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Audit Reports

Date

Program and Data Limitations Impede the Effectiveness of FAA’s Hazardous Materials Voluntary Disclosure Reporting Program

Requested By
Self-initiated
Project ID
AV2015034
File Attachment

Transporting hazardous materials by air can present serious safety risks, including the risk of combustible materials igniting or exploding on an aircraft. To promote safety and incentivize carriers to comply with hazardous materials regulations, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) established the Hazardous Materials Voluntary Disclosure Reporting Program (HM VDRP) in 2006, which allows air carriers to voluntarily disclose hazardous materials safety violations without penalty. However, FAA does not have an adequate framework to carry out the HM VDRP effectively. Specifically, FAA lacks sufficient internal controls, including oversight, training, and guidance, to ensure that air carriers have implemented effective corrective fixes that will prevent hazardous materials violations from recurring. In addition, FAA does not use HM VDRP data to identify safety risks. While the overall number of HM VDRP cases is small, FAA is missing opportunities to combine HM VDRP data with data from other sources, such as compliance inspections, to identify trends that could impact safety. We made nine recommendations to improve FAA’s HM VDRP framework, oversight, and use of data for identifying safety trends. FAA concurred with eight recommendations and partially concurred with one. Based on FAA’s response, we have requested additional information, including planned actions and timeframes, for five recommendations.

Recommendations

Closed on
No. 1 to FAA
Require air carriers to provide FAA with sufficient evidence of completion of corrective actions and self-audits.
Closed on
No. 2 to FAA
Close Hazardous Materials Voluntary Disclosure Reporting Program cases only after air carriers provide evidence of completion of corrective actions and self-audits.
Closed on
No. 3 to FAA
Clarify how Hazardous Materials Voluntary Disclosure Reporting Program requirements are to be met, such as defining what constitutes serious violations and determining under what circumstances repeat violations could be accepted.
Closed on
No. 4 to FAA
Provide training to the FAA Regions on Hazardous Materials Voluntary Disclosure Reporting Program requirements or policies.
Closed on
No. 5 to FAA
Verify that FAA Regions consistently meet the requirements of the Hazardous Materials Voluntary Disclosure Reporting Program.
Closed on
No. 6 to FAA
Require Regions to enter data from Hazardous Materials Voluntary Disclosure Reporting Program cases into the Aviation Hazmat Portal database.
Closed on
No. 7 to FAA
Verify that FAA Regions record detailed information on voluntary disclosure cases into the Aviation Hazmat Portal database .
Closed on
No. 8 to FAA
Develop an automated system, such as a Web site, to allow air carriers to report potential violations under the Hazardous Materials Voluntary Disclosure Reporting Program.
Closed on
No. 9 to FAA
Combine Hazardous Materials Voluntary Disclosure Reporting Program data with data from other sources, such as inspections, to identify trends signifying safety risk.