Federal workers' compensation costs exceeded $1.5 billion in 2004, with approximately 148,000 new claims filed that year. Because of concerns for the safety of federal workers, as well as the costs associated with unsafe workplaces, GAO described the characteristics of federal agencies' safety programs and the implementation challenges they face, and assessed how well the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) oversees and assists federal agencies' efforts to develop and administer their safety programs.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Department of Labor||1. The Secretary of Labor should direct OSHA to develop a targeted inspection program for federal worksites based on the new worker injury and illness data federal agencies are required to collect by requiring that relevant portions or summaries of that data be included in agencies' annual reports to OSHA or by obtaining the data from agencies or worksites through periodic, selected surveys.|
|Department of Labor||2. The Secretary of Labor should direct OSHA to track violations disputed by federal agencies to their resolution and ensure that unresolved disputes are reported to the President.|
|Department of Labor||3. The Secretary of Labor should direct OSHA to conduct evaluations of the largest and most hazardous federal agencies as required.|
|Department of Labor||4. The Secretary of Labor should direct OSHA to use evaluations, inspection data, and annual reports submitted by federal agencies to assess the effectiveness of their safety programs, and include, in OSHA's annual report to the President, an assessment of each agency's worker safety program and recommendations for improvement.|