The CPSC Open Government Plan
April 12, 2010

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The Obama Administration's Open Government Initiative ushers in a new era of open and accountable government to bridge a gap between the American people and their government. The core values of this initiative are:

Executive Summary

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is engaging in an aggressive plan to put forth its data, deliberations, decisions, determinations, collaborations and actions in an open, accessible manner to consumers, stakeholders and the general public in accordance with the Open Government Initiative.

 A live webcast of a CPSC commission hearing.

Online efforts currently include live webcasts of meetings, hearings, workshops and interactive training. Staff memos, technical analyses, Federal Register notices, Commissioner's statements and public comments are posted online during the course of CPSC's decisional processes. Actions, including recalls, safety alerts, safety awareness programs, interpretive rules, final rules and enforcement policies are on

The public is engaged through social media, including Twitter, the OnSafety blog, Flickr, YouTube, recall widgets, e-mail announcements and Podcasts. A contractor-staffed phone and online Hotline provides another avenue for stakeholder and public comment on all actions and communications.

CPSC continues to develop its Open Government Plan. Give us your thoughts on how we can better develop our Open Government plan, prioritize information for publication and improve the availability and quality of published information. You can send your feedback to

1. Transparency

Currently, the agency is regularly posting the following documents for the public:

  1. Public calendar of open meetings with the Commissioners and staff - published each week on
  2. Open Commission meetings and/or hearings held each Wednesday to discuss top policy and regulatory matters - announced in advance and Webstreamed live and archived on
  3. Web pages on with high value information on the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act give affected industries an open forum to stay aware of specific target dates for submitting public comments or complying with a new rule.
  4. CPSC's electronic Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) records are available online. CPSC is publishing FOIA annual reports and improvement activities, including the 2009 Freedom of Information Act Report (XML) and the FOIA backlog reduction plan.
  5. CPSC's organizational structure is available online.

For businesses, the agency publishes the following documents:

  1. Online guide for reporting product defects and/or incidents
  2. Online guide for conducting a product recall
  3. Listing of Federal Register notices
  4. Solicitations for public comments on Advanced Notices of Public Rulemaking (ANPRs) and Notices of Public Rulemaking (NPRs)
  5. Online guide for small businesses to be aware of CPSC regulations

For the general public and media, the agency publishes the following:

  1. Recall announcements and news are posted in a timely manner via, e-mail, RSS and Announcements are also available on in the following locations:
    • All Product Recalls
    • Household Product Recalls
    • Outdoor Product Recalls
    • Child-Related Product Recalls
    • Sports/Recreation Related Product Recalls
  2. Emerging and seasonal safety announcements are sent via e-mail through the Neighborhood Safety Network (NSN) and archived on an NSN-dedicated Web page
  3. Blog posts, tweets, Flickr photos, YouTube videos - CPSC 2.0's current platforms -- are used to exponentially expand the public's access to timely online information, increase the public's knowledge of how to stay safe, promote public engagement with the agency and support media efforts to deliver photos and videos to a broader audience.
  4. Injury estimate data is now available on, in addition to
  5. CPSC rulemaking is available for comment on on

2. Participation

From the agency's home page, the consumers, businesses and stakeholders can provide comments or ask questions via or These mailboxes are monitored and managed throughout the day.

CPSC is active on social media sites including: OnSafety blog, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.

"Resale/Thrift Stores" is one of seven specialty sites
dealing with issues of concern for consumers

The regulatory community can now use a special e-mail address ( and/or a secure online form to submit timely reports of product safety defects or incidents to the agency's Office of Compliance.

The agency hosts seven specialty sites dealing with issues of specific consumer concerns including: ATV Safety, Cribs/Safe Sleep*, Drywall*, Fireworks*, Carbon Monoxide, Resale/Thrift Stores and Pool and Spa Safety. (*English and Spanish) These sites include current information on hearings, meetings and workshops, links to regulations and voluntary standards, print and video publications, collaborations with other government agencies, news and reports. These sites have links to report incidents and to other with agencies involved the program. Throughout our Web site and social media efforts, we encourage the public to e-mail us with questions and concerns at

Public workshops have been held by the agency in advance of major rulemaking being initiated by agency staff so that stakeholders can share their expertise and experiences on how a given federal rule will impact their business or is intended to benefit consumers. Workshops have been Webcast and the public has been asked to submit feedback and questions via e-mail during the workshops. Such requests for public participation have been made repetitively during the workshops and posted on social media.

3. Collaboration

CPSC regularly collaborates with scientists, consumer advocates, business representatives and the public and will continue to do so under this plan. Such collaborations take the form of CPSC hosting and attending panels with scientists and researchers, holding public workshops and conducting public outreach. Mobile devices have aided CPSC in collaboration, providing the agency with more asynchronous communication with advocates, the media and stakeholders. These are a few examples of agency collaboration:

  1. In Webinars and Webcast presentations, the agency has solicited and received pre-, during, and post event dialogue, questions and feedback with participants including small businesses and concerned stakeholders.

    During these events, we monitor Twitter conversation traffic to gauge the perception by the audience of the material.

  2. On our Web site, we identify collaborations with agencies like EPA, CDC and HUD for Drywall. We post links to those agencies and to their specific material dealing with the issue.

  3. For our Pool and Spa Safety Campaign we invited advocates and national leaders of water safety programs to a Partners Summit. During the program participants were able to review CPSC plans, exchange information about their programs and discuss ways to collaborate during the coming years. Collaboration in the form of contract funds will be awarded in FY2010 for training services and safety programs. Additional collaboration has and will continue to take place with state and local health departments, supporting the agency's Pool and Spa Safety Act inspection and enforcement program.

  4. CPSC has undertaken a new effort to work closely with state Attorneys General on high profile recalls and implementing the CPSIA.

4. Flagship Initiative

A panel of state government, consumer advocate and industry representatives
begin discussion on the creation of a publicly searchable database during
the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission's public database workshop.

In section 212 of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), Congress mandated CPSC to create a searchable public database of reports of harm received from consumers; local, state, and Federal government agencies; health care professionals; child service providers; and public safety entities. Reports of harm will be transmitted to manufacturers for comment and the whole database will be linked to and from our Web site. The public database on, is scheduled for launch in March 2011. On this site, consumers can report incidents that CPSC staff will review and forward to the manufacturer for comment. In as little as three weeks, the incident will be posted on the searchable public database. This lets other consumers making purchases or safety-related decisions consider the reports of harm along with manufacturer's comments.

The public database will significantly increase transparency by allowing the public to see reports of harm and manufacturer comments as the CPSC sees them and long before a recall is announced. CPSC expects a significant increase in participation from both consumers and manufacturers. A public outreach plan will encourage consumers to report incidents of harm and incorporate this safety information when making product-related decisions. Likewise, CPSC's outreach plan will encourage manufacturers to comment on those reports of harm. As CPSC collaborates with other recall-issuing agencies, it is collaborating in new ways with, third-party application developers and online retailers.

In addition to the public database flagship project, CPSC is developing a phone application for the public to search recalls while on the go and is undertaking a Web site redesign to make agency information easier for the public to find.

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