The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has issued a report to Congress titled “Consumer Product Safety Commission: Awareness, Use, and Usefulness of SaferProducts.gov.” GAO analyzed the methods that the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has used to inform the public about its product safety incident reporting database and found that the agency failed to establish any metrics to measure whether its outreach has been successful. Apparently, no data are gathered about users thus making it difficult for GAO to assess “whether a broad range of the public has used the site” and limiting CPSC’s “ability to target its marketing and outreach efforts to increase use of the site.”

GAO recommended that CPSC (i) “establish and incorporate metrics to assess efforts to increase awareness and use of SaferProducts.gov,” (ii) “look for cost-effective ways of gathering additional data about site use,” and (iii) “implement cost-effective usability improvements to the site.” According to GAO, some of the site’s search functions posed challenges to consumers and “some consumers expressed concern about registering with the site and said this might prevent them from completing a report.” Other consumers apparently believe that the site focuses on “safe rather than unsafe products.”