforts within individual DOT modal administrations and to address concerns raised by experts regarding collaboration and coordination, data quality and analytics, regulation development, project delivery processes, and addressing emerging issues, the Secretary of Transportation should: (1) conduct a department-wide review of DOT's current efforts to address these concerns; and (2) develop an action plan with specific steps to implement improvements, as identified, in these areas.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Seto Bagdoyan
    Phone: (202) 512-6722

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To enhance consumer understanding of agency oversight roles and to strengthen agency oversight of Internet marketing, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services and the Chair of the FTC should develop and provide additional guidance to consumers delineating the agencies' differing roles in their shared oversight of memory supplement and other dietary supplement marketing on the Internet.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To enhance consumer understanding of agency oversight roles and to strengthen agency oversight of Internet marketing, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services and the Chair of the FTC should develop and provide additional guidance to consumers delineating the agencies' differing roles in their shared oversight of memory supplement and other dietary supplement marketing on the Internet.

    Agency: Federal Trade Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Frank Rusco
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    4 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should direct the Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management, who oversees BSEE, to establish a mechanism for BSEE management to obtain and incorporate input from bureau personnel and any external parties, such as Argonne, that can affect the bureau's ability to achieve its objectives.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In its June 9, 2017 response to our report, Interior indicated that BSEE is developing new strategies to improve trust and foster greater collaboration for consideration by the new Director. Interior anticipates BSEE taking action by April 30, 2018.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should direct the Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management, who oversees BSEE, to address leadership commitment deficiencies within BSEE, including by implementing internal management initiatives and ongoing strategic initiatives (e.g., Enterprise Risk Management and performance measure initiatives) in a timely manner.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its June 9, 2017 response to our report, Interior indicated that BSEE will incorporate lessons learned from its first ERM cycle in future cycles and that BSEE will incorporate a performance management dashboard in fiscal year 2018. Specific completion dates were not provided.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should direct the BSEE Director to address trust concerns that exist between headquarters and the field, BSEE should expand the scope of its employee engagement strategy to incorporate the need to communicate quality information throughout the bureau.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its June 9, 2017 response to our report, Interior indicated that BSEE's response to this recommendation would be incorporated into its corrective actions for recommendation 1. The target completion date is April 30, 2018.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should direct the BSEE Director to increase organizational trust in Integrity and Professional Responsibility Advisor (IPRA) activities, BSEE should assess and amend IPRA guidance to clarify (1) severity threshold criteria for referring allegations of misconduct to the IG and (2) its reporting chain.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its June 9, 2017, response to our report, Interior indicated that the BSEE Director will evaluate options for clarifying the roles, responsibilities, and processes for the IPRA. The target date for completion is December 31, 2017.
    Director: Mark Goldstein
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure future large-scale rehabilitation projects are in line with leading project management practices, WMATA should develop a policy that requires and includes relevant procedures specifying that, prior to starting large-scale projects, WMATA should use detailed data on the conditions of assets to develop project objectives and scope.

    Agency: Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To ensure future large-scale rehabilitation projects are in line with leading project management practices, WMATA should develop a policy that requires and includes relevant procedures specifying that, prior to starting large-scale projects, WMATA should evaluate and compare alternative ways of accomplishing the project objectives, including estimates for the alternatives' costs and impacts.

    Agency: Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To ensure future large-scale rehabilitation projects are in line with leading project management practices, WMATA should develop a policy that requires and includes relevant procedures specifying that, prior to starting large-scale projects, WMATA should develop a comprehensive project management plan for the selected alternative--to include key elements such as detailed plans for managing the project's scope, schedule, and cost--for those projects that may not be designated major capital projects.

    Agency: Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority
    Status: Open

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

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To respond to changes in the aviation and commercial space-transportation industries, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FAA Administrator to fully examine and document whether the current regulatory framework is appropriate for aircraft that could be considered space support vehicles, and if not, suggest legislation or develop regulatory changes, or both, as applicable.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Susan Fleming
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To determine whether CSA interventions influence motor carrier safety performance, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FMCSA Administrator to identify and implement, as appropriate, methods to evaluate the effectiveness of individual intervention types or common intervention patterns to obtain more complete, appropriate, and accurate information on the effectiveness of interventions in improving motor carrier safety performance. In identifying and implementing appropriate methods, FMCSA should incorporate accepted practices for designing program effectiveness evaluations, including practices that would enable FMCSA to more confidently attribute changes in carriers' safety behavior to CSA interventions.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To understand the efficiency of CSA interventions the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FMCSA Administrator to update FMCSA's cost estimates to determine the resources currently used to conduct individual intervention types and ensure FMCSA has cost information that is representative of all states.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To enable FMCSA management to monitor the agency's progress in achieving its effectiveness and efficiency outcomes for CSA interventions and balance priorities, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FMCSA Administrator to establish and use performance measures to regularly monitor progress toward both FMCSA's effectiveness outcome and its efficiency outcome.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Chris Currie
    Phone: (404) 679-1875

    3 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To strengthen efforts to mitigate earthquake risks to federal buildings, the Secretary of Defense and the Administrator of GSA should (1) Define what constitutes an exceptionally high risk building, identify such buildings, and develop plans to mitigate those risks, including prioritizing associated funding requests as needed; and (2) To the extent practicable, prioritize and implement comprehensive seismic safety measures which could include earthquake drills, seismic safety inspections, and non-structural retrofits to decrease risks and reduce damage in federally-owned and -leased buildings in earthquake hazard areas.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To strengthen efforts to mitigate earthquake risks to federal buildings, the Secretary of Defense and the Administrator of GSA should (1) Define what constitutes an exceptionally high risk building, identify such buildings, and develop plans to mitigate those risks, including prioritizing associated funding requests as needed; and (2) To the extent practicable, prioritize and implement comprehensive seismic safety measures which could include earthquake drills, seismic safety inspections, and non-structural retrofits to decrease risks and reduce damage in federally-owned and -leased buildings in earthquake hazard areas.

    Agency: General Services Administration
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: Following the expansion of the ShakeAlert governance structure to include key stakeholders, the Secretary of the Department of the Interior should direct the U.S. Geological Survey, working through the ShakeAlert governance structure, to establish a program management plan that addresses, among other things, the known implementation challenges.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: David C. Trimble
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    3 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To help ensure that DOE develops and uses reliable cost and schedule estimates and AOAs, the Secretary of Energy should direct Office of Environmental Management (EM) to revise its protocol governing cleanup operations activities to require use of best practices in developing cost and schedule estimates.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: DOE concurred with the recommendation. In its written comments, DOE stated that EM is transitioning from the operations activities protocol to a new directive that is expected to include a key decision approving a cost and schedule baseline. As EM develops the guidance for this key decision, it will include the use of cost and schedule best practices. In April 2017, however, EM indicated that it plans to issue a revised EM operations activities protocol in fiscal year 2017 for use in fiscal year 2018 instead of a new directive. According to an EM official, EM will include best practices for cost and schedule estimation in the revised protocol. When EM completes the revised protocol, we will evaluate the actions taken and whether the recommendation should be closed.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that DOE develops and uses reliable cost and schedule estimates and AOAs, the Secretary of Energy should direct EM to implement the recommendation made by DOE's Office of Project Management Oversight and Assessments in its independent review of the AOA for WIPP's new permanent ventilation system to perform a cost-benefit analysis consistent with best practices for conducting an AOA, or justify and document why the office does not intend to do so.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOE concurred with clarification to the recommendation. In its written comments to our report, DOE stated that in accordance with GAO best practices, it will conduct further cost-benefit analysis on the WIPP ventilation system project prior to approval of Critical Decision-2, Approve Performance Baseline. DOE stated that several alternatives remain to be evaluated including the size of the ventilation system and the location of the exhaust shaft. In March 2017, a DOE Carlsbad Field Office official overseeing the project said that the project team completed an additional analysis of alternatives (AOA) for the ventilation system project at WIPP and a revised business case for the alternative to construct a safety significant confinement ventilation system and exhaust shaft that addresses the recommendations from the Department of Energy's Office of Project Management Oversight and Assessment. After we obtain a copy of the completed AOA, we will evaluate the action taken to determine whether to close the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that DOE develops and uses reliable cost and schedule estimates and AOAs, the Secretary of Energy should direct DOE to revise its Order 413.3B to require that DOE offices implement any recommendations from an independent review of the extent to which an AOA followed best practices, or justify and document the rationale for not doing so.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOE concurred with the recommendation and in its written comments to our report stated that it will prepare a project management policy on how DOE offices should respond to recommendations from independent reviews by December 2016. In addition, DOE stated that it will update DOE Order 413.3B with the new policy at the next available opportunity. In November 2017, a DOE official from the Office of Project Management, Oversight, and Assessments (PMOA) said that PMOA developed a project management policy statement on how DOE offices should disposition recommendations from independent reviews and PMOA intended to incorporate the policy into its planned update of DOE Guide 413.3-9 Project Review Guide for Capital Asset Projects, which was to be completed by December 2016. As of April 2017, according to a DOE official, development of the updated project review guide was on hold indefinitely along with all other actions to publish new, or update existing departmental directives in response to the two Presidential Executive Orders issued in January and February 2017 that directed federal agencies to, among other things, reduce and reform agency regulations.
    Director: Dillingham, Gerald L
    Phone: (202) 512-28334

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To enhance FAA's risk-based approach for oversight of repair stations, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration to develop and implement a process in Flight Standards for incorporating into SAS the volume of critical maintenance that each U.S. airline contracts to repair stations.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: FAA did not concur with this recommendation. In July 2017, GAO confirmed that FAA does not plan to implement the recommendation because the agency believes the subjective nature of volume of work makes it an ineffective risk indicator. While FAA does not specifically assess volume of work as a primary factor in determining risk at repair stations, the agency does monitor many risks factors as primary risk indicators. Many of these risk indicators are associated with important aspects of work volume such as high workforce turnover; changes in management; rapid growth or downsizing; changes in aircraft complexity/programs; financial conditions; age of fleet and increases in aircraft discrepancies. FAA considers these factors and the criticality of a specific maintenance action on the safe operation of an aircraft to be primary risk indicators.
    Recommendation: To enhance FAA's risk-based approach for oversight of repair stations, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration to develop and implement an evaluative process with measurable performance goals and measures to determine the effectiveness of SAS as the SMS safety assurance component.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: In July 2017, GAO confirmed that FAA plans to develop overall program goals and metrics as part of the next implementation phase of its new Safety Assurance System. These metrics are expected to be fully developed based on the final design of the new system and the program requirements identified, which is scheduled to be completed in December 2017.
    Director: Fennell, Anne-marie Lasowski
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that the Corps and FEMA carry out the national leveesafety- related activities required in the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to direct the Chief of Engineers and Commanding General of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and that the Secretary of Homeland Security direct the FEMA Administrator to develop a plan, with milestones, for implementing these activities, using existing resources or requesting additional resources as needed. This plan could be posted on the Corps' website and monitored for progress.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of December 2016, GAO is awaiting action by the agency to implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that the Corps and FEMA carry out the national leveesafety- related activities required in the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to direct the Chief of Engineers and Commanding General of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and that the Secretary of Homeland Security direct the FEMA Administrator to develop a plan, with milestones, for implementing these activities, using existing resources or requesting additional resources as needed. This plan could be posted on the Corps' website and monitored for progress.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of December 2016, GAO is awaiting action by the agency to implement this recommendation.
    Director: David C. Trimble
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    6 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To improve DOE's ability to evaluate and monitor the effectiveness of policies that call for all organizations, including contractors, to embrace a strong safety culture and create a work environment that encourages a questioning attitude by all employees, the Secretary of Energy should develop and implement an independent evaluation process for routinely and accurately measuring contractor employees' willingness to raise safety and other concerns without fear of retaliation. This process should ensure that an independent third party develops, conducts, and consistently applies the evaluation methodology--which should include safeguards that protect anonymity. The process should also enable DOE to oversee and ensure that appropriate corrective actions are taken in response to evaluation results.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOE concurred with the recommendation. In December 2016, the Office of Enterprise Assessments formed a working group to address our recommendations. According to DOE, as of March 2017 the working group developed a strategy and plan to independently analyze data associated with willingness to raise concerns within contractor organizations at DOE sites with high hazard nuclear facilities. We will continue to monitor DOE's efforts to implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that the organizational placement and practices of DOE- and contractor- provided Employee Concerns Programs (ECP) do not inhibit contractor employees from raising safety and other concerns, the Secretary of Energy should revise DOE's ECP order and guidance to (1) require that the organizational placement and practices of contractor ECP's do not compromise or impair their independence, (2) clarify the circumstances under which DOE's ECP is permitted to transfer and refer concerns to contractors, and notify or require approval of the contractor employee raising the concern, and (3) provide criteria for overseeing and evaluating the effectiveness and independence of contractor-provided ECPs.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOE concurred with the recommendation. To address this recommendation, DOE planned to update DOE Order 442.1A, Department of Energy Employee Concerns Program, to (1) address the potential for conflicts of interest that could affect the independence of contractor ECPs, (2) clarify the circumstances under which an employee concern can be referred or transferred from a DOE ECP to a contractor ECP, and (3) specify that the processes already identified in DOE Order 226.1B, Implementation of Department of Energy Oversight Policy, be used as part of the oversight processes for contractor-provided ECPs, to include evaluation of their effectiveness and independence. According to DOE, the draft order was affected by a Presidential Memorandum issued in January 2017, which put a temporary stop to the DOE directives process. We will continue to monitor the status of DOE's implementation of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that Congress has the information it needs as it considers whether or not to make permanent the enhanced whistleblower pilot program and that DOE has assurance that contractor employees have an effective mechanism to seek remedy for unlawful retaliation, the Secretary of Energy should fully evaluate the extent to which the pilot program has been implemented and whether its provisions will mitigate challenges associated with DOE's 708 program. This evaluation should include, at a minimum, an assessment of (1) contractors that have adopted the pilot program and the date they did so; (2) contractors that have not adopted the pilot program and an explanation of why not; (3) cases filed under the pilot program, if any; and (4) the pilot program's potential for mitigating challenges associated with the 708 program.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOE concurred in principle with the recommendation. In response to this recommendation, the Office of Hearings and Appeals conducted a review of the Part 708 program that, according to DOE, evaluated each of the areas of concern and compared current part 708 regulations with the pilot program. We will update the status of this recommendation after we review the resulting report.
    Recommendation: To help improve DOE's ability to take enforcement action against unlawful retaliation when appropriate and take action against contractors that create a chilled work environment, the Secretary of Energy should expedite the department's time frames for codifying in regulatory language its policy that retaliation for nuclear safety-related disclosures is a nuclear safety violation and develop a specific schedule for issuing the proposed and final rules.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOE concurred with the recommendation and planned to amend its regulations to clarify which DOE regulations constitute DOE Nuclear Safety Requirements. DOD planned to expedite the schedule for this rulemaking. We will update the status of this recommendation after we confirm DOE's actions
    Recommendation: To help improve DOE's ability to take enforcement action against unlawful retaliation when appropriate and take action against contractors that create a chilled work environment, the Secretary of Energy should direct DOE's Office of Enforcement to routinely collect information from the Department of Labor and other sources regarding substantiated cases of retaliation and take appropriate enforcement action.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to DOE, the Office of Enforcement has revised its internal implementing procedure to require that a review of DOE Office of Hearings and Appeals whistleblower cases, Department of Labor complaints submitted under the Energy Reorganization Act, and an online legal research service (for court decisions) be conducted each quarter to identify cases wherein a DOE contractor may have retaliated against an employee for reporting a safety concern and evaluate the information for potential enforcement action. We will update the status of this recommendation after we review the updated procedure.
    Recommendation: To help improve DOE's ability to take enforcement action against unlawful retaliation when appropriate and take action against contractors that create a chilled work environment, the Secretary of Energy should revise DOE's Integrated Safety Management policy and guidance to clarify what constitutes evidence of a chilled work environment and define the appropriate steps DOE should take to hold contractors accountable for creating a chilled work environment.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: DOE concurred with the recommendation. DOE officials said that the department was revising the Integrated Safety Management policy but the revisions are currently on hold indefinitely along with all other actions to publish new, or update existing departmental directives in response to two Presidential Executive Orders issued in January and February 2017 that directed federal agencies to, among other things, reduce and reform agency regulations.
    Director: Susan Fleming
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    5 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To promote the transition to improved crash test standards, to strengthen FHWA's oversight of the roadside safety hardware's crash-testing process, and to make more information available to states and industry on how roadside safety hardware performs in actual conditions, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator of FHWA to direct FHWA's division offices to help ensure, through their oversight of states' standards and design specifications, that states have written policies in place to require the installation of appropriately crash-tested roadside safety hardware on the National Highway System to address inconsistent practices across states.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOT concurred with this recommendation and stated that FHWA will review existing state policies and procedures regarding the installation of appropriately crash-tested roadside safety hardware on the National Highway System and complete this review by July 2017. Based on these findings, DOT stated that FHWA will, by December 2017, direct its division offices to work with state Departments of Transportation to modify or improve state DOT written policies as appropriate.
    Recommendation: To promote the transition to improved crash test standards, to strengthen FHWA's oversight of the roadside safety hardware's crash-testing process, and to make more information available to states and industry on how roadside safety hardware performs in actual conditions, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator of FHWA to monitor and periodically report to Congress (or report through the agency's publicly available website) progress states and the industry are making in transitioning to the MASH crash-testing standards for roadside safety hardware.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOT concurred with this recommendation and stated FHWA will collect information on states' progress in implementing a policy to use MASH-tested hardware and post this information on FHWA's website. DOT also stated that FHWA will coordinate with the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials to monitor the progress of the MASH transition and to have this monitoring process in place by July 2017.
    Recommendation: To promote the transition to improved crash test standards, to strengthen FHWA's oversight of the roadside safety hardware's crash-testing process, and to make more information available to states and industry on how roadside safety hardware performs in actual conditions, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator of FHWA to provide additional guidance to crash test labs and accreditation bodies to ensure that labs have a clear separation between device development and testing in cases where lab employees test devices that were developed within their parent organization.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOT concurred with this recommendation and stated that FHWA will conduct outreach to determine how conflicts of interest are viewed and addressed by labs and by the accrediting bodies. FHWA will also determine how to most effectively provide any additional guidance on mitigating potential these conflicts within its current legal authority. DOT stated FHWA will complete this outreach by June 2017 and issue additional guidance communicating FHWA's expectations by December 2017.
    Recommendation: To promote the transition to improved crash test standards, to strengthen FHWA's oversight of the roadside safety hardware's crash-testing process, and to make more information available to states and industry on how roadside safety hardware performs in actual conditions, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator of FHWA to develop a process for third-party verification of results from crash-test labs.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOT concurred with this recommendation and stated that FHWA will conduct outreach to identify potential processes for third party review of results from crash labs. DOT stated FHWA will complete this outreach by July 2017.
    Recommendation: To promote the transition to improved crash test standards, to strengthen FHWA's oversight of the roadside safety hardware's crash-testing process, and to make more information available to states and industry on how roadside safety hardware performs in actual conditions, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator of FHWA to support additional research and disseminate results on roadside safety hardware's in-service performance, either as part of future phases of FHWA's current pilot study on guardrail end terminals' performance or as part of FHWA's broader research portfolio.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOT concurred with this recommendation and stated that FHWA is conducting a pilot effort to establish a protocol for the collection of data from crashes involving guardrail terminals, and that this pilot will be completed by November 2018. In addition, DOT stated that FHWA continues to support additional research through the National Research Council and the National Cooperative Highway Research Program.
    Director: Marcia Crosse
    Phone: (202) 512-7114

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: In order to improve FDA's strategic planning for regulatory science efforts, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Commissioner of FDA to develop and document measurable goals, such as targets and time frames, for its regulatory science efforts so it can consistently assess and report on the agency's progress in regulatory science efforts.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: On 9/6/16, FDA provided an update on its actions to address this recommendation. FDA concurred with the recommendation and reiterated that it plans to identify opportunities for setting measurable goals related to regulatory science. The agency indicated that it would provide an update by 3/6/17.
    Recommendation: In order to improve FDA's strategic planning for regulatory science efforts, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Commissioner of FDA to systematically track funding of regulatory science projects across each of its priority areas.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: On 9/6/16, FDA provided an update on its actions to address this recommendation. FDA concurred with the recommendation and reiterated that it is identifying mechanisms to improve its tracking of funding across the priority areas. The agency indicated that it would provide an update by 3/6/17.
    Director: Cindy Brown Barnes
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To strengthen DOL's efforts to ensure employers protect the safety and health of workers at meat and poultry plants, the Secretary of Labor should direct the Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health, working together with the Commissioner of Labor Statistics as appropriate, to develop and implement a cost-effective method for gathering more complete data on musculoskeletal disorders.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOL generally agreed with this recommendation and stated that its implementation would make a difference in working conditions in the meat and poultry industry. The agency also noted that resource constraints may make it difficult to implement.
    Recommendation: To develop a better understanding of meat and poultry sanitation workers' injuries and illnesses, the Secretary of Labor should direct the Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health and the Commissioner of Labor Statistics to study how they could regularly gather data on injury and illness rates among sanitation workers in the meat and poultry industry.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOL generally agreed with this recommendation and stated that its implementation would make a difference in working conditions in the meat and poultry industry. The agency also noted that resource constraints may make it difficult to implement.
    Recommendation: To develop a better understanding of meat and poultry sanitation workers' injuries and illnesses, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to have the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) conduct a study of the injuries and illnesses these workers experience, including their causes and how they are reported. Given the challenges to gaining access to this population, NIOSH may want to coordinate with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to develop ways to initiate this study.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: HHS concurred with this recommendation and noted the previous difficulties NIOSH has had gaining access to these workplaces and the potential resource commitment involved in conducting such a study. We acknowledge this access challenge and noted in our report that OSHA has negotiated access for NIOSH in other industries, hence the rationale for recommending that NIOSH may want to coordinate with OSHA. The agency reported that it would reach out to stakeholders, such as worker unions, USDA and OSHA, to discuss the range of types of study that could be conducted to provide useful information. GAO will await the progress of this effort and close the recommendation when the agency initiates a study.
    Director: David J. Wise
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    1 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To enhance the agency's ability to effectively respond in the event of a real-world vehicle cyberattack, the Secretary of Transportation should direct NHTSA to work expeditiously to finish defining and then to document the agency's roles and responsibilities in response to a vehicle cyberattack involving safety-critical systems, including how NHTSA would coordinate with other federal agencies and stakeholders involved in the response.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: As of May 2017, DOT had taken steps to address our recommendation, defining NHTSA's roles and responsibilities to address cybersecurity incidents that involve automotive safety critical systems under its existing processes and authorities. NHTSA also recognized the need to coordinate with other entities, including other federal agencies. However, NHTSA expects that it will need to update and improve its response and coordination plan based on new learning, experience, executive orders, and federal guidance. In addition, NHTSA plans to conduct a pilot program in fiscal year 2018 to determine whether adjustments to its current processes need to be made in light of the Department of Homeland Security's National Cyber Incident Response Plan.
    Director: Melissa Emrey-Arras
    Phone: (617) 788-0534

    4 open recommendations
    including 2 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To support the collection of complete and accurate safety and health information on the condition of BIE school facilities nationally, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs to ensure that all BIE schools are annually inspected for safety and health, as required by its policy, and that inspection information is complete and accurate. This could include: (1) Analyzing the key challenges to ensuring that all BIE schools are inspected, as well as implementing a plan to mitigate those challenges. (2) In the interim, prioritizing inspections at schools where facility conditions may pose a greater risk to students--such as schools with dormitories or those that have not been recently inspected.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In September 2016, Indian Affairs reported that it had completed annual safety inspections at all BIE school locations for the first time in at least 15 years. In late August 2017, officials reported that Indian Affairs was on course to complete all inspections in 2017 but did not provide documentation on its progress. Further, Indian Affairs stated that it understands the need to ensure that completing school inspections does not detract from inspection quality. However, as of August 2017 we had not received documentation that the agency had taken steps to ensure that its safety personnel collect inspection information that is complete and accurate. We believe the steps Indian Affairs has taken to prioritize the completion of safety inspections at all BIE schools are important ones. However, we believe it is also important that the agency take specific steps to ensure that the inspection information it collects is complete and accurate. Without complete and accurate information, BIE schools may not have the information they need on potential safety hazards, which may endanger students and staff. We will continue to monitor Indian Affairs' efforts to implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To support the collection of complete and accurate safety and health information on the condition of BIE school facilities nationally, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs to revise its inspection guidance and tools to ensure that they are comprehensive and up-to-date; require that regional safety inspectors use them to ensure all vital areas are covered, such as school fire protection; and monitor safety inspectors' use of procedures and tools across regions to ensure they are consistently adopted.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: In June 2016, Indian Affairs implemented new comprehensive guidelines for safety and health inspections and testing and maintaining fire prevention systems. The guidelines, which we reviewed, detail specific inspection procedures which all relevant safety personnel are required to follow. Indian Affairs provided training in May and June of 2017 to relevant staff on using the guidelines. According to the guidelines, Indian Affairs' safety office is required to monitor safety staff compliance with the new inspection procedures. We believe these are important steps to ensuring that regional inspectors have clear procedures in place for conducting BIE school inspections. However, Indian Affairs has not provided us with documentation, such as a plan, for how its safety office will monitor inspections to ensure procedures are consistently followed by inspectors across regions. For example, such monitoring could help ensure that all inspectors conduct a close out meeting with relevant school staff at the conclusion of an on-site safety inspection. We believe such monitoring is important to ensure that the practices of its safety inspectors consistently align with its procedures and result in inspection information that is complete and accurate. We will continue to monitor Indian Affairs' efforts to implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that all BIE schools are positioned to address safety and health problems with their facilities and provide student environments that are free from hazards, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs to develop a plan to build schools' capacity to promptly address safety and health problems with facilities. Such a plan could prioritize assistance to schools to improve the expertise of facility staff to maintain and repair school buildings.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: Interior agreed with this recommendation. As of late August 2017, Indian Affairs had not provided us any documentation that it had taken steps to implement our recommendation. We will continue to monitor Indian Affairs' efforts to implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that all BIE schools are positioned to address safety and health problems with their facilities and provide student environments that are free from hazards, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs to consistently monitor whether schools have established required safety committees.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: In July 2017, Indian Affairs officials told us that they are developing a system that would enable them to monitor whether schools have established required safety committees. They also noted that Indian Affairs' new inspection procedures require that inspectors check to see if schools have established safety committees. Finally, the BIE Director reported that he would send a memorandum to all BIE schools reminding them about Indian Affairs' requirement to establish safety committees. We will review and evaluate Indian Affairs' actions when the agency has provided us with supporting documentation.
    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: Marcia Crosse
    Phone: (202) 512-7114

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the data on tracked safety issues and postmarket studies that are needed for required reporting and for systematic oversight of postmarket drug safety, the Secretary of HHS should direct the Commissioner of FDA to develop comprehensive plans, with goals and time frames, to help ensure that identified problems with the completeness, timeliness, and accuracy of information in its database on tracked safety issues and postmarket studies are corrected.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: FDA has started taking steps to help ensure that identified problems with its data on tracked safety issues and postmarket studies are corrected. For example, FDA plans to conduct an assessment of tracked safety data by 2022 and is developing a quality measurement plan that will include periodic audits of postmarket study data. However, as of August 2017, FDA has not provided specifics regarding what types of actions it will take once these assessments and audits are completed, including goals and time frames for when these actions will be completed. GAO is keeping this recommendation open until FDA provides information on how it will address issues identified in its assessments and audits and the time frames for doing so.
    Recommendation: To improve the data on tracked safety issues and postmarket studies that are needed for required reporting and for systematic oversight of postmarket drug safety, the Secretary of HHS should direct the Commissioner of FDA to work with stakeholders within FDA to identify additional improvements that could be made to FDA's current database or future information technology investments to capture information in a form that can be easily and systematically used by staff for oversight purposes.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: FDA has identified actions that could potentially improve FDA's process for overseeing tracked safety issues, but as of August 2017, FDA has not indicated that stakeholder input has been solicited specifically regarding improvements to FDA's IT systems that would facilitate systematic oversight of these issues. FDA may address this as part of a planned assessment of its data system that is not scheduled to be completed until FY 2022. For postmarket studies, FDA has indicated that it intends to formally assess the IT needs of users once it has transferred postmarket data to its new informatics platform, which will not occur until 2018 at the earliest. GAO is keeping this recommendation open until FDA has worked with stakeholders to identify improvements to FDA's IT systems to capture information in a form that can be used by staff for oversight purposes.
    Director: Cary B. Russell
    Phone: (202) 512-5431

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that DOD effectively evaluates the safety performance of carriers entrusted to transport security-sensitive materials in the Transportation Protective Services (TPS) program, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, in collaboration with the U.S. Transportation Command to update TPS program guidance to clarify (1) how to address carriers with absent or dated Safety Ratings and poor Safety Measurement System scores, and (2) what specific actions should be taken when carriers do not meet program requirements.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that DOD effectively evaluates the safety performance of carriers entrusted to transport security-sensitive materials in the Transportation Protective Services (TPS) program, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, in collaboration with the U.S. Transportation Command to establish and document an approach for conducting reviews of available violation data, such as analyzing violations incurred while transporting TPS shipments.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve DOD's ability to identify and effectively mitigate public safety risks of TPS carriers transporting security-sensitive materials, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, in collaboration with the DOD Explosives Safety Board, the U.S. Transportation Command, the Surface Deployment and Distribution Command, and the Army Headquarters Safety Office, to develop department-wide guidance requiring the evaluation of the Defense Transportation Tracking System TPS carrier incident data to identify trends and patterns that could suggest systemic weaknesses such as mechanical breakdowns or unusual delays that represent a heightened potential public safety risk and take action to address any identified weaknesses.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to TRANSCOM officials during our visit on April 2016--they are working on implementing these actions with a goal of completing them in Fall 2017.
    Recommendation: To improve DOD's ability to identify and effectively mitigate public safety risks of TPS carriers transporting security-sensitive materials, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, in collaboration with the DOD Explosives Safety Board, the U.S. Transportation Command, the Surface Deployment and Distribution Command, and the Army Headquarters Safety Office, to develop department-wide guidance requiring the identification and full investigation of TPS carrier incidents, including mishaps and near misses involving security-sensitive shipments, to determine potential root causes and identify corrective actions that could mitigate the recurrence of the mishap or the potential for more significant ones.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to TRANSCOM officials during our visit on April 2016--they are working on implementing these actions with a goal of completing them in Fall 2017.
    Director: Mark L. Goldstein
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the accountability and transparency of FirstNet's operations, and ensure that FirstNet is gaining as much knowledge from the early builder projects as possible, FirstNet should strengthen FirstNet's internal control system by fully assessing risks, developing standards of conduct, and evaluating performance against these standards.

    Agency: Department of Commerce: National Telecommunications and Information Administration: First Responder Network Authority
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: J. Alfredo Gómez
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    1 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To help ensure the safety of food imported into the United States, the Commissioner of Food and Drugs should complete an analysis to determine the annual number of foreign food inspections that is sufficient to ensure comparable safety of imported and domestic food. If the inspection numbers from that evaluation are different from the inspection targets mandated in FSMA, FDA should report the results to Congress and recommend appropriate legislative changes.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Food and Drug Administration
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In January 2015, we recommended that the Commissioner of FDA complete an analysis to determine the annual number of foreign food inspections that is sufficient to ensure comparable safety of imported and domestic food. Additionally, if the inspection numbers from that analysis are different from the inspection targets mandated in the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), FDA should report the results to Congress and recommend appropriate legislative changes. At the time of our report, FDA was not keeping pace with FSMA's mandate to increase inspections each year from 2011 through 2016. In April 2017, FDA indicated that that it does not anticipate going significantly beyond 1,200 foreign food facilities inspections per year, based on the amount of additional funding needed to meet the foreign inspection requirement of FSMA. However, FDA has not conducted an analysis to determine whether the increased number of inspections mandated by FSMA or the lower number of inspections it is currently conducting is sufficient to ensure comparable safety of imported and domestic food. FDA noted that, in January 2017, it began an analysis to define and describe the global inventory of human and animal food firms and examine the application of regulatory oversight tools across the inventory. According to FDA, the analysis will help it assess the annual number of foreign food facility inspections as part of an overall risk-based allocation of resources for ensuring that imported foods are produced in a manner the meets applicable U.S. safety standards. We continue to believe that FDA should complete such an analysis and report the results to Congress.
    Director: Alicia Puente Cackley
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To achieve greater efficiency and effectiveness, Congress should consider transferring the oversight of the markings of toy and imitation firearms in 15 U.S.C. 5001 from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (within the Department of Commerce) to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: This matter is an action identified in GAO's annual Duplication and Cost Savings reports. There has been no legislative action identified. The Gun Look-Alike Case Act, H.R. 3224, which was introduced on July 27, 2015, in the 114th Congress, would transfer the authority to regulate the markings of toy, look-alike, and imitation firearms in section 5001 of title 15 of the U.S. Code from NIST to CPSC, as GAO suggested in November 2014. This bill was referred to the Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade of the Committee on Energy and Commerce in the United States House of Representatives, and did not pass out of committee. As of March 1, 2017, the bill has not been reintroduced in the 115th Congress.
    Recommendation: To improve existing coordination of oversight for consumer product safety, Congress should consider establishing a formal comprehensive oversight mechanism for consumer product safety agencies to address crosscutting issues as well as inefficiencies related to fragmentation and overlap such as communication and coordination challenges and jurisdictional questions between agencies. Different types of formal mechanisms could include, for example, creating a memorandum of understanding to formalize relationships and agreements or establishing a task force or interagency work group. As a starting point, Congress may wish to obtain agency input on options for establishing more formal coordination.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: This matter is an action identified in GAO's annual Duplication and Cost Savings reports. There has been no legislative action identified. No legislation was introduced as of March 1, 2017, that would establish a collaborative mechanism to facilitate communication across the relevant agencies and to help enable them to collectively address crosscutting issues, as GAO suggested in November 2014. Some of the agencies with direct regulatory oversight responsibilities for consumer product safety reported that they continue to collaborate to address specific consumer product safety topics. However, without a formal comprehensive oversight mechanism, the agencies risk missing opportunities to better leverage resources and address challenges, including those related to fragmentation and overlap.
    Director: Susan Fleming
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    1 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To address the increased risk posed by new gathering pipeline construction in shale development areas, the Secretary of Transportation, in conjunction with the Administrator of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, should move forward with a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to address gathering pipeline safety that addresses the risks of larger-diameter, higher-pressure gathering pipelines, including subjecting such pipelines to emergency response planning requirements that currently do not apply.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: PHMSA has drafted proposed regulations for both gas and hazardous liquid gathering pipelines. Specifically, PHMSA published Notices of Proposed Rulemaking to separately address safety issues associated with hazardous liquid gathering pipelines in October 2015 and gas gathering pipelines in April 2016. These proposed regulations partly address our recommendation by proposing new rules to address risks posed by new gathering pipeline construction, but do not fully address our recommendation to subject these pipelines to emergency response planning requirements, particularly for hazardous liquid pipelines. As of October 2016, PHMSA has determined that it needs one year's worth of data before it can begin assessing what regulations are needed to fully address the risks of hazardous liquid pipelines.
    Director: Fleming, Susan A
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    2 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To improve the CSA program, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FMCSA Administrator to revise the SMS methodology to better account for limitations in drawing comparisons of safety performance information across carriers; in doing so, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FMCSA Administrator to conduct a formal analysis that specifically identifies: (1) limitations in the data used to calculate SMS scores including variability in the carrier population and the quality and quantity of data available for carrier safety performance assessments, and (2) limitations in the resulting SMS scores including their precision, confidence, and reliability for the purposes for which they are used.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: As of October 2016, FMCSA continues to maintain that they do not agree with our methodology or conclusions. While FMCSA's position about our specific recommendation is unchanged, FMCSA noted that Section 5221 of the FAST Act directed the National Academies of Science (NAS) to conduct a safety correlation study of the CSA program, and specifically FMCSA's Safety Measurement System's (SMS) methodology. FMCSA stated that if the outcome of the NAS study results in recommendations for SMS changes, they will address those recommendations accordingly. We continue to believe this recommendation has merit and could help the agency better target FMCSA's resources to the carriers that pose the highest risk of crashing, as we demonstrate in our report. For example, we reported that FMCSA requires a minimum level of information for a carrier to receive an SMS score; however, this requirement is not strong enough to produce sufficiently reliable scores. As a result, GAO found that FMCSA identified many carriers as high risk that were not later involved in a crash, potentially causing FMCSA to miss opportunities to intervene with carriers that were involved in crashes. FMCSA's methodology is limited because of insufficient information, which reduces the precision of SMS scores. GAO found that by scoring only carriers with more information, FMCSA could better identify high risk carriers likely to be involved in crashes. This illustrative approach involves trade-offs; it would assign SMS scores to fewer carriers, but these scores would generally be more reliable and thus more useful in targeting FMCSA's scarce resources.
    Recommendation: To improve the CSA program, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FMCSA Administrator to ensure that any determination of a carrier's fitness to operate properly accounts for limitations we have identified regarding safety performance information.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: While FMCSA does not agree with our methodology or conclusions, we believe this recommendation has merit and could help the agency better target FMCSA's resources to the carriers that pose the highest risk of crashing, as we demonstrate in our report. For example, we reported that FMCSA requires a minimum level of information for a carrier to receive an SMS score; however, this requirement is not strong enough to produce sufficiently reliable scores. As a result, GAO found that FMCSA identified many carriers as high risk that were not later involved in a crash, potentially causing FMCSA to miss opportunities to intervene with carriers that were involved in crashes. FMCSA's methodology is limited because of insufficient information, which reduces the precision of SMS scores. GAO found that by scoring only carriers with more information, FMCSA could better identify high risk carriers likely to be involved in crashes. This illustrative approach involves trade-offs; it would assign SMS scores to fewer carriers, but these scores would generally be more reliable and thus more useful in targeting FMCSA's scarce resources.
    Director: Fennell, Anne-marie Lasowski
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To enhance the overall sustainability of the Forest Service's trail system, consistent with the vision articulated in A Framework for Sustainable Recreation, and to reduce the trail maintenance backlog, the Secretary of Agriculture should direct the Chief of the Forest Service to take several actions to improve the agency's trail maintenance approach in both the short and long terms. To improve the agency's ability to keep up with its maintenance goals in the short term and reduce its maintenance backlog, the agency should, recognizing the importance of volunteers for trail maintenance, take steps to improve management of volunteers, including by ensuring that collaboration with and management of volunteers are clear expectations of trails staff and offering relevant training.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Forest Service reported that it has taken and continues to take steps to improve management of volunteers. In particular, the agency has taken steps to reduce barriers to volunteering, such as its fiscal year 2014 implementation of a revised approach to funding volunteer worker's compensation costs from a national funding pool rather than allocating funds locally. In addition, the December 2016 national trail strategy identifies some additional key actions, such as developing and providing efficiency tools to support active partnering. The Forest Service also reported that it is developing training materials that address volunteer and partnership program management skills. The Forest Service has not, however, taken steps to ensure that collaboration with and management of volunteers are clear expectations of trails staff.
    Director: Goldstein, Mark L
    Phone: (202)512-6670

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: In order to provide the Congress and federal and state officials with an accurate assessment of the progress being made toward the goal of full deployment of wireless E911, the Department of Transportation should work with state-level E911 officials, the National Emergency Number Association, and other public safety groups to determine which public safety answering points will need to have their equipment upgraded. This information should then be reflected in the PSAP database managed by NENA under contract with DOT. This will provide the baseline needed to measure progress toward the goal of full nationwide deployment of wireless E911 service.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: GAO has made several attempts to contact DOT to update the status of this recommendation and are awaiting a reply.