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Procurement Information Circular

March 7, 2001



PURPOSE: To provide guidance on addressing safety and the safety priority at each critical decision point in the acquisition process.

BACKGROUND: NASA undertakes many activities involving a high potential of risk. Management of this risk is one of NASA’s most challenging activities and is an integral part of NASA’s safety efforts. Successful management of safety risks can lead to reductions in lost or restricted workdays and in the number of incidents involving injury or death to personnel. These reductions enhance the probability of mission success by decreasing development time, cycle times, operational delays and costs. Since NASA contracts account for approximately 80% of its budget, NASA recognizes that addressing risk management and safety in the acquisition process is also a key to enhancing the probability of NASA attaining mission success.

To convey NASA’s focus on safety and mission success in NASA contracts, the NFS was amended (Procurement Notices (PN) 97-46 and 97-58) to emphasize consideration of risk management, including safety, security (including information technology security), health, export control, and damage to the environment within the acquisition process.

The NFS provides an excellent framework for considering risk (including safety) in the acquisition process. These risk management considerations also need to address NASA’s safety priority. Safety is defined as the freedom from those conditions that can cause death, injury, occupational illness, damage to or loss of equipment or property, or damage to the environment. NASA’s safety priority is to protect: (1) the public, (2) astronauts and pilots, (3) the NASA workforce (including contractor employees working on NASA contracts), and (4) high-value equipment and property.

An interim rule to incorporate the safety priority into the following NFS clauses is currently being processed:

1. 1852.223-70, Safety and Health.

2. 1852.223-73, Safety and Health Plan.

3. 1852.223-75, Major Breach of Safety or Security.

GUIDANCE: Procurement Officers should ensure that the NASA safety priority -- protecting (1) the public; (2) astronauts and pilots; (3) the NASA workforce (including contractor employees working on NASA contracts); and (4) high-value equipment and property is addressed during the risk management processes that were incorporated into the NFS by PN 97-58. By doing so, we will ensure that the safety priority is addressed at every critical stage and at every critical decision point in the acquisition process. This includes addressing the priority both in the material presented to the decision-maker, and in the decisions made by the decision-maker. The safety priority should be included when addressing and factoring safety in the decision-making process at critical points identified in the NASA FAR Supplement (NFS), including:

1. Acquisition Planning (NFS 1807.104(a))

2. Written Acquisition Plans and Acquisition Strategy Meetings (NFS 1807.105(a)(7))

3. Describing Agency Needs (NFS 1811.101(b))

4. NASA Evaluation Factors (NFS 1815.304-70(b)(4))

5. Proposal Evaluations (NFS 1815.305(a)(vi))

6. Prenegotiation Positions (NFS 1815.406-170(c)(7))

7. Award Fee Evaluations (NFS 1816.405-274(c)(1))

8. Post-Award Conferences (NFS 1842.503(1)(iv))

In addition to the above, safety and the safety priority should be a consideration when developing surveillance plans required by FAR Part 46 and NFS Part 1846.

EFFECTIVE DATE: This PIC is effective as dated and shall remain in effect until canceled or superceded.

HEADQUARTERS CONTACT: Jeff Cullen, Code HK, (202) 358-1784, e-mail:


R. Scott Thompson
Director, Contract Management Division