A whistleblower’s disclosure that a software flaw in a Treasury Department program left some $92 million in debts to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration go uncollected has been validated by investigations by both Treasury and Labor, the Office of Special Counsel has said.
The disclosure involved unpaid fines owed by employers for workplace safety violations that OSHA, a subagency of Labor, had referred to Treasury for collection.
“An anonymous whistleblower alerted OSC to the software problem, alleging it resulted in Treasury’s failure to collect the debts,” said OSC, which added that the investigations “also revealed that the software problem impacted debt collections by Treasury for 12 additional federal agencies, unrelated to OSHA.”
It said that Treasury corrected the issue in response and “is now actively collecting all OSHA debts and any other agency debts affected by the error. Both Labor and OSHA also updated their debt-collection procedures for monitoring and transferring debts.”
“In addition, Treasury has committed to provide OSC with a follow-up report once it has completed an audit to determine the monetary value of the remaining uncollected debts owed to other agencies,” the OSC said.