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As of January 31, 2023, there are 4842 open recommendations that still need to be addressed. 473 of these are priority recommendations, those that we believe warrant priority attention. Learn more about our priority designation on our Recommendations page.

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1 - 7 of 7 Recommendations, including 2 Priority Recommendations

COVID-19: Additional Actions Needed to Improve Accountability and Program Effectiveness of Federal Response

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1 Open Recommendations
1 Priority
Agency Recommendation Status
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
The Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health should assess?as soon as feasible and, as appropriate, periodically thereafter?various challenges related to resources and to communication and guidance that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has faced in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic and should take related actions as warranted. See the Worker Safety and Health enclosure. (Recommendation 14)
Open

The Department of Labor (DOL) partially agreed with our recommendation. In September 2021, DOL stated that it agreed that it is important to assess lessons learned and best practices for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) operational response to COVID-19. However, DOL officials said they believed that while the pandemic is ongoing, the agency's resources are best used to help employers and workers mitigate exposures to COVID-19. In December 2021, OSHA officials said they planned to conduct an assessment as soon as feasible, with a team of national office and field

COVID-19: Sustained Federal Action Is Crucial as Pandemic Enters Its Second Year

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1 Open Recommendations
Agency Recommendation Status
Occupational Safety and Health Administration The Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health should work with the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to develop a process for sharing information to facilitate decision-making and guidance consistency related to devices with emergency use authorization. See Emergency Use Authorizations for Medical Devices enclosure. (Recommendation 9)
Open – Partially Addressed

The Department of Labor (DOL) concurred with the recommendation, and in March 2021 commented that DOL's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will work with Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to address issues. In April 2021, OSHA, FDA, and CDC's National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health met to discuss establishing a Memorandum of Understanding for sharing information related to emergency use authorizations. In March 2022, OSHA reported that the three agencies are working to finalize this Memorandum of

Workplace Safety and Health: Actions Needed to Improve Reporting of Summary Injury and Illness Data

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1 Open Recommendations
1 Priority
Agency Recommendation Status
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
The Secretary of Labor should evaluate OSHA's current procedures for ensuring that employers electronically report their annual 300A injury and illness data to OSHA when required and implement a plan to remediate identified deficiencies. This should include its efforts related to: (1) encouraging employers to comply with the 300A reporting requirement; and (2) citing employers for non-compliance with this reporting requirement. (Recommendation 1)
Open

OSHA continues to take steps to encourage employers required to submit 300A injury and illness data to do so, and to address non-compliance when employers do not. However, it is not clear the extent to which these current and planned actions will substantially result in OSHA receiving these data. As we described in our report, OSHA is less likely to inspect employers who do not report 300A data. As a result, employers with the highest injury and illness rates have an incentive to avoid reporting 300A data. We suggested that OSHA evaluate other possible procedures for issuing citations that do

Defense Contracting: Enhanced Information Needed on Contractor Workplace Safety

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1 Open Recommendations
Agency Recommendation Status
Occupational Safety and Health Administration The Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health should explore the feasibility of requiring a corporate identification number in its inspection database and enabling its website to be searched by that number. This should include exploring the following issues: (1) which corporate identification number would be most appropriate to require; (2) options for obtaining this number from employers; and (3) options for entering this number in its database that would prevent or minimize delays in closing inspection records. (Recommendation 1)
Open

In May 2019, OSHA issued a memo directing staff to make every reasonable effort to collect Employer Identification Numbers or Tax Identification Numbers during inspections and enter them into the inspection database. OSHA also reported that, in June 2020, it provided training to Department of Defense procurement officers on using OSHA's website to find violations and severe injury reports. However, as of July 2021, OSHA had not taken steps to explore the feasibility of requiring a corporate identification number in its inspection database and enabling its website to be searched by that number.

Workplace Safety and Health: Better Outreach, Collaboration, and Information Needed to Help Protect Workers at Meat and Poultry Plants

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3 Open Recommendations
Agency Recommendation Status
Occupational Safety and Health Administration The Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health should take additional steps to encourage workers to disclose sensitive concerns during OSHA inspections of meat and poultry plants; for example, by considering additional off-site interviews or exploring other options to obtain information anonymously. (Recommendation 1)
Open

OSHA stated that it agrees that workers should be able to report injuries, illnesses, and hazards free of intimidation. OSHA noted that its Field Operations Manual prescribes procedures for facilitating the free and open exchange of information, such as conducting onsite worker interviews without management present. OSHA further stated that when workers indicate interest in offsite interviews, the agency will conduct those interviews as prescribed by the Field Operations Manual. We note in our report that because inspectors inform plant management which workers they want to speak with

Occupational Safety and Health Administration The Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health should gather more information, such as by asking workers during meat and poultry plant inspections, to determine the extent to which bathroom access is a problem and how to address any identified issues. (Recommendation 2)
Open – Partially Addressed

OSHA stated that meat and poultry workers should have bathroom access as prescribed by the agency's regulations. They noted that if it is observed that processes indicate lack of bathroom access, or if a worker indicates there is an issue, the agency will investigate. Our report identified a mismatch between the concerns we heard from workers about lack of bathroom access and the problems reported by OSHA. We also reported that workers may not volunteer information about lack of bathroom access unless specifically asked. OSHA may choose to address this issue without routinely asking workers

Occupational Safety and Health Administration The Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health should update its guidance for employers on how to manage their health units to address the challenges of managing these units. (Recommendation 3)
Open – Partially Addressed

In 2022, DOL reported that OSHA staff have been deeply involved in the COVID response and concurrences for the draft guidance from all necessary OSHA units were not completed until early FY 2022. The document is currently in internal clearance with an expected finalization date by the end of calendar year 2022. We will consider closing this recommendation when this effort is complete.

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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.