Protecting Workers’ Safety and Health

caution_sign_300_DPIThe unofficial end of summer, Labor Day is a holiday for celebrating the economic and social contributions of the American worker. It’s also a good time to think about protecting those workers from occupational hazards. We have many federal safety and health standards to protect workers at more than 8 million U.S. worksites, but accidents at worksites are not uncommon. For example, in an 18-month period from 2006 to 2008, a dozen workers died on construction sites in Las Vegas, Nevada, and in 2013, a tragic explosion at a fertilizer storage and distribution facility in Texas killed and injured 14 people.

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Excerpted from GAO-14-274

Federal and state agencies face many challenges in protecting the safety and health of the 130 million public and private sector workers across the nation. We have recommended a number of ways in which agencies can improve in this area.

Our reports on worker protection:

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Excerpted from GAO-14-286

Our reports provide recommendations that can inform federal and state agency efforts to better keep our nation’s workers safe from workplace injuries and fatalities.


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It’s Hurricane Season—Informing Federal Disaster Management

weatherHurricane season is well under way, and we’re highlighting some of our reports and resources that can help inform federal disaster management in events such as hurricanes.

2014’s first named storm, Hurricane Arthur, has already found a place in the record books. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Weather Service, July 3rd—when Hurricane Arthur made landfall in North Carolina—is the earliest recorded date for a hurricane to hit North Carolina. Continue reading

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Podcast on Education of Homeless Students

GAO Podcast IconIn the 2011 to 2012 school year, there were more than 1 million homeless students in the United States. The Department of Education established a grant program to help homeless students gain access to public education.

Hear our podcast with Kay Brown, a director in GAO’s Education Workforce and Income Security team, who led a recent look at oversight and implementation of the program.

 

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Partnering Strategies for Arts and Cultural Organizations

To mark Art Appreciation Month, we’re highlighting a report that reviewed congressionally-chartered organizations, and identified some strategies that arts and cultural organizations have used to leverage non-federal resources.  In June 2013, we reported on how a few of these organizations—including the Smithsonian and the National Gallery of Art—used partnering to: Continue reading

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GAO’s Financial Markets and Community Investment Team

housing thumbnailGAO’s workforce is generally organized into 14 mission teams. Today we’ll be putting the spotlight on the Financial Markets and Community Investment (FMCI) team. FMCI supports Congress by helping ensure the effectiveness of regulatory oversight in financial and housing markets, and assessing the effectiveness of federal initiatives aimed at small businesses, state and local governments, and communities. Continue reading

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What Exactly are “Improper Payments”?

thumbnail_auditingImproper payments are always an area of concern for the federal government. These include overpayments, underpayments, payments made to ineligible recipients, or even payments that weren’t properly documented. While fraudulent payments are considered improper, not all improper payments are the result of fraud. For example, improper payments can be a result of mismanagement, errors, or fraud and abuse. For fiscal year 2013, federal agencies reported nearly $106 billion in estimated improper payments. While we don’t determine amounts of improper payments by cause, we do highlight areas of concern and make recommendations for reducing many types of improper payments, both at specific agencies and government-wide. Continue reading

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GAO’s Internship Experience

gao1As summer’s barbecues and beach days wind down, so do the experiences of a select group of graduate and undergraduate students in GAO’s Student Intern Program. We talked to some of them about their experiences. Continue reading

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Mixed News for U.S. Airline Consumer Choice

Have you flown recently? You might feel like your options are more limited because of trends in air service and recent airline mergers. But do you really have fewer airlines to choose from? In the last several months, GAO has reported on changes in the airline industry and their implications for consumers and communities. Continue reading

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AskGAOLive: Retirement Security

webchat_iconWith a multitude of savings options available, from IRAs to managed 401(k) accounts, ensuring you will have the money you need for your retirement can be a complex task. Join us for a live web chat on retirement security trends and issues Monday, August 4, 2014, at 2:00 pm ET.

You can send us your questions in advance via email or on Twitter using #AskGAOLive, and then tune in to the web chat for answers. Continue reading

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GAO Reports That Help Protect Vulnerable Elders

thumbnail retirement securityNews stories about older adults whose trusted family members or other caretakers deny them food and water, leave them to live under deplorable conditions, or physically and psychologically abuse them are all too common.  Neglect and abuse can often go hand in hand with financial exploitation, which can rob older adults of the life savings and property they count on to support them in old age. Continue reading

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