Report on Occupational Safety and Health Inspections

Document Sample
Report on Occupational Safety and Health Inspections Powered By Docstoc
					Office of Compliance
Report on Occupational Safety
and Health Inspections
Conducted in the Legislative Branch during the 108th
Congress pursuant to the Congressional
Accountability Act
advancing safety, health, and workplace rights in the legislative branch

October 2005
Table of Contents   Hghlghts......................................................................................1

                    I. Executve Summary.......................................................................3
                              A. Statutory Bass.....................................................................................3
                              B. Introducton........................................................................................3
                              C. 10th Annversary of the Congressonal Accountablty Act................5
                              D. Changng Focus of the New General Counsel...................................6
                              E. Scope of the Report...........................................................................11

                    II. Safety Hazards and Complance...............................................12
                              A. Emergency Evacuaton......................................................................12
                              B. Alarm and Communcaton Systems.................................................18
                              C. Evacuaton of Employees and Vstors wth Dsabltes...................22
                              D. Fre Sprnkler Systems.......................................................................26
                              E. Electrcal Hazards..............................................................................28

                    III. Health Hazards and Complance.............................................32
                              A. Events Involvng Chemcal and Bologcal Agents...........................32
                              B. Methylene Chlorde...........................................................................34
                              C. Hazard Communcaton....................................................................35
                              D. Asbestos............................................................................................36
                              E. Lead..................................................................................................39

                    IV. Perodc Inspectons...................................................................41
                              A. The Captol Buldng.........................................................................43
                              B. Drksen Senate Office Buldng.........................................................47
                              C. Hart Senate Office Buldng..............................................................52
                              D. Russell Senate Office Buldng..........................................................56
                              E. Cannon House Office Buldng.........................................................61
                              F. Longworth House Office Buldng.....................................................64
                              G. Rayburn House Office Buldng........................................................67

                    V. Requestor-Intated Inspectons................................................72
                              A. Contractor Complance.....................................................................72
                              B. Alarms and Evacuaton......................................................................75
                              C. Emergency Acton Plans..................................................................76
                              D. Evacuaton of Persons wth Dsabltes............................................77
                              E. Polce Communcatons Centers.......................................................77
                              F. Chemcal and Bologcal Hazards......................................................78
                              G. Asbestos............................................................................................78
                              H. Potable Water...................................................................................79

                    VI. Challenges and Intatves.......................................................79
                              A. Increasng Awareness of Safety and Health Issues............................80
                              B. Advance Notficaton of Proposed Fndngs......................................80
                              C. Reducng Fluctuatons n Bennal Inspectons.................................81
                              D. Tranng Outreach.............................................................................81
                              E. Montorng Abatement of Ctatons and Volaton Fndngs............82
                              F. Self-Montorng of Safety Condtons and Mantenance Programs..83
               G. Development of Employng Office Health and Safety Programs....84

     VII. Recommendatons.................................................................85
               A. Enforcement Authorty - Temporary Restranng Orders...............85
               B. Enforcement Authorty - Envronmental Statutes Protecton..........86
               C. Enforcement Authorty - § 207 Retalaton Protectons..................86

     VIII. Inspecton Methodology and Acknowledgements..............87

     Staff of the Office of Complance..................................................90

     Inspecton Team............................................................................90

     Contact Informaton......................................................................91

               Appendx D.................................Gudelnes for Rsk Assessment Codes
               Appendx E.....................................Buldngs Inspected n 2004 vs 2002
               Appendx F.............................Responsble Offices Comments to Report

               ~Note to Reader
               Appendices A, B, and C are not included in this version of the Public Report
               because of their volume, and the United States Capitol Police has determined
               that significant portions contain security sensitive information. Accordingly,
               all references to Appendices A, B, and C have been redacted from the Report.
               Appendices D, E, and F are included.

   advancing safety, health, and workplace rights in the legistlative branch
Ths page s ntentonally left blank.

              Biennial OSHA Report for the 108th Congress

Highlights:        •         The Congressonal Accountablty Act (CAA) requres
                   the General Counsel of the Office of Complance (OOC) to con-
                   duct a comprehensve health and safety nspecton of all Legsla-
                   tve Branch facltes at least once each Congress. The covered
                   facltes encompass more than 17 mllon square feet, plus mles
                   of steam, subway, pedestran and other tunnels. Durng ts 2002
                   Bennal Inspecton, the nspecton covered approxmately 50% of
                   the space wthn these facltes. In March 2004, the new General
                   Counsel ntated a far more detaled and comprehensve “baselne”
                   bennal nspecton than n past years n order to complete a full
                   and accurate assessment of each covered faclty. As a result, seven
                   tmes as many volatons were dentfied durng the 2004 nspec-
                   ton as compared to the 2002 nspecton. However, because of
                   the greater tme requred to conduct more thorough nspectons
                   and lmted nspector resources, the Office of the General Coun-
                   sel (OGC) was able to nspect only 25% of covered Legslatve
                   Branch space.

                   •       Fndng that the OOC s “facng an ncreasng workload
                   and scarce resources,” the Government Accountablty Office
                   (GAO), n a 2004 Report concernng OOC operatons, recom-
                   mended that the agency “work wth the Congress to develop a
                   strategy to ensure that all facltes under OOC’s jursdcton and
                   located n the Captol Hll complex and the surroundng Wash-
                   ngton, D.C. area ... are covered as part of the bennal safety n-
                   spectons requred by the CAA.” Subsequently, Congress approved
                   addtonal resources to enable the OGC to conduct the bennal
                   nspecton of all covered Legslatve Branch facltes n the Wash-
                   ngton, DC metropoltan area durng the 109th Congress.

                   •        Durng the 108th Congress nspecton cycle, the nspec-
                   ton team from the Office of the General Counsel developed and
                   mplemented a new Rsk Assessment Code (RAC). The RAC sys-
                   tem enables the nspecton team to ascertan the rsks to employee
                   health and safety by classfyng the severty and probablty of oc-
                   currence of the hazards dentfied and thus brng ts rsk assessment
                   approach nto algnment wth general ndustry practce. Ths, n
                   turn, helps determne prortes for ther abatement. Because the
                   OOC lacked an electronc storage and retreval system for record-
                   ng nspecton findngs and montorng employng office abate-
                   ment of dentfied hazards, Congress recently funded the OOC’s
                   acquston of a new relatonal database case trackng system de-
                   sgned specfically for Legslatve Branch Occupatonal Safety and
                   Health (OSH) and Amercans wth Dsabltes Act (ADA) n-
                   spectons. The OOC s n the process of nputtng nspecton data
                   from all prevous nspectons nto the new case trackng system.

              •        Whle substantal progress has been made n mprovng
              health and safety condtons on Captol Hll snce the adopton of
              the CAA n1995, many of the most sgnficant hazards dentfied
              n past Bennal Reports reman uncorrected, partcularly those re-
              lated to fire protecton and the evacuaton of facltes n the event
              of emergences. In addton to specfic hazards, the nspecton
              team dentfied sgnficant program deficences. The 108th Ben-
              nal Inspecton dentfied 2,666 hazardous condtons of whch
              approxmately 1,500 were electrcal, 700 were fire and emergency
              response, 200 were machnery and equpment, 80 were chemcal-
              related, 40 were fall-related, and a number were assocated wth
              confined spaces. Moreover, many of the volatons were ranked as
              RAC 1 (“mmnent rsk of death or lfe-threatenng njury”) and
              RAC 2 (“probable occurrence of severe njury”). Of the hazards
              dentfied durng the 2004 Bennal Inspecton, 45 were dentfied
              as RAC 1 and 950 as RAC 2. Ths number s dsproportonately
              hgh when compared wth nspectons conducted n comparable
              federal facltes by the Government Servces Admnstraton.

              •        Followng the nspecton of each faclty, the OGC pro-
              vded a detaled descrpton of the hazards found to the Archtect
              of the Captol and the employng offices. Unlke pror nspec-
              tons, ths nformaton was provded as soon as possble after the
              completon of each buldng’s nspecton rather than upon dstr-
              buton of the Bennal Report.

              •        The new approach to nspectons employed n 2004 was
              also more collaboratve. The OGC nspecton team conducted
              perodc brefings n advance of and durng the course of the n-
              specton. Representatves of the Archtect of the Captol and of
              the employng offices ordnarly accompaned the nspecton team
              and promptly corrected many hazards on the spot. As a result, the
              offices responsble for correctng volatons reported that 91% of
              the hazards were abated by the end of 2004.

              •        The General Counsel s also responsble for conduct-
              ng health and safety nspectons upon the request of covered
              employees and employng offices. The number of such cases
              nearly doubled between the 106th Congress (34) and the 108th
              Congress (63). The GAO noted the “ncreasng demands for
              safety and health nspectons, and the very small number of staff
2   advancing safety, health, and workplace rights in the legistlative branch
                                  to conduct those nspectons.”1 As a consequence, and because
                                  OOC safety specalsts have been concentratng on conductng
                                  more thorough bennal nspectons, the backlog of open cases
                                  ncreased from 27 to 61 between FY 2002 and FY 2004. Add-
                                  tonal resources have been provded by Congress for FY 2006 for
                                  the purpose of conductng Requestor-ntated nspectons.

I. Executive Summary   A. Statutory Basis

                       The General Counsel of the Office of Complance s requred by the
                       Congressonal Accountablty Act of 1995 (the CAA or the Act) to conduct
                       an nspecton of all Legslatve Branch facltes at least once each Congress
                       n order to evaluate complance wth the occupatonal safety and health
                       standards establshed by the Department of Labor. See Secton 215(e)(1),
                       2 U.S.C. §1341(e)(1). The General Counsel also conducts nspectons,
                       upon request, of specfic health and safety hazards dentfied by employng
                       offices, covered employees, and labor organzatons. See Secton 215(c)(1),
                       2 U.S.C. §1341(c)(1).

                       Followng completon of the bennal nspecton, the General Counsel
                       s further requred to report the results of the perodc nspecton to the
                       Speaker of the House, the Presdent Pro Tempore of the Senate, and all
                       employng offices responsble for correctng volatons. The Act requres that
                       ths Report descrbe any steps necessary to correct volatons uncovered by
                       the nspecton and assess any rsks to employee health and safety assocated
                       wth any volaton. See Secton 215(e)(2), 2 U.S.C. §1341(e)(2).

                       Ths Report s respectfully submtted pursuant to that mandate.

                       B. Introduction

                       The bennal safety and health Inspecton for the 108th Congress was
                       conducted n covered Legslatve Branch facltes and buldngs n the
                       Washngton D.C. area durng 2004. Under the drecton of the General
                       Counsel, ths nspecton was carred out by a hghly experenced health
                       and safety expert detaled from the Occupatonal Safety and Health
                       Admnstraton, asssted by health and safety contractors retaned by the
                       General Counsel, and student nterns. Over 4 mllon square feet of office
                       space, work centers, warehouses, workshops, storage facltes, as well as
                       electrcal and mechancal plants were nspected n 2004. See **************

                       1            In ths regard, the GAO found that “the number of full-tme staff assgned to conduct
                       the actual workplace health and safety nvestgatons [has] remaned steady at a sngle ndvdual, an
                       OSHA workplace safety specalst assgned to OOC from the Department of Labor on a long-term
                       detal, wth the assstance of part-tme contractors on a lmted bass.” Whle the annual workload
                       of such cases has “rsen dramatcally,” the General Counsel’s resources “have not kept pace wth ths

    ****: OOC OSH Inspectons - Buldngs Inspected n 2004 and 2002.
    Approxmately 30,000 employees work n covered Legslatve Branch
    facltes on Captol Hll.

    In order to provde a comprehensve pcture of health and safety condtons
    n the Legslatve Branch, the OGC requested at the ncepton of the
    2004 Bennal Inspecton that employng offices provde, for ncluson
    n the Bennal Report, nformaton concernng the progress made n
    enhancng safety and health wthn ther respectve offices snce the last
    perodc nspecton n 2002. Ths and other nformaton made avalable
    to the OGC reflects that sgnficant steps are beng taken to mprove
    the overall level of health and safety on Captol Hll. Addtonal health
    and safety personnel have been hred by the Office of the Archtect of
    the Captol (AOC), Lbrary of Congress (LOC), the Senate Sergeant
    at Arms, the Office of the Chef Admnstratve Officer of the House
    of Representatves, and the Unted States Captol Polce (USCP); the
    Senate Office of Emergency Preparedness conducted tranng semnars
    regardng OSHA and ADA safety and complance, the avodance of
    common hazards, and emergency evacuaton procedures, ncludng
    plannng for the evacuaton of staffers and vstors wth dsabltes; the
    House Employment Counsel reports that the Office of Emergency
    Preparedness and Operatons (OEPPO) conducted tranng on the use
    of personal protectve equpment and emergency evacuaton procedures
    and developed tranng plans to the House Staff on evacuaton procedures
    for employees and vstors wth dsabltes; Employee Emergency Acton
    Gude revsons have been developed by the LOC; and the U.S. Captol
    Master Plan recommendatons outlne proposals for complete sprnkler
    coverage, compartmentalzaton barrers and horzontal exts, starwell
    enclosures, smoke control systems, and other lfe safety upgrades wthn
    the Captol Buldng.

    Copes of the charts lstng the 2,666 ndvdual volatons and nformaton
    regardng the status of abatement of each volaton that were prepared
    followng the nspectons are set forth n **************** of ths Report. The
    abatement nformaton contaned n *************** s current as of February
    2004.2 The charts and the Draft Report were provded to all employng
    offices n order to provde an opportunty for comment pror to the formal

    2            Several employng offices have commented that more hazards have been abated than
    s reflected n the **************** charts. However, office resources and logstcal consderatons
    related to the draftng and prntng of ths Report prevented the OGC from updatng charts
    wth nformaton suppled snce that date. The OGC wll update s newly acqured case trackng
    database as subsequent abatement nformaton s receved.
4   advancing safety, health, and workplace rights in the legistlative branch
publcaton of ths Report. All comments were carefully consdered,3 and
approprate changes have been ncorporated nto ths final Report pror to
ts release.

Ths Report has been prepared n two formats. A detaled and comprehensve
confidental verson s ntended solely for release to Members of the House
of Representatves, Members of the Senate, nterested Commttees, and
senor management officals of covered employng offices. The other s a
publc verson that has been screened and from whch securty-senstve
nformaton has been redacted by the OGC and the Unted States Captol

C. 10th Anniversary of the Congressional Accountability Act

January 2005 marked the 10th annversary of the passage of the
Congressonal Accountablty Act. The CAA has provded Congressonal
and Legslatve Branch employees an ndependent and neutral process to
resolve workplace dsputes, ncludng the correcton of safety and health
hazards and the protectons of the other eleven other labor and employment
laws extended to covered employees under the CAA. Durng the decade
followng the passage of the CAA, thousands of safety and health hazards
have been dentfied and abated as a drect result of the perodc and
requested nspectons conducted by the Office of General Counsel. As
Susan S. Robfogel, Charman of the Board, Office of Complance stated
n her plenary remarks to the 2004 OOC Legslatve Branch Health and
Safety Conference:

           Snce the passage of the Act I thnk we can say wth confidence
           that we are seeng contnung mprovement n health and safety
           throughout the Legslatve Branch of the Government...but
           despte the progress of whch we all can be proud, there s certanly
           a lot more that has to be done.

All Legslatve Branch employees and the general publc have sgnficantly
benefitted from these actons that have resulted n safer work areas and
publc spaces.
Ths Report s the fifth submtted to Congress by the OGC of the Office of
Complance snce ts ncepton n 1995. The first Report submtted n June
1996 was conducted pursuant to Secton 215(f ) of the CAA and served
as an ntal barometer of the Legslatve Branch’s complance wth the
safety and health standards establshed by Secton 6 of the Occupatonal
Safety and Health Act (OSHA), 29 U.S.C. §654. See 2 U.S.C. §1341(f ).
Reports of subsequent bennal nspectons were prepared n 1998, 2000,

3          Comments were provded by the Office of the Archtect of the Captol, the Lbrary
of Congress, the Office of the Chef Admnstratve Officer of the House of Representatves, the
Office of House Employment Counsel, the Senate Employment Counsel, and the Government
Accountablty Office. The employng offices were also nvted to submt responses to the Fnal
Report. Those responses are ncluded n Appendx F.
    and 2002 as mandated by Secton 215(e). Each Report focused on a
    partcular matter of concern – the 1998 and 2002 Reports on emergency
    preparedness and the 2000 Report on fire safety.

    In lght of the tenth annversary of the CAA, ths Report addresses the
    progress that has been acheved n mprovng the health and safety on
    Captol Hll as well as newly dentfied and pror longstandng unsafe
    condtons that reman uncorrected. As ths Report documents, snce the
    Office of Complance was establshed n 1995, the record reflects both
    sgnficant advances and persstent deficences n workplace health and
    safety wthn the Legslatve Branch.

    D. Changing Focus of the New General Counsel

    The Bennal Inspecton conducted durng the 108th Congress was the
    most thorough examnaton of facltes nspected snce the adopton of
    the CAA n 1995. The seven-fold ncrease n the number of volatons
    dentfied durng ths nspecton over the number found n 2002 was a
    drect result of the far more comprehensve nspecton regmen ntated
    by the General Counsel n March 2004. Whle more tme-consumng and
    resource-ntensve than pror nspectons, t reflects a new polcy desgned
    to assure full complance wth CAA mandates and recommendatons
    ssued by the Government Accountablty Office (GAO) n ts 2004 study
    of OOC operatons.4

    Accordngly, at the ncepton of the Bennal Inspecton for the 108th
    Congress, the General Counsel determned that t was necessary to create
    a complete “baselne” assessment of exstng health and safety condtons
    n the Legslatve Branch through detaled “wall to wall” examnatons
    of all covered facltes. The General Counsel also decded that the
    nspectons would be more consultve wth affected agences, and that the
    nspecton team would conduct perodc brefings of employng offices
    n advance of and durng the course of the nspecton. Ths resulted n
    nspectons that were much more ntensve and tme-consumng. As a
    consequence, the OGC was unable to conduct a complete ts nspecton
    of all covered facltes durng the 108th Congress. The OGC nspecton
    team examned approxmately 25% of the more than 17 mllon square
    feet comprsng covered facltes n the Washngton, DC metropoltan

    4           The GAO study (GAO-04-400) was mandated by the Consoldated Appropratons
    Resoluton of 2003 Conference Report. Congress had requested GAO to “assess the overall
    effectveness and efficency of the Office of Complance n fulfillng ts responsbltes and role n
    achevng the overall ntent and purposes of the Congressonal Accountablty Act.” House Report
    108-10, February 13, 2003.

6   advancing safety, health, and workplace rights in the legistlative branch
area.5 These facltes ncluded the Government Accountablty Office,
the Unted States Captol Polce Headquarters and Annex, the Botanc
Gardens Buldngs, portons of the Senate and the House (not ncludng
Ford) Office Buldngs, exceptng Member offices, Commttee spaces,
and non-AOC spaces, those portons of the Supreme Court under the
jursdcton of the Archtect of the Captol, and other facltes that were not
nspected n 2002. See Appendx E: OOC OSH Inspectons - Buldngs
Inspected n 2004 and 2002.

Pror nspectons, whle coverng more square footage, were less
comprehensve. For nstance, n the 107th Congress Bennal Inspecton
n 2002, seventy-five percent of Legslatve Branch facltes comprsng
about 50% of the covered square footage were nspected.6 In some of these
facltes, only lmted portons of the buldngs were nspected. See 2002
Report, Appendx D and Appendx E; see also, 2000 Report, p. 26. 7 In
ts February 2004 Report on the OOC, the GAO noted that despte the
CAA mandate that all covered Legslatve Branch facltes be nspected at
least once each Congress, not all of the Captol Hll campus was nspected
durng the 2002 nspecton, as noted above. See “Office of Complance:
Status of Management Control Efforts to Improve Effectveness”, GAO-
04-400, February 2004, p. 25. GAO found that the OOC faces “an
ncreasng workload and scarce resources.”8 GAO further recommended
that the OOC “work wth Congress to ensure that all facltes under ts
jursdcton and located n the Captol Hll complex and the surroundng
Washngton, D.C. area are covered as part of the bennal safety nspectons
requred by the CAA....” GAO Report, pp. 28, 31.9

5              Between 2002 and 2004 the OOC ganed jursdcton over a number of addtonal
facltes that were not prevously covered n the earler nspecton, ncludng the HDU (Hazardous
Devces Unt) faclty of the Unted States Captol Polce, the Fort Meade Lbrary of Congress
(LOC) Book Storage Module No.1, and the Cheltenham Polce Tranng Annex.

6           In addton, Legslatve Branch facltes nclude more than 1000 State and Dstrct
Offices that are subject to OSH nspecton coverage under the CAA. None of these facltes has
been physcally vsted by OGC nspectors to conduct a bennal nspecton, although where an
nspecton has been specfically requested by an employee or employng office, the OGC has obtaned
the assstance of the Occupatonal Safety and Health Admnstraton (OSHA) to conduct an

7          Ths ctaton references the General Counsel’s 2000 Report on Occupational Safety and
Health Inspections Conducted Under the Congressional Accountability Act. Unless otherwse noted, any
references heren to an Office of General Counsel Biennial Report wll be smlarly cted as ether the
“1996 Report”, “1998 Report”, or “2002 Report”.

8         Other than a sngle OSHA detalee and lmted part-tme contractors, the Office of
General Counsel presently has no addtonal safety and health professonal employees on staff.

9          Recently, Congress approved an ncreased appropraton for the OOC for FY 2006 to
enable the OGC to conduct a bennal nspecton of all covered facltes n the Washngton, DC
metropoltan area durng the 109th Congress.
    Aganst ths backdrop, the General Counsel gave first prorty to those
    facltes that were not nspected durng the pror nspecton cycle.10

    The OGC also developed and mplemented a Rsk Assessment Code
    (RAC) system to classfy the severty and probablty of occurrence of
    dentfied hazards and thus brng ts assessment approach nto algnment
    wth ndustry-wde standards. See Appendx D, OOC Gudelnes for Rsk
    Assessment Codes (RACs). The RAC system standardzes the evaluaton
    of hundreds of dfferent condtons so that each nspector apples the
    same standards. The subjectve nature of the nspecton process s thereby
    mnmzed. Consequently, durng the 108th nspecton cycle, the RAC
    ratngs assgned by OGC nvestgators to partcular hazards were rarely
    challenged by the responsble employng office.

    RACs are classfied n descendng order of severty and need of attenton.
    For example, a RAC 1 volaton nvolves a hazard of the most serous
    nature, and requres mmedate attenton n that t poses an mmnent rsk
    of death or lfe-threatenng njury; a RAC 2 poses a probable occurrence
    of severe njury. The new RAC system wll assst employng offices n
    establshng prortes for the abatement of hazards consdered to be most
    dangerous and those that requre extensve plannng, coordnaton, and
    tme to correct. An added benefit of the RAC system s the ablty to
    compare condtons n the Legslatve Branch wth those n other enttes
    n the Federal Government and the prvate sector.

    Another recognzed methodology employed to measure fire safety
    protecton, the Natonal Fre Protecton Assocaton (NFPA) 101 Lfe
    Safety Code worksheet, was used by the General Counsel to provde
    comparson between Legslatve and Executve Branch buldngs. In
    assessng overall fire safety condtons wthn a buldng, the NFPA 101
    ratng assgns specfic numercal values to general buldng condtons

    10         These ncluded the Senate and House Page Dormtores, the Senate, House and Lbrary
    of Congress (LOC) Day Care Centers, and the LOC Natonal Lbrary Servce for the Blnd and
    Physcally Handcapped. See Appendx E to the 2004 Report.

8   advancing safety, health, and workplace rights in the legistlative branch
such as the presence or absence of preventve fire safety measures ncludng
sprnklers,11 fire doors, and emergency lghts. If a buldng has enclosed
starwells, no penetratons through fire barrers, a code-complant fire alarm
system, and a fully operatonal and complant sprnkler system throughout
the buldng, a postve value s assessed. Conversely, f the buldng provdes
no, or only a partal, sprnkler system, or has openngs n fire barrers, a
negatve value s assessed. The General Servces Admnstraton (GSA)
utlzes the NFPA 101 system to rate buldngs under ts jursdcton. As
appled by GSA, a ratng below “0” s consdered to be unacceptable, a “-20”
ratng s “hgh rsk”, and a “+20” s “very good”. Several of the Legslatve
Branch facltes were found to be n the “hgh rsk” category.

Ths comprehensve nspecton approach yelded sgnficant results. Wthn
the same facltes nspected n 2002, the 2004 nspecton dentfied over
2,300 safety and health volatons, compared to the 360 that were dentfied
durng the 2002 nspecton wthn the same facltes.12 Furthermore, the
OGC nspectors dscovered a surprsng number of the hghest rsk RAC
1 and 2 volatons. Health and safety nspectors routnely expect to find
a large number of RAC 4s, a smaller number of RAC 3s, and even fewer
RAC 2s and 1s durng a typcal nspecton. However, the 2004 nspecton
of Legslatve Branch facltes dentfied a relatvely small number of RAC
4 volatons, wth a large number of RAC 3s and 2s.

Fnally, as dscussed below, t was dsturbng to find that a substantal
number of very serous volatons found durng the 2004 nspecton
had been prevously dentfied n earler bennal nspectons but reman

To meet ts expandng challenge, the Office of General Counsel adopted
a mult-pronged approach to dentfy and correct the numerous hazards
dentfied durng the nspecton. Voluntary, collaboratve means were
utlzed whenever possble, balanced wth the enforcement optons of
Secton 215 n order to ensure prompt complance wth the law. The
OGC’s collaboratve efforts have proved to be effectve and well-receved
by the covered employng offices. In advance of the nspectons, the OGC
conducted openng conferences for employng offices to bref them on the
scope of the nspectons. In perodc meetngs conducted by the OGC,
employng offices were brefed regardng common volatons dentfied by
the OGC durng the nspectons, and were encouraged to conduct pre-

11          In comments to the Draft Report, the AOC questoned “the specfic ratng values
assgned by the [OGC] because there was no credt gven for sprnkler systems n a number of many
buldngs” [sc]. In a number of nspected buldngs, the sprnkler systems dd not provde complete
coverage or dd not trgger the buldng evacuaton alarm. The OGC strctly followed the NPFA
Gude on Alternatve Approaches to Lfe Safety 2001. That Gude specfies the condtons under
whch, and to what extent, credt may be gven to buldngs that have complete, or only partal,
coverage. Assessments that dd not apply these standards would be subjectve.

12         As prevously mentoned, overall, 2,666 volatons were found durng the 2004 nspectons.
     nspectons of ther facltes pror to the OGC nspecton. The AOC
     establshed “Tger Teams” – consstng of electrcans, plumbers, elevator
     mechancs, etc. – to accompany OGC nspectors or to be “on call” to
     mmedately abate serous hazards as they were dscovered. Ths approach
     permtted a large number of deficences dentfied durng the nspecton
     process to be mmedately corrected. Draft findngs of dentfied hazards
     were ssued by the OGC to the AOC and other responsble employng
     offices as each faclty was nspected rather than awatng ssuance of the
     Bennal Report. As a result of these collaboratve efforts, the responsble
     employng offices reported that 91% (2,433) of the 2,666 hazards dentfied
     durng the 108th nspectons have been reported as beng abated as of the
     prntng of ths Report.13 See Footnote 2 above.

     Unlke the Occupatonal Safety and Health Admnstraton, the General
     Counsel does not routnely ssue ctatons wth respect to each serous
     hazard dentfied durng an nspecton. OSHA officals typcally ssue
     numerous ctatons, along wth proposed penaltes, upon completon of
     an nspecton. Reports are rarely developed that descrbe the nspecton
     findngs. By contrast, the OGC tradtonally has vewed the routne
     ssuance of ctatons as counter-productve to the goal of achevng, prompt,
     voluntary, and collaboratve abatement. Instead, n the exercse of hs
     prosecutoral dscreton, the General Counsel has most often pursued less
     formal means of achevng abatement of dentfied hazards. That sad, the
     relatvely small number of ctatons ssued as a result of the 108th Bennal
     Inspecton should not be taken to ndcate that the hazards dscussed are
     nsgnficant or do not volate law or regulaton.14 As ndcated heren,
     ths nspecton dentfied a sgnficant number of hgh-rsk RAC 1 and
     RAC 2 volatons.

     After completng a Bennal or Requestor-Intated Inspecton, the OGC
     nspector prepares a memorandum to the General Counsel that dscusses
     the nspector’s findngs and makes recommendatons for correctng
     any hazards found durng the nspecton. The General Counsel may
     forward the memoranda to the responsble employng office to request
     ts comments and ascertan when the dentfied hazards wll be abated. If
     voluntary complance s not promptly ntated or other reasons requre
     a more formal resoluton, the General Counsel may exercse dscreton
     and ssue a complant. Snce 1996, the General Counsel has ssued 57

     Once a ctaton s ssued, formal procedures must be followed. Such
     processes can pretermt more nformal means of achevng prompt

     13         Addtonal OGC ntatves are dscussed n Secton VI of ths Report.

     14          In response to the Draft Report, the LOC erroneously clams that the lack of formal
     ctatons equates to a findng that no volatons have occurred.

10   advancing safety, health, and workplace rights in the legistlative branch
resoluton and may foster a confrontatonal relatonshp. At tmes the
complant process can be tme-consumng and drans resources away from
both the OGC and the employng office. Moreover, the ctaton, unlke
the more detaled memoranda prepared by OGC nspectors, does not
necessarly explan the findng and how other contrbutng factors could
aggravate the condtons. Fnally, memoranda on nspecton findngs are
easer to understand than formal ctatons by those who are not experts
n the safety and health field but who may be requred to partcpate n
abatement efforts.

The decson to ssue a formal ctaton or follow a more nformal process
les wthn the statutory dscreton of the General Counsel. The General
Counsel has ssued ctatons n nstances where the dentfied hazard s
partcularly serous or creates an mmnent rsk to Legslatve Branch
employees or the publc; when the hazard consttutes a “repeat” or smlar
or related volaton of the type found n past nspectons or whch a
broad, systemc remedy may be requred; when an employng office fals
to cooperate n an nvestgaton or fals to cooperate n an nvestgaton
or fals to take approprate and tmely steps to correct a hazard; or when
he determnes t s otherwse necessary to effectuate the purposes of
occupatonal safety and health laws.

E. Scope of the Report

Ths Report s ntended to summarze the general findngs and ssues
dentfied n the OGC’s nspectons. Partcular emphass s placed on
contnung hazards that are systemc or reman uncorrected. Techncal
materals, ncludng a detaled explanaton of each volaton found, the
RAC assgned to t, the applcable safety code sectons, and the status of
abatement as reported by the responsble employng offices, are ncluded n
the appendces to the Report.

Parts II and III, respectvely, address broad Safety Complance and Health
Complance ssues that were ether dentfied durng the perodc nspecton
(Secton 215(e)(1) of the CAA) or rased by an employng office, employee,
or labor organzaton pursuant to Secton 215(c). Part IV dscusses the
results of the perodc nspecton at specfic Legslatve Branch facltes.
Part V summarzes specfic concerns rased by requestng partes. Part VI
outlnes the ntatves already mplemented and plans the General Counsel
ntends to mplement n order to ncrease efficency and comply wth the
recommendatons contaned wthn the GAO Report. Part VII dscusses
specfic recommendatons that wll enhance the overall safety and health
for the Legslatve Branch, and Part VIII explans the methodology of the
nspectons and acknowledgments.

II. Safety Hazards and   A. Emergency Evacuation
                         The General Counsel has reported n each Bennal Report snce 1996
                         that fire and suspcous package/potental bomb emergences, both of
                         whch requre rapd polce response and potental buldng evacuaton,
                         are hazards most lkely to be encountered by employees of the Legslatve
                         Branch. See 2002 Report, p. 22. Few hazards have the potental to
                         adversely affect personal safety as much as neffectve emergency response
                         and evacuaton procedures or unsafe emergency routes of egress.

                         The General Counsel reported n 2000 that the prmary Legslatve Branch
                         buldngs – the U.S. Captol, the Russell, Drksen, and Hart Senate Office
                         Buldngs, and the Cannon, Longworth, and Rayburn House Office
                         Buldngs – alone, serve as the work ste for over 12,000 employees and
                         are vsted by thousands of vstors each day. Unfortunately, the overall
                         level of fire safety remans far below that of most other office buldngs
                         of smlar sze and age. See 2000 Report, pp. 5-6. Each Report ssued
                         snce 1996 has noted smlar deficences n fire safety and emergency
                         preparedness. Compoundng the problem s the extended schedule for
                         proposed abatement. The AOC has ndcated that many remanng fire
                         safety hazards wll not be abated for many years, some as long as 2011.

                         We noted n the 2002 Report that “the rsk of future terrorst acton
                         emphaszes the mportance of completng all fire and safety abatement
                         projects that were ntated n more peaceful tmes. All apparent
                         vulnerabltes – nadequate buldng ext capacty, naudble alarms, mssng
                         fire barrers – loom much larger now as the prospect of an emergency has
                         become more mmnent.” 2002 Report, p. 39.

                         Accordng to the U.S. Captol Polce, the potental for terrorst actvty n
                         and around the Captol Hll area remans hgh and renforces the need for
                         safe, effectve, and protected evacuaton routes. As USCP Chef Terrance
                         W. Ganer ndcated n a prepared statement to the House Subcommttee
                         on Legslatve Commttee on Appropratons n Aprl 2004,

                                   It s human nature to be optmstc, but recent events have
                                   renforced what ntellgence nformaton has told us for years,
                                   that terrorst organzatons have the means and the methods to
                                   strke whenever and wherever. Intellgence and Securty experts
                                   both nsde and outsde government have stated, the U.S. Captol
                                   remans a prmary target. It s really not a queston of but when
                                   the Unted States Captol Polce wll agan be called to respond
                                   to another terrorst attack.

                         Prepared Statement, Hearngs, Legslatve Branch Appropratons for
                         2005, p. 203, Aprl 28, 2004. See also, The 9/11 Commsson Report
      12                 advancing safety, health, and workplace rights in the legistlative branch
                                                  Gven the potental that Captol Hll contnues to be a prme target for
                                                  terrorst attacks, t s essental that all necessary steps be taken to provde
                                                  for the safe and prompt evacuaton of employees and vstors. In pror
                                                  reports the OGC dentfied serous deficences that sgnficantly mpact
                                                  emergency response procedures. The 2004 nspecton once agan found the
                                                  same or other serous unabated deficences.

                                                             •           Ineffectve fire barrers

                                                  Fre barrers serve to retard the spread of fire and smoke n order to allow
                                                  the safe egress of employees and vstors durng an emergency evacuaton;
                                                  two means of emergency egress must be provded; and emergency exts
                                                  must not be blocked or locked. 29 C.F.R. §§1910.36 - 1910.37.15 In
                                                  March of 2000, the General Counsel cted the AOC for ext starwells that
                                                  dd not provde ***********************************************************************
                                                  ********************************************************* See 2000 Report, pp. 7-8.
                                                  The five (5) ctatons requred the AOC to nstall protectve barrers and
                                                  fire-rated doors around the ext starways.

                                                  The 2004 nspecton noted some mprovement n the Captol. As
                                                  recommended by the OGC nspectors, two ext starways from the
                                                  fourth to the first floors of the Captol buldng were fully enclosed and
                                                  protected. Ext capacty was enhanced by nstallng sde-swng doors n
                                                  place of revolvng doors. However, a recent on-ste nspecton noted that
                                                  the enclosure of the starwells was compromsed. In one nstance the door
                                                  latch had been dsabled; n another, the door was blocked open wth a brass

Non-fire doors in a Legislative Branch
Building offer no protection during a fire;
doors are also held open by brass pegs allowing
toxic smoke to flow freely.

                                                  However, as noted, many of the deficences n the House and some Senate
                                                  Office Buldngs have not been corrected by the AOC. The General

                                                  15           Examples of nadequate fire barrers dentfied durng the 2004 nspecton nclude the
                                                  followng: fire barrer penetraton (113); bad fire door closures (103); fire doors mproperly held
                                                  open (24); damaged or lackng fire doors (21); mproper lockng mechansm on fire doors (7); open
                                                  ext starwell (7); lack of a vable fire barrer (6). See **************: 2004 Biennial Safety & Health
                                                  Inspections: Hazard and Abatement Tally.
     Counsel ssued ctatons to the AOC n March 2000 for deficences n
     the ext starwells of the Captol, the Longworth, Cannon, and Rayburn
     House Office Buldngs, and the Russell Senate Office Buldng. In 2004,
     the nspectors specfically noted that none of the door hazards n those
     buldngs have been corrected. Furthermore, the buldngs lack sufficent
     ext dscharge capacty to allow employees and vstors to promptly and
     safely ext n the event of an emergency. Most of the pedestran and
     subway tunnels between the buldngs also lack effectve fire barrers.

     As a result of fire safety nspectons conducted n 2001, seven ctatos
     were ssued n March 2001 to the LOC and AOC for deficences n the
     Jefferson, Adams, and Madson Buldngs. See 2002 Report, pp. 23-24.
     The AOC has made sgnficant progress n several areas such as the repar
     of penetratons n fire walls and barrers between floors. However, smlar
     to the deficences found n the House and Senate buldngs, the OGC
     found that the starwells n the Jefferson and Adams buldngs stll have not
     been properly enclosed and lack protectve barrers and fire-rated doors.
     Vertcal openngs between book stacks create a danger from smoke and
     toxc fumes. The book conveyor system used n all three LOC buldngs
     compromses the effectveness of exstng fire barrers by leavng openngs
     unprotected, as well as leavng ppes, ducts, and cables unprotected and
     penetratng nto ext routes and fire barrers.

     In order to gauge the reasonableness of the delays n abatement of these
     deficences, representatves of the General Servces Admnstraton were
     consulted. GSA montors and mantans most facltes for Executve
     Branch agences. Wth the excepton of the Old Executve Office Buldng,
     the GSA reported that such deficences are no longer found n buldngs
     of smlar condton and age n the Executve Branch n the Washngton
     DC area, and that all substandard fire barrer and ext condtons have
     been corrected. The OGC recognzes that the age and hstorc nature
     of Legslatve Branch buldngs s a substantal mpedment to prompt
     abatement. Nevertheless, the AOC was ssued ctatons n 2000 for the
     lack of enclosed starwells. These condtons reman unabated today.

     Hstory has demonstrated that the exstence of open ext starways presents
     a serous hazard wth great potental for fire fataltes. Many Legslatve
     Branch buldngs such as the Captol, Russell and Cannon buldngs were
     constructed before 1911. The nfamous Trangle Shrtwast Factory fire
     n 1911, whch resulted n the deaths of 145 persons as a result of open
     starways that could not retard the spread of fire and smoke, led to the
     development of standards for the constructon of starways, exts, and
     other features to prevent the loss of lfe n fires. The death of 84 persons
     and njury of 679 durng a fire at the MGM Grand Hotel n Las Vegas,
     Nevada, n November 1980 further demonstrates the dangers of open
     starwells and breached exts even n buldngs of newer constructon.
     Accordngly, Legslatve Branch employees and vstors contnue to reman
14   advancing safety, health, and workplace rights in the legistlative branch
                                                at sgnficant rsk to exposure durng a fire or toxc gas emergency because
                                                of these long-standng deficences.

                                                           •          Ineffectve fire doors

                                                Several ctatons have been ssued by the OGC for doors that are not
                                                properly fire-rated. As a result of the 2004 nspecton, the Government
                                                Accountablty Office was cted for havng fire doors that dd not functon
                                                properly and for not havng fire-rated doors on emergency ext starwells.
                                                Followng ssuance of ths ctaton, the GAO abated these condtons.
                                                Ext starwells wth non-fire-rated doors were also found n the recently
                                                renovated Unted States Captol Polce Cheltenham Tranng Center
                                                and the Cannon and Rayburn House Office Buldngs. The Longworth
                                                House Office Buldng starwells have no doors at all and are n need
                                                of proper protecton ncludng fire-rated doors. The AOC was cted for
                                                these volatons followng the 2000 nspecton. At that tme, the AOC
                                                represented the nstallaton would occur n 2004. The 2004 nspecton
                                                revealed that ths dd not occur. Addtonally, an emergency ext door n
                                                the Rayburn Buldng requred extensve force and repeated attempts to
                                                open. The General Counsel ssued a Notce of Serous Deficency Needng
                                                Prompt Attenton. The AOC repared ths deficency and has nsttuted an
                                                nspecton regmen requrng the nspecton of and testng of all emergency
                                                ext doors.

                                                           •.         Blocked starways and ext corrdors

                                                The nspectors found that starwells n the Supreme Court Buldng that
                                                serve as emergency ext routes for AOC employees were partally blocked
                                                by cardboard boxes and paper files stored wthn a metal file cabnet. Ths
                                                created a dual hazard - blockage and combustble materals.16

Combustible materials being stored in an exit

                                                Smlar to others n the buldng, ths starway s open and does not have

                                                16            Durng the 2004 nspecton, nspectors dscovered 11 nstances of blocked ext pathways
                                                and 16 nstances of combustbles stored mproperly n egress paths n covered nspected facltes. See
     fire-rated doors to create an effectve fire barrer. The AOC advsed the
     OGC that Supreme Court officals dd not agree to AOC’s suggested

     Many corrdors used as evacuaton routes by employees n House Office
     Buldngs are also partally, and n some cases nearly totally, blocked by
     furnture and other obstructons. Furnture stored n ths manner s often
     left to block any path to the ext. In other nstances, staff members faled
     to re-stack the furnture and clear the hallways after they had used the
     corrdors as meetng rooms.

               •          Emergency lghtng and standby power

     Standby power and emergency lghtng are ntegral to a number of safety
     systems, ncludng safe buldng evacuaton, shelter-n-place stagng areas,
     fire alarm systems, fire pump operatons, and lghted ext drectonal sgns.
     In both ts 2000 and 2002 Reports, the General Counsel urged desgn
     upgrades and ncreased standby generator capacty n the Captol Power
     Plant. See 2000 Report, p. 12; 2002 Report, pp. 23-24. Specfically, the
     2004 nspectons underscore the need to mprove electrcal stand-by power
     to operate fire pumps, fire alarms, publc address systems, emergency
     lghtng and alertng network systems, and the operaton of elevators to
     evacuate employees and vstors who are moblty-mpared. Adequate
     emergency power sources wll become even more crtcal wth the openng
     of the Captol Vstors Center to the publc.17

     The 2004 Inspecton demonstrates that sgnficant mprovement s
     needed n the mantenance and capablty of emergency lghtng sources
     and standby power capacty throughout the Legslatve Branch. The
     2000 Fre Safety Report ssued by the General Counsel documented
     the problems of nadequate lghtng. Nevertheless, thrteen locatons
     were dentfied n ths nspecton as havng nsufficent or non-exstent
     emergency ext lghtng. The battery-operated lghtng unts n the USCP
     Headquarters Buldng, the K Street Garage, the E Street S.E. Garage,
     the Longworth House Office Buldng and the Natonal Lbrary Servce
     for the Blnd and Physcally Handcapped were found to have burned-out
     lghts or uncharged batteres that needed to be replaced. Due to the lack
     of adequate mantenance, emergency lghtng nstallatons were rendered
     useless for ther ntended purpose.

     GAO was cted for a lack of emergency lghtng n 2002 when t receved
     a Notce of Deficency from the General Counsel to correct these
     deficences. When no progress was noted durng the 2004 nspecton, a
     ctaton was ssued. The GAO has snce abated these hazards.

     17         The AOC reports n comments to the Draft Report that “the Lbrary Buldng and
     Grounds s not ncluded n emergency lghtng or emergency power upgrade constructon fundng
     n the FY 2006 budget request.”

16   advancing safety, health, and workplace rights in the legistlative branch
           •          Resprators

In response to a Request for Inspecton filed by the USCP Fraternal Order
of Polce, the OGC contnues to study the efficacy of respratory protecton
equpment for escape and evacuaton durng emergency stuatons. An
escape mask s ntended only to be used to ext an area n the event of an
emergency and, unlke a self-contaned breathng apparatus (SCBA),18 t
s not to be utlzed n effectng a rescue n a contamnated envronment.
A mass procurement of the *********19 emergency escape mask was made
for most Legslatve Branch employees n 2002. After consultaton wth
experts n ths field, the OGC made recommendatons to the USCP
regardng tranng of employees n the use of such equpment whch have
been adopted. Wthn the last year, the Senate Sergeant at Arms has
procured a number of **************************************************************
******. These devces have been made avalable to employees wth moblty
mparment and to U.S. Captol Polce Officers who are assgned to evacuate
them durng emergences.20 Such devces are not meant to be used to
rescue people. NIOSH, OSHA, and the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemcal
Bologcal Center have rased concerns regardng the sutablty of *********,
and n some tests t was reported that the actual use of the model ndcated
a shorter operatng tme than stated by the manufacturer.21 A mult-agency
group composed of NIOSH, OSHA and the OGC are lookng nto ssues
concernng the ***** and ts ntended use.

The development of emergency escape resprators effectve for all chemcal,
bologcal, radologcal, and nuclear (CBRN) hazards s ongong and major
mprovements are antcpated durng the next several years. The Natonal

18         There are a number of SCBA models that have been approved by NIOSH. Certan
desgnated USCP officers have been traned n the use of SCBA’s that were acqured by the USCP n
2004 for use n provdng emergency rescue assstance.

19          The ********* emergency escape mask s consdered by experts to be an early verson of
escape masks for areas potentally contamnated wth chemcal, bologcal, radologcal or nuclear
materals. The ********* lacks an exhalaton valve and people wth dmnshed lung capactes may
experence dfficulty breathng when wearng one. See “OSHA CBRN Escape Resprators Safety
and Health Informaton Bulletn” (August 2003) and “NIOSH Interm Gudance” ( July 2003). After
ths was dscovered, the OGC advsed the USCP and tranng for users was modfied to requre the
donnng of the resprator to assure that the user can tolerate wearng t.

20           In comments provded to the Draft Report, the House Employment Counsel represents
that **** are beng dstrbuted to ndvduals who have voluntarly dentfied themselves as moblty
mpared. Tranng on the use of VRUs s an ongong process.

21           In comments provded to the Draft Report, the Senate Employment Counsel
dsagrees wth the Report’s conclusons regardng the sutablty of *********. The SEC contends
that ******************** have been “extensvely tested” and have been purchased by all branches of
the armed forces, many cty and state polce forces, the Presdent of the U.S., and many Federal
agences ncludng the ATF, CIA, FBI, Secret Servce, and State Department. The OGC, however,
s concerned about the use of ths devce because no tests have been conducted wth respect to toxc
ndustral chemcals nor the usual range of human factors such as ease n donnng the mask, duraton
of use, etc.
     Insttute for Occupatonal Safety and Health (NIOSH) tests, approves,
     and establshes mnmum qualty standards for resprator equpment for
     use n the workplace. Other governmental enttes, such as the U.S. Armed
     Forces, contnue to conduct jont testng wth NIOSH n search of more
     effectve masks and resprators. **************************************************

     The Office of General Counsel wll contnue to consult wth experts
     n the field and montor new developments n the manufacture and
     use of resprators to ensure that employng offices are afforded the best
     nformaton avalable.

                •          Summary

     As stated n the ntroducton to ths Secton on fire safety, the level of
     fire safety n Legslatve Branch buldngs remans far below that of
     comparable federal and prvate sector office buldngs. Accordng to a
     Fre Safety Engneer workng wth the General Servces Admnstraton,
     Natonal Captal Regon, Legslatve Branch buldngs “are where [other
     Washngton-area Federal Buldngs] were 25 years ago” n terms of overall
     fire safety. Condtons attrbutable to the age, hstorcty, and constructon
     of a buldng cannot, of course, be abated wthout adequate tme for
     plannng and executon. Nevertheless, when the GAO was cted for a
     lack of fire doors n 2004, they abated the volatons by March 31, 2005.
     Current proffers of abatement by the AOC, however, do not antcpate the
     correcton of many smlar hazards for many years, some not untl 2011.22

     B. Alarm and Communication Systems

     The Lfe Safety Code and OSHA fire regulatons requre that workplace
     alarms “must be capable of beng perceved above ambent nose or lght
     levels” and alternatves must be made avalable for those employees who
     cannot otherwse recognze audble or vsual alarms. 29 C.F.R. §1910.165.
     Pror Reports have dentfied systemc problems wth Legslatve Branch
     faclty alarm systems, ncludng lack of knowledge of operatonal steps to
     actvate buldng-wde alarms (1998 Report, p. 17); lack of nspecton and
     testng procedures (1998 Report, p. 17); falure to nspect and test alarm
     systems (2000 Report, p. 7); and the audblty qualty of publc address
     systems (2002 Report, p. 9-10). The 2004 nspecton revealed that many
     of these deficences stll reman.

     22             In comments to the Draft Report, the AOC challenges the comparson wth GAO
     regardng the nstallaton of fire doors. Although dfferent condtons may exst n ther respectve
     facltes, t appears to the OGC that GAO addressed ths problem wth more alacrty than the
     AOC. Thus, GAO reports that t nstalled 14 fire doors between 2004-2005. The AOC reports that
     only one fire door was nstalled n the Longworth, Cannon, and Rayburn House Office and Russell
     Senate Buldngs snce the AOC was cted for ths volaton n 2000.

18   advancing safety, health, and workplace rights in the legistlative branch
           •           Pre-sgnal sequencng

Under the Fre Code, a fire alarm system s requred that actvates a
general alarm throughout the buldng to alert occupants of fire or other
emergences n Legslatve Branch facltes. OSHA 29 CFR § 1910.165;
NFPA 101 Lfe Safety Code 2000 Edton, §§, There
are, however, two exceptons to ths requrement. Frst, a postve alarm
sequence s permtted that comples wth Secton; ths Secton,
n turn, references NFPA 72, Natonal Fre Alarm Code, 1999 Edton.
NFPA 72, Secton 1-5.4.11, allows a three-mnute delay n the actvaton
of the general alarm. Traned personnel are allowed up to 180 seconds
to nvestgate and evaluate the fire condton; f the system s not reset
by the expraton of ths perod, all alarms are actvated mmedately and
automatcally. The three-mnute delay provded by the Lfe Safety Code s
consdered a reasonable amount of tme before soundng the buldng-wde
alarm n order to permt an nvestgaton to determne whether there s a
false alarm.24

The second excepton permts a pre-sgnal system n accordance wth the
Lfe Safety Code Secton; that Secton, n turn, requres that the
ntal fire alarm system be automatcally transmtted wthout delay to a
muncpal fire department and an on-ste person traned to respond to a
fire emergency.

In December 2004, the U.S. Captol Polce Board decded to put smoke
detector and water flow sprnkler alarms25 n pre-sgnal alarm status n
the Captol and n all Senate and House Office Buldngs wth alarm pull
statons to reman n pre-alarm status n the Captol. Alarm pull statons
that had prevously been put n pre-sgnal status n all Senate and House
buldngs were restored to general alarm upon actvaton. Accordngly, the
AOC has reactvated pull statons n the Senate and House Office Buldngs,

23           In response to the Draft Report, the AOC challenges relance on the Lfe Safety Code
because t s not an OSHA standard. The AOC clams that the OGC s lmted to enforcng OSHA
standards. The OGC dsagrees wth that assessment. In the absence of specfic OSHA standards,
OSHA tself looks to “consensus” standards, such as the Lfe Safety Code, to be enforced through
the “General Duty Clause”. See Secton 5(a)(1) of the OSH Act. More specfically, n regard to
fire safety standards, OSHA apples the Lfe Safety Code to nterpret ts own performance-orented

24          The use of a pre-sgnal procedure was ntally approved wth respect to smoke detector
devces that could be very senstve and set off even wth cgar smoke. See the NFPA 72 code, p.
72-13 of the 1999 edton, and p. 72-15 of the 2002 edton. Typcally, however, there should be no
smlar need to delay fire sprnkler water flow alarms snce they are desgned to actvate when the
presence of substantal heat or fire s sensed. Whle n the past there have been very lmted occasons
when water pressure surges may have caused water flow alarm actvaton n Legslatve Branch
buldngs, ths condton could be obvated by the nstallaton of proper check valves to mnmze
these water surges.

25          Water flow alarms detect the movement of water nsde the sprnkler system’s ppes,
thereby trggerng an alarm sgnal.

     but left them on pre-sgnal n the Captol. The Office of Complance was
     not consulted concernng the foregong changes.

     Under a pre-alarm sequence, all alarm actvatons, whether from a smoke
     detector or water flow alarm, first show up at the fire alarm panel and
     then are drected to the USCP Polce Communcatons Center (PCC)
     nstead of trggerng a general alarm. The PCC dspatches officers to
     nvestgate the source of the alarm to determne whether there s a need to
     sound a buldng-wde alarm. Ths process delays the ntaton of several
     sgnficant preventve measures - the closng of fire doors, the notficaton
     of the Dstrct of Columba Fre Department, and, most mportant, the
     notficaton to employees and vstors through the soundng of a general
     alarm to promptly vacate the buldng. These delays typcally exceed the
     three (3) mnute delay permssble under the Fre and Safety Standards
     establshed by OSHA, as dscussed above. The Natonal Assocaton of
     Fre Protecton reports that fires can double n sze per mnute. NFPA
     Fre Protecton Handbook (18th Edton), pp. 1-85 -1-86.

     The procedures followed n the House and Senate Office Buldngs do
     not comply wth ether excepton to the Fre Code requrement (dscussed
     above) that a fire alarm system automatcally actvate a general alarm
     throughout the buldng to alert occupants of fire or other emergences
     n Legslatve Branch facltes. The systems do not provde a postve
     alarm sequence because the alarms are not mmedately and automatcally
     actvated upon the expraton of 180 seconds. NFPA 72, Natonal Fre
     Alarm Code, 1999 Edton, Secton 1-5.4.11. Rather, the current procedure
     requres human nterventon to actvate the general buldng-wde alarm.
     Nor does t consttute a complant pre-sgnal system snce the ntal fire
     alarm sgnal s not “automatcally transmtted wthout delay” to the DC
     Fre Department. NFPA 101 Lfe Safety Code, Secton

     Moreover, n practce, the use of pre-alarm procedures n the Senate
     and House Office Buldngs n some nstances causes ncreased and
     unacceptable delays n notfyng buldng occupants of potental dangers
     and the need to evacuate. Durng the 2004 nspecton, USCP officers
     estmated that n some Senate Office Buldngs t would take up to 15-20
     mnutes for them to be able to locate the smoke detector, water flow alarm,
     or pull staton and ascertan whether a condton exsted that warranted
     soundng a general alarm n order to evacuate the buldng. Gven the
     larger sze of the House Office Buldngs, the tme needed to nvestgate
     n those facltes could take at least as much tme as that requred n the
     Senate Office Buldngs.

     Whle the restoraton of pull alarms n the Senate and House Office
     Buldngs to general alarm status s a postve step, the contnuaton of
     sprnkler water flow alarms and smoke detectors on pre-sgnal n the Senate
20   advancing safety, health, and workplace rights in the legistlative branch
                         and House Office Buldngs s of great concern.26 The delays created by
                         the pre-sgnal sequence pose partcular dangers to employees and vstors
                         wth physcal mparments. Because of the large crowds of vstors, many
                         of whom are students and famles wth young chldren and are unfamlar
                         wth ext pathways and evacuaton procedures, undue delay n sgnalng
                         the exstence of a potental fire emergency appears unwarranted. Ths s
                         partcularly true gven the dearth of evdence of a hstory of ntentonal
                         false alarms n these facltes.

                         The condtons that exst n several of these buldngs brng added urgency
                         to prompt notficaton to buldng occupants. The Russell Senate Office
                         Buldng, the Longworth House Office Buldng, and the Captol all are
                         essentally one fire zone buldngs, a structural condton that allows the
                         spread of smoke and toxc gases to easly travel from one floor to another.
                         There are no effectve fire barrers to block or retard the growth and spread
                         of fire and assocated toxc gases and smoke. Employees on the upper
                         floors and those who are dsabled wll be at the greatest rsk as the heat
                         from a fire wll drve these gases and smoke nto the top levels va open
                         ext starways and other vertcal openngs wthn these buldngs. Even
                         n buldngs wth partal fire sprnkler coverage large quanttes of smoke
                         and gases can be generated from a moderate szed fire; whle the sprnklers
                         may retard the growth of the fire they may be unable to extngush t. The
                         stuaton may also be exacerbated by the presence of large quanttes of
                         paper and other combustbles wthn these buldngs. In sum, the earlest
                         possble notficaton to buldng occupants of a potental fire emergency s
                         essental f they are to have sufficent tme to promptly and safely evacuate
                         these facltes.

                                    •          Covered smoke detectors

                         The dangers assocated wth the pre-sgnal sequencng descrbed above
                         are compounded by the contnung problem of covered smoke detectors.
                         The nspecton team found that at least seven smoke detectors throughout
                         Legslatve Branch facltes were covered at some tme n the past for
                         constructon work and the covers were not removed when the work was
                         completed. These falures rendered the detectors neffectve as an early
                         warnng system.

Capped smoke detector.

                         26         The AOC Fre Marshall has endorsed the use of the pre-sgnal sequence n the Captol
                         where there s a larger number of traned officers on duty to enable them to complete an nvestgaton
                         wthn 3-4 mnutes.
               •          Vsual alarm systems

     The 2004 nspecton team found that some Legslatve Branch fire alarm
     systems have been modfied to nstall vsual alarm devces to ad n the
     emergency warnng of the hearng-mpared as requred by the Lfe
     Safety Code. Several buldngs, ncludng the Constructon Management
     Dvson Buldng at Blue Plans, the Russell and Hart Senate Office
     Buldngs Garage, and the Supreme Court Buldng, have not yet
     upgraded ther audble alarm systems. A partal nstallaton now exsts n
     the Captol Buldng.

               •          Lack of fire alarm systems

     Followng the 2002 nspecton, the General Counsel ssued a Notce
     of Deficency to the AOC for the lack of any fire alarm system n the
     Constructon Management Dvson Buldng. The 2004 nspecton
     revealed that an audble-only alarm system has snce been nstalled. The
     AOC has been advsed that the lack of any alarm system n the E Street
     Garage consttutes a volaton of the Lfe Safety Code.

     The Drector of the Office of Securty and Emergency Preparedness
     for the LOC recently reported that an updated publc address system s
     scheduled to be nstalled n LOC buldngs by 2006. See “LOC Unvels
     Revsed Evacuaton Plan,” Roll Call, June 15, 2005: p. 3.

     C. Evacuation of Employees and Visitors with Disabilities

     The publc servces and accommodatons provsons of the ADA, OSHA,
     and NFPA provde equal access rghts to employees and vstors wth
     dsabltes. See Secton 210 of the CAA, 2 U.S.C. §1331.27 These rghts
     relate, n part, to health and safety matters, ncludng equal access to safe
     evacuaton procedures durng emergences. Thus, f provson s made for
     the evacuaton of vstors wthout dsabltes n the event of an emergency,
     evacuaton plans must also be developed to assure the prompt evacuaton
     of vstors wth dsabltes as well.

     Whle there are elements n common between OSHA and ADA
     requrements wth respect to the safe evacuaton of both vstors and
     employees wth dsabltes, the followng dscusson focuses on Legslatve
     Branch employees.

     27         The General Counsel reports to Congress on the status of complance wth these
     provsons of the ADA n a separate Bennal Report.

22   advancing safety, health, and workplace rights in the legistlative branch
           •           Emergency egress of persons wth dsabltes

Several deficences were dentfied durng the 2004 nspecton that adversely
affect the ablty of employees wth moblty-mparments to safely and
promptly evacuate Legslatve Branch buldngs. These deficences nclude
the lack of fire barrers n starwells and the absence of adequate fire-rated
doors, pre-sgnal sequencng of alarm systems,28 lmted accessble egress
ponts, napproprately stuated stagng areas, absence of accurate wall maps
dsplayng emergency nformaton, and lack of communcaton capabltes
to notfy the PCC of employees wth dsabltes requrng assstance at
stagng areas.

The lack of fire barrers and adequate fire doors poses a unque rsk for
the moblty-mpared snce they frequently requre longer perods to
evacuate durng an emergency evacuaton, or must wat for assstance from
co-workers or emergency responders. Therefore, any delay n soundng a
buldng-wde alarm creates a substantally greater rsk for these employees;
these dangers are not merely hypothetcal. Snce January 2003, fifty actual
penetratons of prohbted arspace over the Captol and Whte House
have occurred. See Submtted Testmony of Wlson Lvngood, House
Sergeant at Arms Before the Commttee on House Admnstraton,
Unted States House of Representatves ( June 9, 2005). Any one of these
penetratons could have led to an evacuaton of Captol Hll buldngs such
as that prompted durng the State Funeral for former Presdent Reagan
and durng the recent evacuaton on May 11, 2005.

Many employees wth moblty mparments have the ablty to move
themselves to safety when faced wth a stuaton requrng evacuaton.
However, several mpedments to safe and prompt egress were found by
the nspecton team. One s the lack of accessble egress dscharge ponts.
OSHA regulatons requre that at least twoseparate exts must be avalable
for emergency evacuaton of employees. 29 C.F.R. §1910.36(b)(1). These
routes must assure the safe evacuaton of each employee. Snce employees
wth dsabltes, such as those n wheelchars, may requre specal
accommodaton n order to safely evacuate a faclty, the ext route must
be configured to meet ther partcular needs. OSHA requrements for
accessble egress routes are specfied n the Natonal Lfe Safety Code and
are the same as provded n the ADA regulatons.29

Deficences n the provson of safe evacuaton routes for employees wth
dsabltes were dentfied durng the 2004 nspecton. For example, ********

28          Dscusson of these ssues s addressed n greater detal n other Sectons of ths Report.
Please see Secton II.A for a dscusson on starwells and fire doors, and Secton II.B regardng pre-
sgnal sequencng.

29         See 29 C.F.R. §1910.35 - “an accessble means of egress should comply wth the accessble
route requrements of CABO/ANSI A 117.1, American National Standard for Accessible and Usable
Buildings and Facilities; see also NFPA 101 Lfe Safety Code 2000 §A.
     *************************************************************************** A number
     of areas could be modfied to create addtonal accessble dscharge ponts
     from the buldng. ***************************************************************
     ***************** Another ramp on Consttuton Avenue s too steep and
     does not have complant handrals that are desgned to allow employees
     n wheelchars to grasp the handbars. Ths desgn flaw could easly create
     a backup for those attemptng to escape or njury to wheelchar users n
     the event they should use ths ramp as an escape route n an emergency.
     Accordngly, ths ext should be posted wth sgnage warnng that the
     ext should not be used by employees n wheelchars n the event of an
     evacuaton.30 The curb cuts on the North sde of the Drksen Senate Office
     Buldng also are too steep and create a smlar hazard for wheelchar users.
     In a recent ntervew wth The Hill, Representatve Jm Langevn of Rhode
     Island expressed concern about the lack of accessble ramps from the
     House Chambers n the Captol Buldng that lmts the number of exts
     for ndvduals who are moblty-mpared. See “People wth Dsabltes
     Told to Wat at Stars n an Evacuaton,” The Hill, June 1, 2005.

     The absence of wall maps s another sgnficant mpedment that may
     hnder the evacuaton of employees wth moblty-mparments. Wall
     maps provde necessary emergency nformaton such as drectons and
     accessble exts for an evacuaton. The falure to post and communcate
     emergency ext routes was noted n the first Bennal Report ssued n
     1996. See 1996 Report, p. 11. In several buldngs, wall maps are avalable,
     but are not current.

                •           Stagng areas

     Employees awatng assstance to leave the buldng durng an evacuaton
     must be provded safe assembly areas untl help arrves. Whle not
     complant wth the Lfe Safety Code provsons that requre protected

     30          In exstng facltes, the removal of structural barrers to access s requred under Ttle
     III of the ADA when ther removal s “readly achevable”. Examples of barrer removal consdered
     to be “readly achevable” ncludes the constructon of complant curb cuts at sdewalks and
     entrances, nstallng ramps, wdenng doors, and nstallng accessble door hardware.

24   advancing safety, health, and workplace rights in the legistlative branch
areas of refuge”, 31 certan assembly areas n Captol Hll buldngs
have been desgnated as “stagng areas” for employees wth moblty-
mparments. In order to serve ther ntended purposes, these stagng areas
should, to the extent possble, provde protecton from smoke and toxc
gases, emergency lghtng that wll operate durng a power outage, and
modfied communcatons systems that allow use by employees who are
vson, hearng, or speakng mpared to call for assstance. See NFPA 101-
2000, Lfe Safety Code §, §, § In the Captol
and Longworth House Office Buldngs, landngs near open starways
have been desgnated as stagng areas. These locatons carry greater rsk
than areas that are more protected because the chmney effect of heat and
toxc gases could rapdly overwhelm employees watng for assstance.
The landngs also are part of the evacuaton route for the vast majorty of
employees n these buldngs. Durng an emergency the ncreased traffic
could overwhelm these areas and create an addtonal hazard for employees
watng for needed assstance.

The age and desgn of the House and Senate Office Buldngs do not afford
many optons for safe and effectve stagng areas. Some buldngs, however,
do have properly located stagng areas. For example, the Russell Senate
Office Buldng provdes two desgnated areas - one as the prmary and the
other as the backup f the first locaton s compromsed. They are located
close to freght elevators that wll be operated by USCP Officers wth a
key durng an emergency n order to control access. However, the Russell
stagng areas stll would allow smoke and toxc gases to easly rse from
floor to floor.

           •           Communcaton systems

In order to assure safe rescue, stagng areas must provde a means of
communcaton so that employees wth dsabltes can be made aware of
the need to evacuate or for the employees to notfy emergency responders
that they are n need of assstance. NFPA 101-2000, Lfe Safety Code §; See also, 28 CFR Pt. 36 App. A § Communcatons
systems must be wthn reach of those n wheelchars and must sgnal the

31          The Lfe Safety Code provdes for “areas of refuge” as part of a requred accessble means
of egress from buldngs durng a fire emergency. NFPA 101-2000, Lfe Safety Code § 7.2.12. An
area of refuge s defined by the Code as “a space located n a path of travel leadng to a publc way
that s protected from the effects of fire, ether by means of separaton from other spaces n the same
buldng or by vrtue of locaton, thereby permttng a delay n egress travel from any level.” Lfe
Safety Code §3.3.14(2). The Code sets forth certan requrements for an area wthn a buldng to
consttute a Code-complant area of refuge. See Code § 7.2.12. Because many of the buldngs on
Captol Hll do not meet the requrements necessary to provde adequate areas of refuge, the USCP
has desgnated areas wthn these buldngs where ndvduals wth moblty-mparments go to awat
the arrval of officers or other rescuers to assst n evacuatng them as “stagng areas” rather than areas
of refuge. Most Captol Hll buldngs are not protected throughout by an approved, supervsed
automatc sprnkler system, and buldngs, such as the Captol, and the Longworth and Russell office
buldngs do not meet basc Lfe Safety Code requrements, such as enclosed starwells. Accordngly,
every effort should be made to promptly upgrade exstng condtons n stagng areas to meet, to the
extent possble, the standards requred for areas of refuge, and to mnmze tme spent n these areas
by ndvduals wth moblty-mparments to assure that they are evacuated as soon as possble.
     locaton to the responders for those employees who are unable to speak.
     Most desgnated stagng areas currently do not provde these capabltes.

     Problems of ths nature are not solated to the Legslatve Branch, however.
     In a report released on Aprl 15, 2005, the Natonal Organzaton on
     Dsablty (NOD) noted that employees wth dsabltes are routnely
     left out of emergency preparedness and evacuaton plannng. The NOD
     also reported that natonwde only 16 percent of employers provde
     nformaton n a format that s usable by those employees wth vson
     or hearng mparments. To ths end, the AOC has made some progress
     nstallng vsual strobe alarms to accommodate the hearng-mpared,
     and the LOC s provdng vbratng pagers to employees wth vson and
     hearng mparments.

               •         Tranng

     Employng offices are responsble to approprately tran those ndvduals
     who alert and assst persons wth dsabltes. Specfic tranng s needed
     n the proper operaton of specal equpment and how to communcate
     nstructons to employees wth vson and hearng mparments durng an
     evacuaton. Recent fire drlls n the Senate Office Buldngs, for example,
     have ncluded practce n the use of freght elevators to assst n the
     evacuaton of employees wth dsabltes.

     Durng an evacuaton of Lbrary of Congress buldngs on May 11,
     2005 (that post-dates the 108th Congress but s ndcatve of problems
     dentfied by the OGC nspecton team), employees who had volunteered
     to evacuate other employees requrng assstance were drected to evacuate
     the buldng ten mnutes after an alarm was sounded. Ths acton had
     the effect of strandng employees who requred assstance. Unon
     representatves alleged n a Request for Inspecton that elevators that could
     have been used by employees wth moblty-mparments for evacuaton
     were taken out of servce by the emergency personnel and sent to the ext
     level. Ths matter s currently under nvestgaton by the OGC.

     D. Fire Sprinkler Systems

     Next to early warnng alarms, the most mportant means of protectng
     the lves of Legslatve Branch employees from the hazards of fire, smoke,
     and toxc gases s the presence of an effectve fire sprnkler system. As
     already noted, effectve systems contan a water flow alarm that detects the
     movement of water nsde the system’s ppes, thereby trggerng an alarm
     sgnal. 29 C.F.R. §1910.37(a)(4).

               •         Lack of sprnkler systems

     A contnung problem, mentoned by the General Counsel n the ntal
26   advancing safety, health, and workplace rights in the legistlative branch
1996 and subsequent Reports, s that many Legslatve Branch buldngs
are not protected by fire sprnkler systems. 1996 Report, pp. 11-12. The
2004 nspecton revealed sgnficant mprovements n ths regard. The
AOC has expanded fire sprnkler coverage to the Rayburn HOB, parts
of the Captol, and the Power Plant Admnstraton Buldng, and has
nstalled new fire pumps to enhance the effectveness of exstng sprnkler
systems. However, as dscussed n Secton II.B. above, the nspecton team
was partcularly concerned about the delays occasoned by the pre-sgnal
features of the House and Senate Office Buldngs water flow sprnkler and
smoke detector alarm systems.

In other facltes, the deficences are more pronounced. Sprnkler
systems have not been nstalled n at least one new buldng, the USCP
Cheltenham Tranng Center, and one exstng buldng, the E Street
Garage. Other buldngs, such as the Natonal Lbrary Servce for the Blnd
and Physcally Handcapped, garages, and the loadng dock areas have only
partal coverage. ********************************************************************
************ Many Captol Hll buldngs have some or most of ther areas
covered by a sprnkler system. However, most stll have areas that are not
covered. To encourage buldng owners to nstall sprnkler systems, the Lfe
Safety Code exempts from certan safety requrements when a buldng s
fully sprnklered. For example, exstng busness buldngs wth complete
sprnkler coverage may ncrease ther common path of travel from 75 feet
to 100 feet and the acceptable ext travel dstance s ncreased to 300 feet
rather than 200 feet. 32 Buldngs that have complete sprnkler coverage are
also exempted from havng to provde areas of refuge. However, buldngs
lackng complete sprnkler coverage or basc Lfe Safety Code complant
condtons are not enttled to any of these exemptons.

           •          Blocked sprnklers

The 2002 Report expressed concern that nstances of blocked and
obstructed sprnkler heads were found n all nspected Legslatve Branch
facltes. 2002 Report, pp. 34 - 36. Whle some progress has been made
n complyng wth the OSHA and NFPA standards, the nspecton team
found 86 nstances of obstructon and falure to mantan the requred
eghteen nches of separaton between the sprnkler heads and obstructons.
See 29 C.F.R. §1910.159(c)(10); NFPA #25, §2-2.1.2. Most of these
obstructons provded no clearance whatsoever.

32           Most Congressonal office buldngs serve a dual purpose. They contan both offices and
hearng and commttee rooms. When hearngs occur and large numbers of people are present, the
fire zone wthn whch the hearng room s located s consdered an assembly area under Fre Code
requrements. In buldngs lke the Longworth HOB that lack fire barrers, the entre buldng s
consdered to be a sngle fire zone. Therefore, the Longworth HOB (and other buldngs used n
the same manner) must meet the requrements for an exstng assembly occupancy rather than the
less strngent requrements for a busness occupancy. The Lfe Safety Code requrements are more
strngent for assembly occupances (Secton For example, the travel dstance for assembly
occupances decreases to 150 feet. In any event, the Longworth HOB does not meet travel dstances
for ether busness or assembly occupances.
Combustible materials stored above sprinkler

                                               E. Electrical Hazards

                                               Electrcal hazards have been dentfied by each OGC nspecton team
                                               datng back to the ntal Report n 1996. Usng a more comprehensve
                                               approach, the 2004 nspecton team tested nearly every accessble electrcal
                                               outlet n the areas nspected. The electrcal deficences dentfied were
                                               systemc and serous. Workplace electrcal hazards are dentfied n the
                                               Natonal Electrcal Code and OSHA Regulatons at 29 C.F.R. §1910.301
                                               et seq. Unabated electrcal hazards pose a drect physcal danger to
                                               ndvdual employees and a general fire danger to Legslatve Branch

                                               Of partcular note s the fact that the General Counsel ssued 17 Notces
                                               of Serous Deficency Needng Prompt Attenton as a result of the 2004
                                               nspecton. Nne of those were for electrcal-related hazards. Several of
                                               these problem areas are dscussed below.

                                                         •         Electrcal boxes, outlets, and swtches

                                               The nspecton team dentfied 170 hazardous electrcal boxes, outlets,
                                               and swtches wth exposed, energzed wres. Many of these wres were
                                               wthn employee reach. A majorty of these hazards qualfied as RAC 2
                                               n severty requrng prompt correcton. Several qualfied for RAC 1 n
                                               severty requrng mmedate attenton. As dscussed n the Executve
                                               Summary of ths Report, the number of hgh RAC ratngs s surprsng.
                                               See Secton I.D. A Notce of Serous Deficency Needng Prompt
                                               Attenton was ssued to the AOC for an open electrcal box nsde a dark
                                               area wth exposed and energzed wres hangng from a low celng n the
                                               E Street Buldng. Ths hazard was promptly abated by the AOC.

          28                                   advancing safety, health, and workplace rights in the legistlative branch
Blanks missing in electrical panel exposes
employees to live contacts.

                                             Hazards of ths type were specfically noted n the 1998 and 2002 Reports.
                                             1998 Report, p. 21; 2002 Report, pp. 39-40. Many reman unabated.

                                                     •        Impeded access to electrcal panelboards

                                             In the event of emergency, t s mperatve that electrcans and other
                                             authorzed ndvduals be able to dentfy where electrcal panels are
                                             located and to access them quckly. The panelboard tself must provde
                                             an accurate, current drectory of ts crcuts. Earler Reports dentfied
                                             numerous nstances where access to electrcal panelboards was mpeded by
                                             the napproprate placement of furnture. 1998 Report, p. 24. In 2004, the
                                             nspecton team stll found nstances where stored materals, equpment, or
                                             furnture blocked the front of electrcal panels. More wdespread, however,
                                             was the findng that the crcut breaker drectores n most panelboards
                                             were not current n dentfyng newly-added crcut breakers, whle others
                                             had no drectory at all. Volatons of ths nature were found at 123 dfferent
                                             locatons. Sgnficant mprovement s necessary to ensure access to the
                                             panelboards and to mantan the crcut drectores.

                                                     •        Ground fault crcut nterrupters

                                             Ground fault crcut nterrupters (GFCI) protect employees from electrcal
                                             shock hazards when workng around or near wet or damp locatons.
                                             Wthout a GFCI, a faulty electrcal applance could delver a fatal shock.
                                             The nstallaton of GFCIs on outlets s relatvely smple and nexpensve.
                                             However, the 2004 nspectons found that 120 locatons needed the
                                             nstallaton or replacement of faulty ground fault crcut nterrupters. Three
                                             Serous Deficency Needng Prompt Attenton Notces were ssued to the
                                             AOC n ths regard.

Electric outlet near sink is not a ground fault
circuit interrupter (GFCI).

                                                   The 2002 Report addressed the mportance of nstallng GFCIs throuhout
                                                   Legslatve Branch buldngs. The 2004 nspecton revealed an overall
                                                   ncrease n ther number. However, the number of hazard findngs ndcates
                                                   that further mprovement s necessary. In partcular, all employng offices
                                                   must ncorporate perodc nspecton and mantenance of these mportant
                                                   safety devces.

                                                             •         Extenson cords, power cords, and plugs

                                                   The 2004 nspecton revealed a contnung practce n all nspected facltes
                                                   that creates a sgnficant fire hazard. A total of 450 locatons were found
                                                   to be usng extenson cords as permanent wrng or creatng a “dasy chan”
                                                   wheren power strps or surge protectors were lnked to extend ther reach
                                                   or ncrease capacty.

Daisy chain of power strips to create additional

                                                   Both of these condtons volate the Natonal Electrcal Code and OSHA
                                                   requrements. 29 C.F.R. §1910.303 and NFPA 70-1999, §305-3. These
           30                                      advancing safety, health, and workplace rights in the legistlative branch
standards establsh that extenson cords may not be used as permanent
wrng and ther use may not exceed a 90-day perod. Accordng to the
Natonal Fre Protecton Assocaton, electrcal dstrbuton equpment,
such as extenson cords, was the second leadng cause of fire deaths n the
U.S. between 1994 and 1998, causng 91 deaths and $116 mllon n drect
property damage.

Specfic stuatons appear to lend themselves to the msuse of extenson
cords. For example, obsolete modular workstatons are used n many
areas of the USCP Headquarters Buldng. These workstatons no longer
contan the orgnal electrcal fixtures. Therefore, power was provded to
these modular unts by an array of extenson cords. Such use of extenson
cords as permanent wrng s mproper. The Government Accountablty
Office also had an excessve number of extenson cord volatons. Of the
373 nstances of mproper use of extenson cords, 137 occurred n GAO
offices. As a result, a Serous Deficency Needng Prompt Attenton
Notce was ssued to the GAO for ts excessve use of extenson cords as
permanent wrng. GAO has snce abated ths deficency and made major
efforts towards procurng power strps and surge protectors to replace
extenson cords. The Chef Admnstratve Officer (CAO) of the House
and the AOC have commtted to procurng longer power strps and surge
protectors to obvate the need to create unsafe chan extensons n other

The large number of volatons regardng power cords s sgnficant. The
2004 nspecton covered only 25% of the square footage of Legslatve
Branch facltes, and dd not nclude the offices or hearng rooms n the
House and Senate. Volatons of ths nature are typcally found n such
office settngs.

Smlar to the problems noted wth extenson cords, the 2004 nspecton
team found a contnung problem wth electrcal powered equpment
havng damaged power cords or three-prong plugs mssng the thrd ground
prong. Both of these condtons create a sgnficant rsk of electrcal shock.
Most electrcal devces are desgned so that when a fault or short occurs,
the current s carred back to the breaker box through the safety ground
wre, the thrd prong. If the ground wre s mssng, the current grounds
through another source - typcally the user of the devce. One or both
of these hazards were found n 190 peces of electrcal equpment. The
rsk from these hazards s not nsgnficant, but the correcton s typcally
smple. In most cases where a deficency was noted n the plug or cord, the
employng office representatve voluntarly corrected t promptly durng or
mmedately after the nspecton.

        •        Portable space heaters

The 2004 nspecton team noted a wdespread problem regardng the use
of portable space heaters n a varety of Legslatve Branch buldngs. Pror
                          Reports dd not specfically address ths ssue. In 2004, the General
                          Counsel noted 82 volatons regardng the use of heaters that were ether
                          not certfied or defectve. Typcally, the OGC nspecton team found
                          portable heaters n use under desks n close proxmty to or touchng paper
                          files and other combustble materals. Some were found wth metal sdes
                          rusted through, others wth defectve electrcal cords that had been taped,
                          and stll others were plugged nto unapproved extenson cords. Several
                          were found abuttng melted plastc wastebaskets.

                          Approved commercal portable space heaters are equpped wth a “tp-
                          over” swtch that shuts off electrcal current to the devce when t falls over,
                          thereby preventng carpet and paper fires. Portable heaters wthout ths
                          feature have caused many fires n homes and busnesses. For example, at
                          the tme of the draftng of ths Report, a George Washngton Unversty
                          student apartment suffered a devastatng and fatal dormtory fire that was
                          caused by a defectve portable space heater.

                                    •          Desk fans

                          Pror nspecton teams and Reports also dd not address the approprate
                          use of smaller electrcal equpment, such as portable desk fans. The use of
                          small electrc devces create a sgnficant hazard n the workplace when not
                          properly mantaned. Many of these are older models wth wde openngs
                          that can sgnficantly njure the fingers and toes of employees. The 2004
                          nspecton team found five defectve portable fans wth face-guards that
                          were ether substandard, damaged, or removed. 33
                          One of the prmary purposes of the Occupatonal Safety and Health Act s
                          to lmt the exposure of employees n the workplace to controllable health
                          hazards. 29 C.F.R. §1910, Subpart Z (Toxc and Hazardous Substances).
                          To ths end, the Office of General Counsel montors these condtons n
                          ts perodc nspectons pursuant to Secton 215(e) of the Congressonal
                          Accountablty Act and through nvestgatons ntated upon the wrtten
                          request of a covered employee pursuant to Secton 215(c). 2 U.S.C.

III. Health Hazards and   A. Events Involving Chemical and Biological Agents
                          The 2001 terrorst attacks on New York, Washngton, D.C., and
                          Pennsylvana brought emergency preparedness to the forefront of Captol
                          Hll and Legslatve Branch realtes. 2002 Report, p. 3. The threats
                          posed by chemcal and bologcal terrorsm contnue to pose a sgnficant
                          potental health hazard to all employees of the Legslatve Branch. It s

                          33          OSHA mandates that the openngs n workplace fans may not exceed 1/2 nch n
                          dameter or wdth. 29 C.F.R. §1910.212(a)(5).

      32                  advancing safety, health, and workplace rights in the legistlative branch
therefore necessary for all employng offices to acheve full complance wth
the requrements for wrtten procedures, tranng and personal protecton
equpment (PPE) establshed by OSHA to protect emergency responders
and employees n the event of any ncdent nvolvng the release of chemcal
and bologcal agents. 29 C.F.R. §1910.120(q). These requrements were
establshed n 1989 by Congressonal mandate.

In 2004, the Department of Homeland Securty mandated that all
emergency responders be traned n the Natonal Incdent Management
System (NIMS). The goal of the NIMS s to foster communcaton and
coordnaton between separate emergency response agences. For Captol
Hll, the Unfied Command Group ncludes the Unted States Captol
Polce, the Federal Bureau of Investgaton, the Senate Sergeant at Arms,
the House Sergeant at Arms, and the Dstrct of Columba Emergency
Preparedness Drector.

The General Counsel has ssued several ctatons to address deficences
n the actons and procedures employed by the USCP n ts response to
and procedures regardng chemcal and bologcal ncdents. The USCP
was cted n 2002 for exposng ts officers and others to potental anthrax
contamnaton durng the response to the anthrax ncdents of 2002. See
2002 Report, p. 12. The Report noted, however, that the OGC and the
USCP had not reached an understandng regardng the condtons under
whch the USCP would provde nformaton deemed to be securty-
senstve by the USCP. The partes recently entered nto a memorandum
of understandng that defines the condtons under whch the USCP wll
provde access to USCP nformaton that the USCP asserts s securty-

Four Requests for Inspecton were filed n 2003 and 2004 by the USCP
Fraternal Order of Polce, on behalf of ts barganng unt members regardng
chemcal or bologcal emergences. One Request alleged confuson of
roles between the USCP and LOC Polce n respondng to emergences
of ths nature. The General Counsel’s nvestgaton outlned the apparent
deficences n the coordnaton efforts between the two agences. Most
suggestons offered by the General Counsel were adopted. The most
sgnficant mprovement resulted from an agreement between the USCP
and LOC Polce that the USCP Hazardous Devces Unt (HDU) wll
respond to any suspcous package emergences wthn any LOC buldng.

Other Requests filed by the LOC’s FOP focused on the LOC Polce’s
response to the release of unknown chemcal substances. In some ncdents,
LOC Polce Officers were sent as escorts of contamnated vctms to
the health unt wthout protectve equpment to protect them from
contamnaton. In other ncdents, the Polce Officers were neffectve
n controllng the spread of contamnaton when exposed vctms left the
contamnaton scene to proceed to the Health Unt wthout assstance or
contanment. In others, areas where suspect substances were released were
     cleaned before samples could be saved and evaluated to determne ther
     nature n order to develop an approprate response plan.
     The extent to whch the USCP has made mprovements for the protecton
     of ts officers and to ts procedures for respondng to such emergences
     s presently unknown to the General Counsel. Because t vews such
     nformaton to be securty senstve, the USCP dened OGC access to
     ts abatement schedules and emergency plan procedures for respondng
     to chemcal and bologcal ncdents. However, as noted, the partes have
     recently agreed upon procedures whereby the USCP wll provde the
     OGC wth access to securty senstve documents.

     B. Methylene Chloride

     Methylene chlorde s a volatle chemcal that has been used as a strppng
     agent and ndustral lubrcant. Snce 1998, ts use has been strctly regulated
     by OSHA because of ts carcnogenc nature and the knowledge that t
     causes respratory dstress, depress the nervous and cardovascular systems,
     damage to the lver and kdneys, and eye rrtaton. For ths reason, the
     use of and exposure to methylene chlorde s subject to strct montorng
     and exposure control requrements. See 29 C.F.R. §1910.1052.

     As part of the 1998 Report, the OGC nspecton team recommended
     that the AOC and the Senate Sergeant at Arms furnture refinshng
     shops substtute non-toxc furnture strppers n place of the methylene
     chlorde-based agents used at that tme. See 1998 Report, p. 35. If
     methylene chlorde s used, the specfic procedures establshed by OSHA
     must be strctly followed. The AOC commtted to phasng out all use of
     ths chemcal.

     Durng the 2004 nspectons, the nspecton team found methylene
     chlorde stll n use n four AOC work areas and beng used mproperly.
     The AOC’s Constructon Management Dvson (CMD) was found to be
     usng a furnture strpper contanng large amounts of methylene chlorde
     for the purpose of strppng old pant and varnsh from large doors. The
     OGC team dentfied several addtonal problems: employees were unaware
     of the hazardous nature of the chemcal and had not been advsed to wear
     protectve equpment to prevent nhalaton or skn absorpton; the AOC
     safety manager was unaware that the chemcal was beng used wthn the
     CMD; and the celng exhaust vents to the ventlaton system located over
     the work area resulted n the chemcal vapors beng pulled from the work
     table, drectly past the employees’ breathng zone.

     The nspecton team also found methylene chlorde stll beng used as
     a carpet softener n the Senate AOC carpet shop and as a lubrcant n
     the E Street Garage. Employees n both of these work areas were not
     aware of the serous health hazards assocated wth the chemcal. No
     Materal Data Safety Sheet (MSDS) as requred by 29 C.F.R.§1910.1200
34   advancing safety, health, and workplace rights in the legistlative branch
was avalable for the methylene chlorde lubrcant n the E Street garage.
Addtonal contaners of chemcals contanng 90% methylene chlorde
were found n the U.S. Captol Buldng pant storage area. The Senate’s
chemcal suppler had twce been requested to send a correct MSDS; an
ncorrect one was sent on both occasons. Ths hazard s sgnficant because
the MSDS nforms employees of what chemcals are present, how they
should be handled, and what precautons to employ should a cleanup be

The General Counsel determned that these deficences warranted a RAC 1
ratng requrng mmedate abatement. Two Notces of Serous Deficency
Needng Prompt Attenton were ssued to the AOC. As a result, the AOC
has represented that t removed all methylene chlorde-based chemcals
from ts nventory and swtched to the use of safer substtutes.

C. Hazard Communication

The General Counsel’s nspecton team found as part of the 2004 nspecton
that many work areas and employng offices throughout the Legslatve
Branch contnue to use hazardous chemcals. Many of these work areas
dd not have any, and most dd not have all, materal safety data sheets
requred by 29 C.F.R. §1910.1200. Absent readly accessble MSDS sheets,
employees workng n these areas may not be aware of the hazards posed by
the chemcals and the means they can and should employ to protect ther
health and physcal well-beng.

The MSDS s one of the most effectve and efficent preventatve measures
avalable to protect employees from the hazards that these chemcals pose.
For the most part, the MSDS s avalable for vewng on and downloadng
from the manufacturer’s webste. Under OSHA standards, an MSDS
must provde a mnmum set of nformaton for each chemcal, such as
maxmum allowable health exposure levels, the specfic hazards assocated
wth exposure to the chemcal, and the types of protectve clothng and
equpment that should be used when handlng or usng the chemcal.
Typcally, an MSDS recommends methods for the clean-up of releases
or splls, as well as nstructons regardng how to store and transport the

Both the 1996 and 1998 Reports dentfied serous deficences n
employng offices communcatng adequate nformaton wth regard to
hazardous chemcals beng used by employees. These falures were found
to be wdespread and sgnficant. See 1996 Report, pp. 18-19; 1998
Report, p. 33. The 1998 Report specfically crtczed employng offices
for makng lttle mprovement n the tranng of ther employees regardng
the dentficaton and use of hazardous chemcals. The Report noted n
partcular that employees exposed to hazardous chemcals n the work
envronment exhbted lttle knowledge of the hazards of the chemcals

     they used. 1998 Report, p. 34. A ctaton was ssued to the AOC n
     March 2000.

     The current perodc nspecton dentfied 34 documented volatons of the
     requrement to communcate hazards to employees. Even where MSDS
     sheets were found, many were out of date. Such volatons consttute a
     RAC 2 hazard. As dscussed above, a RAC 2 hazard s one n whch
     a serous llness s lkely to occur, resultng n a permanent partal or
     temporary total dsablty njury f not promptly abated. See Appendx D,
     OOC Gudelnes for Rsk Assessment Codes (RACs).

     The first step n abatng these hazards s to assure that current MSDSs
     are made avalable wherever hazardous chemcals are used. Intervews
     wth employng office representatves revealed that MSDS’s were typcally
     not avalable because the representatve had faled to prnt or update the
     current sheet. The second step s to ensure that employees are made aware
     of the exstence of the MSDS and to provde tranng n the specfic
     hazards posed by the chemcals they use.

     D. Asbestos

     Most Legslatve Branch buldngs on Captol Hll were constructed
     durng a tme when asbestos was used n constructon to enhance fire
     safety. Asbestos was used n floor tles, celng tles, ppe laggng, nsulaton
     for large bolers, sheet rock embedded plaster, and mxed nto concrete
     and floorng materals. As a consequence, materals used n buldngs
     constructed durng ths perod are presumed to contan asbestos unless
     they are sampled and proven to be free from asbestos or wthn permssble
     lmts. 29 C.F.R. §1910.1001(b).

     Durng the 108th Congress, the General Counsel dentfied a number of
     nstances of non-complance regardng the dentficaton and control of
     asbestos and protectve steps requred for the removal of asbestos materals.
     Most of these nstances came to the attenton of the General Counsel
     as a result of employee and labor organzaton Requests for Inspecton
     pursuant to Secton 215(c) of the Congressonal Accountablty Act. 2
     U.S.C. §1341(c). Several others were also dscovered durng the perodc

               •         Identficaton and control of asbestos

     One Request for Inspecton was filed regardng deteroratng floor tles
     n the LOC photo-duplcaton faclty. An OGC safety and health
     nspector sampled the tles and dscovered that they were asbestos
     contanng materals (ACM). Other materals n the work area were
     consdered to be “presumed asbestos contanng materals” (PACM)
     as defined n 29 C.F.R. §1910.1001(b). Fortunately, testng of the ar
36   advancing safety, health, and workplace rights in the legistlative branch
samples ndcated that the ambent exposures from these materals dd not
exceed permssble lmts. However, the LOC and AOC were notfied
that they had faled to “exercse due dlgence n nformng employers and
employees about the presence and locaton of asbestos contanng materals
and PACMs”. 29 C.F.R. §1910.1001(j)(2)(I). The Unted States Publc
Health Servce Federal Occupatonal Health Agency under contract wth
the AOC completed a comprehensve asbestos survey throughout the
Jefferson and Adams LOC Buldngs, ncludng the Photo-Duplcaton
Shop. The Publc Health Servce advsed AOC officals that asbestos was
present n the tles. Ths nformaton was not provded to employees n the
Photo-Duplcaton Shop.34 OSHA regulatons requre that such notces
be clearly posted and specfically nform employees whch materals are
ACM or PACM. 29 C.F.R. §1910.1001(j)(2)(I), §1910.1001(j)(2)().35
Employees who perform housekeepng and routne mantenance dutes
have a partcularzed need for ths nformaton. In ths partcular case, the
employees performng these dutes suspected that the tles mght contan
asbestos and employed the only preventve measures avalable to them,
such as usng wet mops rather than sweepng to clean the floor.36

As part of another employee-requested nspecton, an OGC ndustral
hygenst dscovered a serous health hazard n the AOC’s asbestos
program procedures. Under the AOC’s procedures, any samples contanng
less than one percent asbestos were declared to be “asbestos free” and
thereby exempted from the use of any specal precautons durng removal
operatons. OSHA has ssued publc notces advsng that even materals
contanng less than one percent asbestos wll stll produce dangerous levels
of arborne levels of asbestos fibers durng certan removal operatons. As
a result, the General Counsel drected the AOC, and the AOC agreed to
revse ts program drectves and retran any employees who perform dutes
relatng to or nvolvng asbestos removal.

Durng perodc nspecton of the hazardous materals area of the Captol
Buldng, an OGC nspector dscovered an ar mover fan connected to an ar
duct by a suspcous whte cloth materal. Analyss of the materal revealed
that the materal was comprsed of 100% asbestos. The nspector was
concerned that these fibers could be released nto the hazardous materals

34          In response to the Draft Report, the AOC asserts that AOC officals provded a copy
of the asbestos survey to LOC officals and thereby fulfilled ts oblgatons. However, pursuant to
29 C.F.R. § 1910.1001(j)(2), the AOC as a “faclty owner” s specfically requred to nform both
employers and employees about the presence of ACM and PACM.

35           In response to the Draft Report, the LOC asserts that “no fibers were detected”. Even
f no fibers were detected, the employng office s not releved from ts oblgatons to mnmze the
potental exposure to employees regardng the presence of “presumed” asbestos contanng materals.

36         In response to the Draft Report, the LOC asserts that ts cleanng contractors were
aware of the presence of asbestos floor tles. However, n ths case, the work was performed by LOC
employees, not contractors.

     area. The AOC promptly replaced the connector wth a non-asbestos
     materal upon notficaton of ths condton by the General Counsel.

               •          Asbestos removal operatons

     Employees nvolved n constructon projects are frequently concerned
     about the presence of asbestos n floor tles that are to be removed. In
     many such stuatons, hazardous levels of asbestos are released when tles
     are broken. It s not surprsng, therefore, that the OGC receved sx
     Requests for Inspecton regardng operatons where materal suspected
     of contanng asbestos was beng removed. The tmely assessment of the
     presence of asbestos s necessary n order that requred precautons may
     be employed. Such precautons nclude takng bulk samples to determne
     the level of asbestos and the use of wet methods durng cleanup and Hgh
     Efficency Partculate Ar (HEPA) filters.

     One Request for Inspecton arose as the result of a project to remove a false
     floor n the Cannon House Office Buldng. Pror to and durng the first
     two days of the project, the AOC told employees that the tles had been
     tested and dd not contan asbestos. Therefore, no ar samples were taken
     and no protectve equpment was provded. The AOC later dscovered
     that the tles dd contan asbestos. The OGC nspecton report noted
     that the AOC faled to montor the ambent level of asbestos around the
     constructon ste; had not establshed a regulated area for the work; had
     not used HEPA-equpped vacuum cleaners, had not used wet method
     removal or leak-tght contaners n dsposal operatons; had not used
     approprate protectve equpment; and had not employed an approprate
     level of supervson. 29 C.F.R. §1926.1101(c)(2), (e)(1), (g)(1), and
     (g)(7)(I).37 The AOC reports that ths condton has been corrected.

     Addtonal Requests for Inspecton focused on the removal of asbestos
     wall panels n the LOC Jefferson Buldng and Madson Buldng
     loadng dock. The Jefferson Buldng complant arose when the lack of
     communcaton between the AOC and LOC resulted n a falure to ensure
     that LOC employees were apprsed of the status of the project.38 Specfic
     volatons ncluded gaps n the records that document montorng results,
     the physcan’s wrtten opnon, and the tranng of abatement workers.

     A Madson loadng dock nspecton Request focused on the alleged
     falure of the AOC to follow ts abatement plan. In that case, the OGC
     nvestgaton revealed that the project constructon team sgnficantly

     37         In comments to the Draft Report, the AOC reports that the asbestos removal project
     has been completed and that procedures have been modfied so that unsafe processes wll not be

     38       The LOC reports n comments to the Draft Report that AOC officals faled to nform
     the LOC that an asbestos removal operaton was beng conducted.

38   advancing safety, health, and workplace rights in the legistlative branch
altered the abatement plan and relocated an exhaust duct to expel ar nsde
of the garage rather than to the outsde. That change dd not conform wth
the establshed abatement plan.39

Inspectors from the OGC wll contnue to montor these condtons
n the Jefferson and Madson Buldngs to ensure that they conform to
the establshed abatement plans and regulatory requrements establshed
by OSHA for the safe removal and handlng of materals contanng

E. Lead

A number of employee Requests for Inspecton pertanng to lead exposure
were filed durng the 108th Congress. The exposures arose from three
prmary sources - lead-based pants, lead partcles n the Rayburn House
Office Buldng, and elevated lead levels n drnkng water systems n the
three prmary LOC buldngs.

           •           Lead pant

Many Legslatve Branch buldngs were constructed at a tme when the
use of lead-based pant was qute common. Some older buldngs have
receved multple layers of lead-based pants. As the use of these pants
was curtaled, many of these buldngs have receved addtonal coats of
pant that dd not contan lead. Lead pant becomes a problem when the
pant begns to peel or blster or the pant s dsturbed durng renovaton.
For the most part, the AOC has mplemented an effectve contanment
program that seeks to contan lead at ts source, such as by use of a plastc
contanment area that s kept under negatve pressure durng renovaton
operatons. Any such contanment program must comply wth 29 C.F.R.
§1926.62(e)(2) and §1910.1025.

Frequently, flakng partcles fall on desks and other work surfaces. Whle
the partcles are typcally too large to nhale, the resdue may come nto
contact wth an employee’s hands and s subsequently ngested. The
problem becomes more pronounced n cramped work areas that are
common n older Captol Hll buldngs. In many of these buldngs,
closets and bathrooms have been converted nto employee workstatons.
Under these condtons, flakng pant partcles pose a more serous health
hazard because the employee s more lkely to come nto physcal contact
wth the partcles.

39           In comments to the Draft Report, the AOC asserts that t had authorty to devate from
the abatement plan. However, OSHA regulatons requre evaluatons and planned control methods
by a certfied ndustral hygenst or lcensed professonal engneer who s also qualfied as a project
desgner. See 29 C.F.R. §1926.1101(g)(6)(). The AOC does not assert that such a professonal
approved ths change n the abatement plan.
     One of the older Captol Hll buldngs, the Jefferson LOC Buldng,
     has a smlar problem - lead flakng from the walls and celngs that
     accumulates on flat surfaces over tme. The AOC has effectvely addressed
     ths problem by cleanng resdual dust both pror to commencng and
     after completng any work project. When followed, ths process allows
     the AOC to acheve acceptable sample results whle facltatng a prompt
     release of space back to the LOC. Another effectve preventve measure
     to mnmze lead levels n office settngs s smply to promptly report
     peelng pant condtons to the AOC for repar.

                •          Rayburn House Office Buldng ventlaton system

     In 2002, sgnficant quanttes of lead were dscovered n the ventlaton
     system of the Rayburn House Office Buldng. Several Congressonal staff
     employees filed a Request for Inspecton after dark partcles were observed
     comng from overhead ar vents. The resultng nvestgaton contnued
     through 2004 and s therefore dscussed as part of ths Report. A sample
     of the materal collected from the employees’ desktops was sent for lead
     analyss. The results ndcated that the sampled materal contaned over
     50% lead. Lead partcles were found throughout the ventlaton system,
     ncludng the area above the desk of one of the requestng employees.
     Both large and small lead partcles had become mbedded n the system.
     Partcles were found, n partcular, n the ar mxer boxes and n the
     ventlaton system where outsde ar s blended wth nsde ar and re-
     crculated. An ndustral hygenst from the OGC concluded that the
     lead partcles had been present n the ventlaton system for some tme.
     Ths poses a contnung rsk to employees.

     A comprehensve nspecton was subsequently conducted by AOC
     contractors who took numerous ar and wpe samples throughout other
     parts of the buldng.40

                •          Lead n drnkng water

     In January 2004, the Lbrary of Congress AFSCME Professonal Guld,
     Local 2910, filed several Requests for Inspecton concernng low water
     pressure and poor water qualty n the Adams and Jefferson LOC
     Buldngs. Water samples were taken by the OGC nspecton team from
     multple locatons and analyzed for lead content. The results of these
     tests ndcated elevated lead levels n both buldngs. Further testng by
     the LOC and AOC representatves n other LOC buldngs revealed

     40         In comments to the Draft Report, the AOC and House Employment Counsel state that
     these subsequent samples dd not reveal levels that exceeded OSHA and HUD/EPA acceptable
     levels. However, the AOC does not deny that lead partcles were present n the ventlaton system.
     When dsturbed, these partcles can be released through the ducts and pose a potental danger to
     employees. For ths reason, Dr. Laura Welch, a leadng Occupatonal Physcan and consultant to
     the OGC, recommended that the potental exposure contnue to be montored.

40   advancing safety, health, and workplace rights in the legistlative branch
                          addtonal contamnated stes. The General Counsel ssued a ctaton to the
                          AOC on January 3, 2005, for falng to provde potable water to employees.
                          See 29 C.F.R. §1910.141(b)(1). After conductng ndependent tests, the
                          AOC abated these condtons by shuttng down all drnkng fountans n
                          the Adams Buldng and specfic fountans n the Jefferson, Madson, and
                          other Captol Hll Buldngs that tested above the EPA lmt for lead. As a
                          partal remedal measure, the AOC s provdng bottled water n the Adams
                          Buldng where the fountans have been dsabled. The AOC has also hred
                          a consultant to study the problem and to propose a long-term soluton.

                          Problems wth elevated lead levels n the Captol Hll drnkng water
                          predate the enactment of the Congressonal Accountablty Act. In 1992,
                          the AOC shut down the drnkng water system n the Drksen Senate
                          Office Buldng. At that tme, the chller unts and water ppes connectng
                          to the fountan system were ultmately replaced to acheve acceptable

                          Durng the course of the 2004 nvestgaton, the General Counsel’s safety
                          and health specalst consulted wth representatves from the General
                          Servces Admnstraton and the Envronmental Protecton Agency. GSA
                          also has had to shut down drnkng fountans and provde bottled water
                          n some Federal buldngs untl the sources of elevated lead exposures
                          were dentfied and abated. As a routne matter, the EPA advses aganst
                          drnkng from certan types of bathroom fixtures41 snce those fixtures are
                          not regulated and frequently contan hgh levels of lead.

                          In summary, exposure to lead s more pronounced on Captol Hll than
                          one would presume. The General Counsel recommends that ongong
                          montorng be conducted by the AOC to mnmze future exposure to the
                          condtons n the Rayburn House Office Buldng. The present condton
                          of the drnkng water n the LOC buldngs must be regularly montored
                          after a fix s mplemented to determne that lead levels were effectvely

V. Periodic Inspections   The Congressonal Accountablty Act of 1995 requres the General Counsel
                          of the Office of Complance to conduct nspectons of all Legslatve
                          Branch facltes at least once each Congress to enforce complance wth
                          the occupatonal safety and health standards establshed by the Department
                          of Labor. Secton 215(e)(1), 2 U.S.C. §1341(e)(1).

                          Over 4.1 mllon square feet were nspected durng the 108th Congress.
                          Over twenty-sx hundred (2,666) hazards and serous program deficences
                          were dentfied durng the nspectons. As prevously ndcated, the number
                          of hazards dscovered n 2004 was more than seven tmes hgher than the

                          41         Examples of such bathroom fixtures nclude faucets used n utlty closets, n laundry
                          rooms, threaded faucets, and self closng faucets.
     360 dentfied durng the 2002 nspecton for the 107th Congress. The
     General Counsel attrbutes the dfference to the comprehensve nature
     of the nspecton conducted by the nspecton team. As explaned n the
     Executve Summary of ths Report, the nspecton team conducted a wall-
     to-wall nspecton n order to create a baselne of the exstng health and
     safety condtons n Legslatve Branch facltes. See Secton I.D.

     The nature of the hazards dentfied are serous and n some nstances
     pose a sgnficant rsk to employees of the Legslatve Branch. As
     prevously dscussed n the Executve Summary of ths Report, Secton
     I.D, the General Counsel mplemented a rsk assessment code for ths
     nspecton cycle based on defintons and categores establshed by the
     Department of Defense n order to evaluate the severty of the hazards
     encountered durng the nspecton. See Appendx D, Gudelnes for Rsk
     Assessment Codes. The RAC descrbes the relatve rsk of njury (for
     safety hazards) or llness (for health hazards) by combnng the probablty
     that an employee could be njured wth the severty of the potental njury
     or llness. Typcally RACs are scored on a scale of RAC 1 (mmnent
     rsk of death or lfe-threatenng njury), RAC 2 (probable occurrence of
     severe njury), to RAC 5 (de mnms rsk of njury and not mmnent).
     The OGC does not collect data or report on RAC 5 findngs snce they
     pose lttle rsk or hazard to employees. Usng ths standard, nearly 40% of
     the hazards were ranked as RAC 1 or RAC 2.

     The General Counsel also utlzed the same NFPA 101 ratng system used
     by the GSA to evaluate the overall fire safety of other Federal Government
     buldngs. As dscussed n the Executve Summary above (see Secton
     I.D), a ratng below “0” s consdered to be unacceptable, whle a ratng of
     “-20” s “hgh rsk”, and a ratng of “+20” s “very good”. The nspecton
     team antcpated that the ratngs would have a wde varance. As dscussed
     below n the summary of each buldng, ths predcton was correct. The
     nspecton data revealed a “-28” ratng for the Longworth House Office
     Buldng, whch contans sgnficant aggravatng factors, such as a lack of
     protected starwells, to a “+14” ratng for the USCP Headquarters and the
     Postal Square buldngs whch are newer and have more safety features.

     When the nspecton of each faclty was completed, a chart detalng each
     hazard was prepared and provded to the responsble employng office. In
     addton to assgnng a RAC code, the chart dentfied the locatons where
     the hazards were found, the statutory or regulatory provsons that were
     volated, and what correctve actons were requred to abate the hazard.
     The employng office was provded thrty days to respond regardng
     the status of abatement or antcpated abatement date, and to provde
     comments concernng the volatons. The employng offices responsble
     for correctng volatons reported that nnety-one percent of the hazards
     dentfied by the nspecton team were corrected durng the course of,
     or followng, the nspecton. Of partcular note, the GAO reported that
42   advancing safety, health, and workplace rights in the legistlative branch
t had abated all but eleven of the 559 hazards dentfied n ts facltes
durng the nspecton. Nne of those unabated hazards are scheduled to be
abated by December 2005, and the remanng two n FY 2006.

A narratve summary of the partal nspectons of the Unted States Captol
Buldng and the Senate and House Office Buldngs s detaled below.42
Other findngs of the perodc nspecton are detaled n ************* ******
********. **************, 2004 Bennal Safety and Health Inspectons: Hazard
and Abatement Tally dentfies the total number of hazards found, by type,
n each buldng or faclty.

A. The Capitol Building

 U.S. Captol Buldng
 RAC 1                      4
 RAC 2                      44
 RAC 3                      67
 RAC 4                      5
      TOTALS                120

The Unted States Captol Buldng presents a unque challenge to the
Archtect of the Captol and others responsble for assurng that t s
n complance wth safety and health requrements.43 In large part, ths
challenge s due to the age, constructon, hgh occupancy, and the need
to preserve the hstorcal ntegrty of the Captol. Susan S. Robfogel,
Char of the Board of the Office of Complance, stated n her openng
plenary remarks to the 2004 OOC Legslatve Branch Health and Safety
Conference that:

We all have a tremendous responsblty not only to protect the safety and
ntegrty and grandeur of these buldngs...t’s a very dfficult task to meld
the grandeur of the buldngs wth the need for health and safety nsde
these buldngs.

The nspecton team conducted a lmted nspecton durng the 108th
Congress. Member offices, hearng rooms, and commttee rooms were
not nspected but wll be subject to nspecton durng the 109th Congress.

42         Commttee spaces, Members’ offices, and non-AOC spaces were not nspected durng the
2004 nspectons but were nspected n the 2002 nspectons.

43         “The Archtect of the Captol shall have the care and superntendence of the Captol....”
“All mprovements, alteratons, addtons, and repars to the Captol Buldng shall hereafter be made
under the drecton and under the supervson of the Archtect of the Captol.” 2 U.S.C. §§ 1812,
     A number of the hazards dentfied n 2004 were dentfied n prevous
     Reports, some of whch were the subject of ctatons, but reman
     uncorrected. The OGC team nspected approxmately 24,000 of 843,000
     square feet, dentfyng 119 volatons, of whch five were ranked as RAC
     1s and 44 were ranked as RAC 2s.

               •          Egress

     The Captol Buldng was constructed long before the adopton of fire
     safety codes. Therefore, many starways, ncludng those that are used as
     emergency exts, are not enclosed. ********************************************
     *********************************************** The nspecton team noted that
     progress has been made wth the replacement of some revolvng doors
     wth sde swng doors that enhanced egress capacty, thereby allowng
     more people to evacuate n a short tme. However, that acton does not
     begn to resolve the underlyng deficency n egress capacty, especally
     durng peak tourst perods, such as the late sprng and early summer when
     approxmately eght thousand toursts tour the Captol daly. See “Captol
     Tour Overhaul Could Include Endng Staff-Led Vsts,” Roll Call, Aprl
     28, 2005: p. 3. Gage-Babcock also ndcated n a report released on May
     17, 2000, that the Captol Buldng had a deficent capacty of negatve
     2076 on the first floor and negatve 516 on the thrd floor.

               •          Alarm systems

     The Captol Buldng’s fire alarm system operates exclusvely on a
     pre-sgnal sequence.44 All alarm notces are forwarded to the USCP
     Communcatons Center (PCC). Only officers on duty at the PCC can
     actvate the buldng-wde alarm after nvestgatng the source of the
     alarm sgnal. USCP officers ntervewed by the nspecton team assert
     that they can nvestgate and respond to emergency calls wthn three to
     five mnutes. Some of these officers, however, have never had tranng,
     or been recently traned, n the use off portable fire extngushers even
     though ther emergency dutes nclude extngushng small fires.

     The Captol Buldng lacks a sufficent number of pull statons located near
     exts, alarm horns, and strobe lghts. Addtonal horns n and around the
     Rotunda, Crypt, and Natonal Statuary Hall were nstalled by the AOC
     n 2004. Whle ths s a sgnficant mprovement, the number of sgnalng
     devces avalable s stll nadequate n many parts of the buldng where
     ambent nose levels rse wth hgh numbers of vstors. To accommodate
     ths deficency and to meet the needs of the hearng-mpared, the AOC

     44        See dscusson n Secton II.B of ths Report for detals regardng pre-sgnal sequencng.

44   advancing safety, health, and workplace rights in the legistlative branch
has nstalled vsual alarms n many publc places where toursts vst. None,
however, have been nstalled n the office and non-publc areas.

         •         Fre barrers

The Captol Buldng s currently consdered to be one fire zone. *******
************************************************************* Unenclosed starways
pose a sgnficant problem because of ther tendency to act as chmneys n
the event of fire. These starways are the prmary route of escape for many
employees. ***************************************************************************

These deficences prompted the General Counsel to ssue a ctaton to
the AOC n March 2000. Snce that tme, the AOC has begun to address
ths sgnficant hazard. Fre doors have been nstalled n the entrance
ways to the tunnel that leads to the Cannon House Office Buldng and
the subway to the Drksen Senate Office Buldng. However, hold-open
devces that automatcally close when an alarm s sounded have not been
nstalled n the two East front ext starwells. The nstallaton of these
devces would stop the dangerous practce of blockng these doors open.
The Senate starway s used as a tourst route and s blocked open by gudes
and Member staffers wth a metal stanchon. On the House sde, the latch
on the first floor fire door was found to be dsabled.

Many fire doors and barrers n the Captol stll do not meet basc fire
safety standards. The swtchgear and two emergency generator rooms
have no fire barrers. In the food servce area of the basement, metal fire
doors were nstalled wth regular glass nstead of fire-safe wre glass. Ths
modficaton effectvely negates the fire barrer qualtes of the doors. Two
other fire doors n the central corrdor would not close automatcally.

         •         Smoke detectors

Sgnficant progress has been made n the nstallaton of effectve smoke
detecton devces wthn the Captol Buldng. Detectors have been placed
throughout the buldng n ndvdual locatons and n the return ar duct

Durng the nspecton, t was noted that a smoke detector n the AOC
manager’s office was n alarm mode. Even though the alertng sgnal
was sent to the fire alarm panel approxmately fifty feet from the PCC,
no emergency response was actvated as would be expected wth a pre-
sgnal system. Ths deficency further supports the concerns rased by the
nspecton team regardng the effectveness of the pre-sgnal system and
whether the system s nspected by the USCP. It s unknown whether ths
was an solated problem or one that s systemc to the entre alarm system.
               •          Fre suppresson


               •          Electrcal hazards

     Hazards of an electrcal nature consttuted 65 of the total 120 volatons
     found n the Captol. Many of these hazards were of a RAC 1 and 2
     level that could cause electrocuton or start a fire. The General Counsel
     ssued a Notce of Serous Deficency Needng Prompt Attenton to the
     AOC on November 18, 2004, regardng a metal pedestal fan that was
     plugged nto a malfunctonng ground fault crcut nterrupton (GFCI)
     outlet that would not trp. The floor area surroundng the fan was wet
     from water runnng from a nearby ppe. If the fan were to short under
     these condtons, a potentally fatal shock could electrocute an employee
     standng on the damp floor. A smlar stuaton was dscovered n a food
     preparaton area. Both of these condtons were promptly corrected wth
     the nstallaton of new GFCIs by the AOC. These deficences underscore
     the necessty for the AOC and employng offices to regularly nspect
     GFCI electrcal outlets.

               •          Hazard communcaton

     The OGC nspecton team dscovered contaners of methylene chlorde
     pant strpper.45 Nether the AOC representatve, nor employees usng
     the materal, were aware that the strppng chemcal was carcnogenc.
     Problems wth chemcals of ths nature are largely avoded by a good
     hazard communcaton program and full use of the approprate Materal

     45        The rsks assocated wth methylene chlorde are dscussed n ths Report n Secton III.

46   advancing safety, health, and workplace rights in the legistlative branch
Safety Data Sheets. A ctaton was ssued n 2000 by the General Counsel
to the AOC for ths serous non-complance.46

           •           Summary

As noted n the 2002 Report, the Captol Buldng has very serous
problems wth regard to fire safety due to ts lack of ext capacty, many
open starwells, and lack of fire doors. Whle progress has been made n
some areas, the structure and frequently overcrowded condtons present a
hgh rsk for both employees and vstors durng emergences. The AOC
has developed plans to correct these problems, but many of the projected
abatement dates are more than five years n the future.

B. Dirksen Senate Office Building 47

 Drksen Senate
 Office Buldng
 RAC 1                          4
 RAC 2                          102
 RAC 3                          82
 RAC 4                          5
            TOTALS              193

Inspectors from the Office of General Counsel could only conduct a lmted
nspecton of the Drksen Buldng wthn the tme and resources avalable.
The nspecton was prmarly lmted to the attc area, basement and sub-
basement levels, and a small number of offices on the ground floor. Even
so, a sgnficant number of hazards were dscovered n the nspected areas.
The nspecton team nspected approxmately 7,000 of 706,603 square feet,
dentfyng 191 volatons, of whch four were ranked as RAC 1 and 101
were ranked as RAC 2.

           •           Alarm systems

The OGC nspecton team s also concerned about the pre-sgnal sequencng
utlzed by the alarm system. Ths concern s addressed n detal n Secton
II.B. of ths Report. The prmary concern n ths regard s that the delays

46       In comments to the Draft Report, the AOC states that t s workng to mprove ts hazard
communcaton program and acknowledges that the OGC has dentfied specfic deficences.

47           “... [T]he Senate Office Buldng[s], and the employment of all servces (other than for
officers and prvates of the Captol Polce) necessary for ts protecton, care, and occupancy, ... shall
be under the control and supervson of the Archtect of the Captol, subject to the approval of the
Senate Commttee on Rules [and Admnstraton] as to matters of general polcy....” 2 U.S.C. §2023.
     created by the nvestgatons far exceed the three-mnute wndow permtted
     by the Lfe Safety Code and the Natonal Fre Alarm Code. NFPA 72-
     1999, § 1-5.4.11. At the tme of the nspecton most employees n the
     Drksen Buldng, as well as AOC representatves, were unaware that pull
     staton alarms were ted nto the pre-sgnal sequence, even though most
     emergency acton plans ncorporate actvatng a pull staton as a first step.
     A fire drll n the Ford House Office Buldng n 2004 demonstrated ths
     danger. Durng that drll, the ndvdual responsble for actvatng the
     pull staton actvated multple statons because successve attempts faled
     to sound the general alarm. In an actual emergency, such confuson could
     cause further delays snce the emergency responders sent to nvestgate
     the source of the alarm would not know whch locaton to nspect to
     determne the extent and nature of the emergency pror to soundng the
     buldng-wde alarm. However, as dscussed above, the USCP Board has
     snce drected that these pull statons be reconnected to the man alarm.
     See Secton II.B.

     The nspecton team also documented a sgnficant number of capped
     smoke detectors located n the sub-basement where AOC workshops are
     located. None of the AOC employees ntervewed could explan why
     ths had occurred. The cappng of smoke detectors prevents them from
     workng and s a specfic volaton of OSHA regulatons and the Lfe
     Safety Code. 29 C.F.R. §1910.164(c); NFPA 101.2000, §4.6.

               •         Fre doors

     The nspecton team documented twelve volatons regardng non-
     complant fire doors n the Drksen Buldng. These deficences stemmed
     from blockng fire door exts, proppng open fire doors that are desgned to
     be self-closng, and self-closng doors that requred mantenance n order
     to close and latch properly. A Notce of Serous Deficency Requrng
     Immedate Attenton was ssued to the AOC on October 13, 2004,
     for a blocked ext off of the Senate Dnng Room. The rear ext doors,
     whch serve as an alternate emergency ext for large numbers of buldng
     occupants, were blocked n order to create a space to store paper records.

48   advancing safety, health, and workplace rights in the legistlative branch
Exit door is blocked by combustible materials.

                                                 The nspecton team also noted that the ext sgns were covered wth
                                                 cardboard and that the ext doors n an adjacent ktchen area had floorng
                                                 materals pled aganst the fire door so that t could not open. These doors
                                                 serve as an alternate ext for the ktchen staff. These hazards created a
                                                 stuaton where only one ext was avalable from the entre dnng room

                                                         •       Penetratons nto fire walls

                                                 Breaches nto fire walls negate the efficacy of the protecton afforded by
                                                 the barrer by allowng smoke and toxc gases to pass through the holes.
                                                 On the postve sde, the number of penetratons decreased substantally
                                                 from the tme the last comprehensve fire safety nspecton was conducted
                                                 n the Drksen Buldng n 1999. However, the OGC nspecton team
                                                 dscovered eght holes and penetratons n varous fire walls throughout the
                                                 buldng that were apparently caused by contractors nstallng securty or
                                                 other devces, such as cable, and then falng to fire-stop the openngs when
                                                 the project was completed.

Holes or penetrations through fire wall.

                                                               •         Fre suppresson

                                                     Several deficences were noted n the Drksen Buldng’s sprnkler system.
                                                     The buldng tself has extensve coverage, but several areas, ncludng
                                                     the cafetera, emergency generator room, and several sub-basement
                                                     shop areas, lack any coverage. The sprnkler heads n another area, the
                                                     Southsde Sundae Shop, were found to be non-functonal because they
                                                     were located above a false celng. In eght other locatons throughout the
                                                     buldng, the sprnkler heads were found to be blocked by the storage of
                                                     cardboard boxes and other combustble materals stored too close to the
                                                     heads. The OSHA standards requre a mnmum clearance of eghteen
                                                     nches between the sprnkler head and any other object. See 29 C.F.R.
                                                     §1910.159(c)(10); NFPA #25, §2-2.1.2.

Missing ceiling tiles interfere with activation of
sprinkler heads.

                                                     The ktchen of the Senate Chef s protected by an Ansul Fre Protecton
                                                     system that operates by sprayng extngushng lquds on cookng and
                                                     grease fires. The system s effectve n preventng the spread of fires that
                                                     are dfficult to extngush. These systems must be perodcally nspected
                                                     by the manufacturer to ensure that they are operatonal. However, the
                                                     nspecton team noted that the system lacked current proof of nspecton.

                                                               •         Electrcal hazards

                                                     The number of electrcal hazards documented n the Drksen Buldng
                                                     s exceptonally hgh as compared to other buldngs. Hazards of an
                                                     electrcal nature consttuted 116 of the 193 total volatons documented n
                                                     the Drksen Buldng. The most serous resulted n the General Counsel
                                                     ssung a Serous Deficency Needng Prompt Attenton Notce to the
                                                     AOC on October 17, 2004, due to an undersnk outlet lackng a ground
                                                     fault crcut nterrupter. The damp surfaces surroundng the snk area
                                                     created a sgnficant rsk of electrcal shock for employees workng n ths
           50                                        advancing safety, health, and workplace rights in the legistlative branch
Outlet below sink without GFCI protection.

                                                        The team noted multple nstances of power strps and extenson cords
                                                        beng nter-connected to create addtonal outlets for a work area; outlets
                                                        requrng nstallaton of GFCIs; broken outlets and receptacle covers;
                                                        electrcal devces wth broken ground prongs; outlets wth no ground
                                                        protecton; and exposed electrcal contacts. In one nstance, when the
                                                        OGC nspector plugged a testng devce nto a regular wall outlet n the
                                                        sub-basement, sparks flew out of the outlet, causng the crcut breaker to
                                                        trp. When an AOC electrcan examned the outlet, the contents fell out
                                                        n peces when the cover of the receptacle was removed.

Contents of electrical outlet that fell out in pieces
during inspection.

                                                                •        Unsecured contaners

                                                        Several nstances of compressed gas contaners and an unsecured cylnder
                                                        contanng acetylene were dentfied by the nspecton team. The cylnder
                                                        of acetylene was found layng on ts sde on a cart n a busy walkway and
                                                        was susceptble to beng bumped off of the cart. Valves of pressurzed
                                                        cylnders are easly damaged durng a fall. In such case, a serous flash fire
                                                        or exploson could occur that would be fatal to any person located nearby.
                                                        Cylnders contanng acetylene requre partcular care snce acetylene s
                                                        shock–senstve and can therefore gnte wthout a source of gnton. As
                                                        a result of ths findng, the AOC moved and properly secured the cylnder.
     C. Hart Senate Office Building

       Hart Senate
       Office Buldng

       RAC 1                      1
       RAC 2                      63
       RAC 3                      55
       RAC 4                      8
                   TOTALS         127

     Only a lmted nspecton was conducted of the Hart Senate Office
     Buldng. The nspecton team nspected approxmately 95,000 of
     1,094,805 square feet, dentfyng 125 hazards, of whch one was ranked
     as RAC 1 and 62 were ranked as RAC 2.

               •          Chemcal hazards

     As prevously noted, methylene chlorde s a volatle chemcal that has
     been used as a strppng agent and ndustral lubrcant. See Secton III.
     B. Snce 1998, ts use has been strctly regulated by OSHA because of
     ts carcnogenc nature. Methylene chlorde causes respratory dstress,
     depresses the nervous and cardovascular systems, damages the lver and
     kdneys, and causes eye rrtaton. For ths reason, the use of and exposure
     to methylene chlorde s subjected to strct montorng and exposure
     control requrements. See 29 C.F.R. §1910.1052.

     In ts 1998 Report, the OGC nspecton team recommended that non-
     toxc agents be used n place of any product contanng methylene chlorde
     because of the sgnficant health problems assocated wth the chemcal.
     The General Counsel ssued a Notce of Serous Deficency Needng
     Prompt Attenton to the AOC on October 19, 2004, for the contnued
     use of sewng softener on carpetng n the Senate Upholstery Shop48. Ths
     deficency qualfied as a RAC 1 hazard. The Materal Safety Data Sheets
     were not the correct ones for the methylene chlorde product beng used,
     and the product labels faled to provde adequate warnngs. The shop’s
     employees were therefore unaware of the dangers assocated wth ths
     chemcal, and the protectve measures requred to protect themselves.

               •          Egress

     The 2002 Report noted that no handrals had been nstalled on the

     48          Pror and subsequent Notces of Serous Deficency Needng Prompt Attenton were
     ssued to the AOC on May 20, 2004 and December 5, 2004 for the mproper use of methylene
     chlorde n the Constructon Management Dvson at D.C. Vllage and the U.S. Captol Buldng.
     See further dscusson n Secton III.B. of ths Report.

52   advancing safety, health, and workplace rights in the legistlative branch
man starwells on the 3rd through 6th floors even though flghts of stars
wth four or more rsers must be equpped wth standard ralngs. Ths
deficency remans uncorrected. The nspectors also dscovered that the
outsde balcony permeter ralng s too low and fals to comply wth even
the greater grandfathered allowances permtted under OSHA’s standards
for exstng systems. 29 C.F.R. §1910.23(c).

********** However, snce the freght elevator does not servce the top (9th)
floor, only one stagng area near the passenger elevator s avalable on that
floor. None of the elevator shafts contan smoke detectors, therefore, once
an alarm has been actvated, the elevators should be operated only under
the control of a traned officer or firefighter. Ths hazard s partcularly
serous for employees wth moblty mparments. **************************
In addton, the exteror wheelchar ramps on Consttuton Avenue are
too steep and do not have complant handrals. These deficences have
been noted n prevous nspectons and contnue to create a hazard for
employees wth moblty-mparments.

Two shop areas contanng a motor controller and fire pump controls were
found to lack needed emergency lghtng. Emergency lghtng s necessary
to both drect employees and to llumnate crtcal mechancal systems
should the buldng’s man energy supply fal.

Drectonal and ext sgnage was also found to be nadequate. Wall maps
are outdated and fal to desgnate ether ext routes that are wheelchar
accessble or emergency stagng areas. Ths deficency was also noted n
the 2002 nspecton.

         •         Fre barrers and alarms

The effectveness of the fire barrers n the Hart Buldng s of partcular
concern to the OGC. The Hart Buldng s one of two on Captol Hll
wth atrums.49 **********************************************************************
************************************************************************************ The
atrum n ths buldng, as wth most, s too hgh to actvate a sprnkler head
n order to extngush a fire. Therefore, sprnkler systems are not requred
n such areas by the Lfe Safety Code. *****************************************
************************************ The AOC s consderng the nstallaton of
such a system. A smoke control system would help protect employees f

49       The other s the Madson Lbrary of Congress Buldng.
     t were ted nto the fire alarm system. Wthout a smoke control system,
     the delays occasoned by the use of the pre-sgnal sequencng, dscussed
     prevously n Secton II.B., ncrease the rsk to employees and vstors on
     the upper floors.

     Some starwells n the Hart Buldng are enclosed and these are ntended
     to be used as exts n the event of a fire emergency. ************************
     *************** Ths deficency was noted n the 2000 Report but remans
     uncorrected. One horzontal fire door dd not fully close and latch whle
     other fire doors were found to ether not close on ther own, to have faulty
     latches, or to not be properly sealed. All of these defects are sgnficant
     because n the Hart Buldng most starways are part of ext routes that
     lead to ext doors n other parts of the buldng.

     Other barrers were found to be smlarly compromsed by holes and
     unprotected penetratons. Several holes were found n the fire wall that
     solates an electrcal swtchgear room from ext corrdors. Several fire
     doors between a large mechancal room and the garage were sgnficantly
     damaged when the AOC cut openngs to accommodate filters. A double
     set of fire doors provdng fire barrer protecton between the loadng dock
     and the buldng were found to be so severely damaged that they were
     blocked open by a wooden wedge and concrete block, even though the
     doors were equpped wth an electronc hold-open devce.

     Some starway fire doors are equpped wth electronc hold-open devces.
     The presence of such devces s normally consdered to be a postve feature
     because they prevent the doors from beng propped open. However,
     where the alarm system s ted nto a pre-sgnal sequence, as s the case n
     the Hart Buldng, the hold-open feature becomes a hazard n the event
     of a fire because the delay n soundng the alarm prevents the doors from
     closng, thereby allowng fire and smoke to overwhelm the starwells and
     rse to other floors. See Secton II.B. Any protecton afforded by the door
     at the subway entrance was effectvely negated by a metal stanchon used
     to block t open.

               •         Fre suppresson

     The Hart Buldng stll lacks complete sprnkler coverage, such as n one
     work area of the Constructon Management Dvson. In several locatons,
     combustble materals were also found to be stored closer than eghteen
     nches from the sprnkler heads. As prevously noted, OSHA standards
     requre a mnmum clearance of eghteen nches between the sprnkler
     head and any other objects.

54   advancing safety, health, and workplace rights in the legistlative branch
Unstable stacking of items on shelf and there is no
sprinkler coverage in area.

                                                      In one nspected area, a false celng had been removed wthout repostonng
                                                      the sprnkler heads to the approprate level n relatonshp to the new celng.
                                                      Sprnkler heads are heat-actvated because hot ar rses to the hghest level.
                                                      In the event of a fire, hot ar would ntally bypass these sprnkler heads,
                                                      thereby creatng a delay n actvatng the sprnkler.

                                                      Two other uprght sprnkler heads were found to be nstalled n a sdewall
                                                      poston near the north wall of the loadng dock n the compactor area. The
                                                      ncorrect nstallaton of sprnkler heads sgnficantly lmts ther effectveness
                                                      especally n areas, such as the compactor area, where combustble materals

                                                      In two separate areas, access to fire extngushers was blocked by large rolls
                                                      of wrng. Smoke detectors are not provded n most areas, and a plastc
                                                      cover was found coverng an exstng smoke detector nlet n an elevator
                                                      machnery room.

                                                               •        Mechancal hazards

                                                              Any mechancal equpment that utlzes pressure relef valves
                                                      requres perodc nspecton and testng to ensure that the valves are
                                                      capable of releasng excessve pressure. Any rupture n the equpment
                                                      can be catastrophc, ncludng njury or death to employees, damage to
                                                      a buldng’s mechancal systems, and possble fire. In the Hart Buldng,
                                                      three ar compressors and two hot water heaters had not been recently
                                                      nspected and tested.

                                                      Equpment that has movng parts capable of causng serous njury or
                                                      amputaton must provde adequate guardng to prevent contact wth the
                                                      dangerous components. See 29 C.F.R. §1910.212(a)(5). The guards on the
                                                      fans n two elevator machnery rooms had nadequate protecton to prevent
                                                      contact wth the blades. No protectve guards were found on large fans n
                                                      two other locatons - on an ar handler and an emergency generator.

               •         Electrcal hazards

              The electrcal panelboards n sx locatons faled to properly dentfy
     the locaton of the areas controlled by the ndvdual crcut breakers. The
     hazards assocated wth ths deficency was dscussed n detal prevously
     n ths Report. See Secton II.E. Front panel covers were also found to
     be mssng from several electrcal panel boards. Such panel boards pose
     a sgnficant rsk of fire and electrocuton when employees nadvertently
     come nto contact wth the lve components.

     D. Russell Senate Office Building

       Russell Senate
       Office Buldng

       RAC 1                   5
       RAC 2                   31
       RAC 3                   60
       RAC 4                   5

     The Russell Senate Office Buldng was constructed n 1908 and 1909,
     long before most Fre and Safety Codes exsted. Therefore, t, lke the
     Captol Buldng, presents a unque challenge. As wth the other Senate
     Office Buldngs, only a partal nspecton could be conducted. No office
     space was nspected. The nspecton team nspected approxmately
     161,000 square feet of the total 661,000 square feet n the buldng. One
     hundred one hazards were dentfied. Fve were rated as RAC 1 and 31
     were rated as RAC 2.

                •        Fre barrers

     The Russell Buldng, lke the Captol, consttutes one large fire zone.
     ****************************************** As noted n the 2000 Fre Safety
     Report, ext starways reman unenclosed and lack properly rated fire
     doors, even though these condtons have been noted n pror Reports
     and nspectons. ******************************************************************
     ************************************************ It s partcularly hazardous for
     employees wth dsabltes who must gather at desgnated stagng areas for
     assstance. Furthermore, physcal barrers, such as fire doors and enclosed
     ext starwells are needed to gve employees and vstors adequate tme to
     safely evacuate n the event of a fire.
56   advancing safety, health, and workplace rights in the legistlative branch
For example, two ext starways extend from the basement level to the
attc level. The starways are entrely open and lack any fire barrers n the
event of an emergency. The double doors at the top of these stars and at
the basement level are not rated fire doors and have no automatc closure
mechansms. They are routnely blocked open. If a need exsts for these
doors to be held open, they should be replaced wth fire doors and equpped
wth electronc hold-open devces enablng them to be closed whenever a
fire alarm s sounded.

A fire door n the Masonry Shop dd not provde adequate protecton.
Its metal panel moved below the correct poston, whch would allow fire,
smoke and toxc gases to pass through. In other locatons, the walls that
are ntended to serve as a fire barrer around Electrc Substaton B and that
between the Plumbng and Storage Ppe Shop and the publc corrdor, had
holes that would also allow sgnficant penetraton of fire, smoke, and toxc
gas n the event of a fire. All three of these deficences should be restored
by beng sealed wth fire stoppng materals.

However, several mprovements were noted by the nspecton team, such
as the postng of proper sgnage.

        •        Alarms

The fire alarm system n the Russell Buldng utlzes a pre-sgnal sequence.
At the tme of the nspecton, none of the sgnalng devces ncludng the
smoke detectors, water flow detectors, and manual pull statons mmedately
sounded a buldng-wde alarm. Instead, sgnals were sent to the central
alarm staton and communcated to the PCC n order that officers from
the USCP can nvestgate whether a buldng-wde alarm s necessary. The
Lfe Safety Code permts a three (3) mnute delay. However, AOC and
USCP employees n the Senate Office Buldngs nformed the nspecton
team that such nvestgatons may take up to fifteen mnutes. Snce the
nspecton by the OGC team, the AOC, at the drecton of the USCP
Board, has restored manual pull statons to general alarm status n all
Senate and House Office Buldngs.

Intervews conducted by the OGC nspecton team revealed that employees
were unaware of how the pre-sgnal sequence works. Employees need to
be traned regardng the alarm system. Frst, employees need to know that
when an alarm does sound, t s not lkely to be a false alarm. Experence
ndcates a low number of ntentonal false alarms. Second, employees
must be made aware of prmary and alternate evacuaton routes. Fnally,
employees need to be made aware that callng the USCP emergency
number may be the most effectve means to report a fire.

               •         Fre suppresson

     The AOC has procured a new fire pump to enhance the effectveness of the
     exstng sprnkler system. Fre sprnkler coverage s provded throughout
     most of the Russell Buldng, ****************************************************
     ********* The nspecton team recommends that an assessment be made to
     determne the necessary coverage.

     Despte the extensve coverage of the sprnkler system, the nspecton
     team noted that the effectveness of the system was compromsed n
     several areas. In the Attc Locker Area, shelvng was nstalled between
     two sprnkler heads creatng a wall of stored materal. In another Locker
     Storage Area, the Pant Shop, and n two sectons of the Electrcal Shop,
     combustble materals were found wthn eghteen nches of the sprnkler
     head plane. Materals were also stored on top of the fire sprnkler ppng
     n the Electrcal Shop. Loadng sprnkler ppes n ths manner can bend
     the ppes and nterfere wth the spray pattern when n use.

               •         Egress

     OSHA requres that workplace buldngs provde at least two accessble
     emergency exts for employees. 29 C.F.R. § 1910.36(b)(1). *****************
     ********************************************************************** However, both
     the carrage entrance on the second floor and the Northeast Corner ext
     to the Frst Street sdewalk could be easly modfied to provde emergency
     ext accessblty.

     ************************************************** These elevators and the nternal
     telephones are on an emergency standby power system enablng ther
     operaton f prmary electrcal power s nterrupted. These telephones
     have the capablty of sgnalng to a central locaton, such as the PCC,
     and dentfyng the exact locaton of the telephone ntatng the call.
     Ths feature would ad both firefighters and employees wth moblty
     mparments who have staged by the elevators watng for assstance. To
     serve ths purpose, the telephones must be located wth 54 nches of the
     floor and kept unlocked.

     The nspectors also noted that addtonal smoke detectors are requred n
     the elevator lobbes, shafts, and machnery rooms and that the exstng
     detectors were not operatonal. Further, the elevators should be equpped
     wth a firefighter recall functon n order to allow for manual key operaton.
     None of the elevators should contnue to operate automatcally once the
     fire alarm has been actvated. In the event of an emergency requrng
     evacuaton, USCP officers must be avalable to ad employees and vstors
58   advancing safety, health, and workplace rights in the legistlative branch
who requre assstance. It s mperatve, therefore, that the officers are aware
of these responsbltes and how to manually operate the elevators n order
to reach the stagng area on each floor. The nspectors dscovered, however,
through ntervews wth USCP officers, that not all had been traned n
procedures as to how to evacuate employees requrng assstance or n the
manual operaton of the elevators.

Self-llumnated ext sgns were provded for most ext routes. However,
the man ext from the Day Laborer’s Shop, whch has multple rooms,
dd not have an ext sgn desgnatng t as the ext to the man corrdor.
Another door from the Women’s Massage Room n the Health Center can
only be opened wth a key from the nsde. Ths lockng mechansm needs
to be changed to allow the door to be readly opened wthout a key from
the nsde but stll control entry from the outsde.

Wall maps need to be updated throughout the Russell Buldng. In
partcular, the wall maps should provde necessary egress nformaton
for employees wth moblty mparments, such as desgnatons of ext
dscharge ponts that are wheelchar-accessble, stagng areas, and ADA-
complant restrooms.

        •        Electrcal hazards

Sxty-three of the 101 volatons dentfied n the Russell Buldng were
related to electrcal hazards. When electrcty must be shut off durng an
emergency or for scheduled mantenance, t s mperatve that the crcut
drectores on the panelboards accurately label the servce provded by each
crcut. As n other Legslatve Branch buldngs, the panel drectores are
rarely current or accurate n the Russell Buldng. Access to one of these
mproperly mantaned panelboards was also obstructed n the Plumbng
Storage and Ppe Shop. Another panel n the Electrcal Shop had a broken
part n front of the panel creatng an openng that permtted contact wth
lve components. Another n the Refinshng Area had openngs that
exposed energzed wres.

Fve nstances were found where ground fault crcut nterrupters (GFCIs)
were defectve or had not been nstalled n locatons where electrcal outlets
were dangerously close to sources of water. Sx nstances of damaged power
cords were also dscovered. Whle only two nstances of dasy-chaned
power strps were found, one was partcularly egregous n that twenty-one
dfferent battery charges were beng run off of a sngle electrcal outlet.
A number of two-prong outlet receptacles were found lackng a safety

        •        Confined spaces

Ventlaton s provded throughout the Russell Buldng by a number of
large ar handler unts. Four of these areas were large enough to allow entry
                                               by employees where the fan blades rotate. No protectve guards were
                                               nstalled. These areas are consdered to be “confined spaces”. Confined
                                               spaces are areas that have lmted or restrcted entry and ext. Whle they
                                               are not desgned for contnuous occupancy, they are large enough and
                                               configured to allow an employee to enter wth hs or her entre body n
                                               order to perform work. OSHA standards requre specfic sgnage be posted
                                               at the entry ponts for confined spaces. See 29 C.F.R. §1910.146. When
                                               the confined space area exposes the occupant to specfic hazards, such as
                                               fan blades unprotected by fan guards, hgh voltage, or other hazards, entry
                                               may requre a specfic permt. See 29 C.F.R. §1910.146(f ). These areas
                                               must be marked as confined spaces, access must be lmted, and be subject
                                               to a comprehensve confined space program.

                                                         •         Unsecured compressed gas cylnders

                                                       The sgnficant rsks assocated wth unsecured compressed
                                               cylnders s dscussed n detal below. See Secton V.A. The OGC
                                               nspecton team found three nstances n whch compressed gas cylnders
                                               were not secured.

Cylinders are not secured and will fall over

                                               One cylnder contaned acetylene, whch s a hghly volatle chemcal.
                                               Another had ts regulator attached whch adds to the rsk of valve damage
                                               should the cylnder fall. When valves are damaged, they frequently begn
                                               to leak. Damaged cylnders have been known to explode or to become
                                               mssles causng extensve damage and physcal njury.

          60                                   advancing safety, health, and workplace rights in the legistlative branch
E. Cannon House Office Building

 Cannon House
 Office Buldng

 RAC 1                 9
 RAC 2                 22
 RAC 3                 45
 RAC 4                 3
    TOTALS             79

As wth the Captol and Senate Office Buldngs, only lmted nspecton
of the Cannon House Office Buldng could be conducted by the OGC
nspecton team due to tme and resource constrants. The nspecton team
nspected approxmately 76,000 square feet of the total 776,000 square feet
n the buldng. Seventy-nne hazards were dentfied. Nne were rated as
RAC 1 and twenty-two were rated as RAC 2.

         •         Fre barrers

The Cannon Buldng consttutes one fire zone. *****************************
********************************** Deficences wth the emergency ext routes,
ext starways, and fire doors pose serous rsks to employees. ****************
************************* To date, ths deficency remans unabated. Starwells
wth non-complant doors create a sgnficant rsk for employees, especally
those who are moblty-mpared and those who may work on the upper
floors of the buldng. Durng an emergency, employees who requre
assstance must report to a stagng area to awat help. Frequently, these
stagng areas are located nsde the starwells on floor landngs.

The nspecton team found that many doors wthn the buldng ntended
to serve as fire barrers are not complant fire doors. To qualfy as a fire
door, the door must have been evaluated by a testng laboratory and provde
protecton aganst smoke and fire for a specfied perod of tme. In the
Cannon Buldng, doors must be effectve for two hours snce the buldng s
not fully protected by a sprnkler system. 29 C.F.R. §1910.36(a)(2); NFPA
101-2000, § Doors on the 5th floor Southeast and Southwest
ext starways, whch enclose the Southwest ext starway at the basement
level, and doors at the Northeast basement starway, are not fire-rated and
would not latch. The buldng also has two crcular stars. These stars have,
on varous levels, ether no doors, old wooden doors that are not fire doors,
or doors that are propped open and, therefore, cannot automatcally close n
the event of a fire. Glass panels n several other doors were ether mssng
                                                or were not fire-resstant.

                                                The North basement corrdor s frequently occuped by hundreds of
                                                toursts watng to tour the Captol Buldng. A 2002 Gage-Babcock
                                                Report dentfied serous ext capacty problems assocated wth the man
                                                ext floor. Addng addtonal toursts to the basement corrdor only
                                                exacerbates ths problem.

                                                Electrcal substaton B n the Cannon Garage houses hgh voltage
                                                equpment and the trash balng room houses waste materal and debrs.
                                                Both of these areas are consdered to be hghly combustble. However,
                                                the nspecton team found the fire barrers to be deficent. The permeter
                                                walls of the substaton have not been sealed wth fire-stoppng materal,
                                                and the fire barrer above the *****************************************************
                                                *********** 29 C.F.R. §1910.36(a)(2).

                                                          •         Fre suppresson

                                                Fre extngushers are consdered to be the first lne of defense n contanng
                                                small fires before a fire s large enough or hot enough to trgger actvaton
                                                of the sprnkler system. However, to be effectve, fire extngushers must be
                                                mantaned n servceable condton. 29 C.F.R. §1910.157(c). Typcally,
                                                craftsmen from the AOC nspect extngushers on a monthly bass.
                                                However, n twelve locatons n the Cannon Buldng, the nspecton team
                                                found that the fire extngushers were not beng properly mantaned.
                                                Some of the extngushers had not been nspected snce 2002. ************

                                                          •         Electrcal hazards

                                                         Hazards of an electrcal nature consttuted 35 of the 79 hazards
                                                dentfied by the OGC nspecton team. Approxmately, one-thrd of the
                                                electrcal hazards nvolved mssng cover plates.

Faceplate missing off electrical junction box
exposing energized wires.

           62                                   advancing safety, health, and workplace rights in the legistlative branch
                                                  A mssng cover plate represents a sgnficant hazard because lve parts are
                                                  exposed and can result n electrcal shock to employees who come nto
                                                  contact wth the wres. Another rsk s fire resultng when sparks and
                                                  molten metal are not contaned durng a short-crcut or other electrcal

                                                  The electrcal panels n three locatons, Room B-37, Room B-24, and the
                                                  Compactor Room, faled to have current crcut breaker drectores.

Circuit breaker panel is missing its directory/

                                                   As was dscussed n Secton II.E. of ths Report, t s mperatve that
                                                  electrcans and emergency responders be able to quckly access the panel
                                                  and access the locaton of the crcuts n the event of emergency.

                                                          •       Contnung deficences

                                                  Several deficences that were cted n the 2002 Report have not been
                                                  corrected by the AOC and contnue to create sgnficant hazards. The
                                                  guardral n Room 5N overlookng the Rotunda s of an nadequate heght.
                                                  OSHA standards requre such a ralng to be 42 nches hgh to prevent a
                                                  fall over the top. Wth a drop of more than four feet, ths low ralng poses
                                                  a real and present danger to employees workng n the area. The Cannon
                                                  Carry Out food preparaton area contnues to store unsecured cylnders
                                                  of compressed carbon doxde. These cylnders are susceptble to beng
                                                  knocked over. Unfortunately f pressurzed tanks fall, a sudden release of
                                                  pressure can cause the cylnder to project forward at hgh speeds, wth the
                                                  potental of serous physcal njury to employees and physcal damage to
                                                  the buldng structure.

                                            F. Longworth House Office Building

                                              Longworth House
                                              Office Buldng

                                              RAC 1                        6
                                              RAC 2                        41
                                              RAC 3                        80
                                              RAC 4                        9
                                                TOTALS                     136

                                            As wth the Cannon House Office Buldng, only a lmted nspecton
                                            was conducted of the Longworth House Office Buldng. The nspecton
                                            team nspected approxmately 37,000 of 637,000 square feet, dentfyng
                                            136 volatons, of whch sx were ranked as RAC 1 and 41 were ranked
                                            as RAC 2.

                                                      •          Fre barrers

                                            ********************************************************50 The ext starways n the
                                            Longworth Buldng lack protectve enclosures and doors to the floors
                                            they servce. No upper floor starwells are enclosed. Some starwells such
                                            as those n the Southeast (ground floor) and Southwest corners (sub-
                                            basement to basement levels) are only partally enclosed. None provde
                                            any protecton to the upper floors n the event of a fire n the lower floors.
                                            The AOC was ssued a ctaton n March 2000 for ths very serous
                                            deficency. The AOC has not scheduled abatement of ths hazard untl
                                            after 2008.

Open stairwells in Longworth House Office

                                            50        The danger of open starwells s dscussed n Sectons II.A. and IV.A. of ths Report.

          64                                advancing safety, health, and workplace rights in the legistlative branch
As n the other House and Senate buldng areas nspected, the Longworth
Buldng was found to have sgnficant holes n fire barrer walls throughout
ts structure.51 Penetratons were also found by the OGC nspecton team
between the Food Court and Locker Rooms and n Rooms SB-213,
SB-213A, Room SB 242, and the sub-basement electrcal closet. These
penetratons not only reduce the effectveness of the barrers but also
aggravate the problems created by the presence of open starwells.

          •          Emergency exts

The OGC nspectors found that the Longworth Buldng lacks adequate
drectonal sgnage to enable employees and vstors to rapdly ext the
buldng. For example, both the Southwest corner starway and md-
landng between the sub-basement and basement at the Southeast corner
lack sgnage and a gate or other barrer ndcatng the level at whch to ext
the starwell to the outsde. Ths same deficency was noted n the 1999
Fre Safety Report. No “Not an Ext” sgns are posted n the sub-basement
md-landng that leads to the Cannon and Longworth tunnel. The absence
of such sgnage fals to advse employees and vstors that the closest ext
s up one level. The General Counsel also advsed the AOC that the attc
area lacks any lghted sgnage ndcatng ext routes.

In the Food Court Caterng area, a telephone cable wre had fallen across
the ext route to a heght of five to sx feet off of the floor. Ths low-
hangng cable created a hazard to most employees, and would have proved
to be especally dangerous durng a drll or actual evacuaton.

Snce none of the exts are fully protected and the ext travel dstances are
unusually long for many areas of the buldng, effectve emergency lghtng
along ext routes s essental to better ensure the safety of employees workng
n the Longworth Buldng. Battery-operated emergency lghtng unts
have been nstalled n some areas of the buldng. However, a test on each
unt demonstrated that the unts n Room B-217, B-218, and the Gft Shop
dd not work. The AOC was advsed as part of the 2002 nspecton that
battery-operated lghts must be tested monthly. See 29 C.F.R. §1910.35;
NFPA 101-2000, §7.9.3. Ths falure hghlghts the need for mprovement
n the AOC’s testng programs.52

51        In comments to the Draft Report, the AOC reports that these hazards have been abated.

52          In comments to the Draft Report, the AOC reports that a testng plan for all emergency
lghts has been mplemented. However, durng the 2004 nspecton, as n pror nspectons, OGC
nspectors found many emergency lghts to be non-operatonal. Accordngly, AOC should reexamne
the adequacy of ts current montorng program.
               •         Fre suppresson

     The Longworth Buldng was the ste of a grease fire n May 1998 that
     caused extensve damage and njured three employees who requred
     hosptalzaton. However, the nspecton team n 2004 found several
     deficences stll remanng n the fire suppresson systems. Frst, n ten
     locatons, stored materals were found to be blockng the sprnkler heads. A
     dstance of less than eghteen nches sgnficantly reduces the effectveness
     of the sprnkler. In the Food Court dnng area, emergency lghts, smoke
     detectors, and sprnklers were found to be taped over. The automatc fire
     suppresson system n the Food Court ktchen area offers a trp devce to
     manually actvate the system. The assgned managers and employees were
     unaware of the locaton or purpose of the manual trp feature. In at least
     three locatons, access to the fire extngushers was obstructed.

               •         Electrcal hazards

     Two sgnficant hazards were found n the dshwashng area of the Food
     Court. One breaker box dd not have an enclosed panel on ts five-foot
     front. Ths condton exposed employees to contact lve components
     when they open the door. The hazard was further aggravated by the fact
     that the surroundng floor area was wet. A slp n ths area could result
     n contact wth the breaker box. Contact wth the lve components under
     these condtons could result n serous njury or death. Ths condton
     was noted n the 2002 Report, but stll remans uncorrected. Another
     sgnficant hazard n the Food Court area was found n an electrcal swtch
     box where the wres were pulled out from the box onto the floor, and the
     floor was covered wth approxmately one-eghth nch of water.

     Hazards of an electrcal nature that could cause electrc shock or fire
     consttuted 80 of 136 documented deficences. A number of renovaton
     projects that have been undertaken n the Longworth Buldng over
     the course of years have nvolved rewrng and the nstallaton of new
     crcuts and electrcal panelboards throughout the buldng. However, the
     electrcal panels n at least eght locatons have not been properly updated
     to label the drectory of crcut breakers. As dscussed n Secton II.E. of
     ths Report, t s mperatve that electrcans and emergency responders
     be able to quckly locate and dentfy crcuts that may need to be de-
     energzed. A nnth electrcal panel n a tranng room, Room B-245,
     was obstructed by the recent nstallaton of electrcal components. The
     deficences wth these panel boards were noted n the 2002 Report and
     reman uncorrected.

               •         Confined spaces

     Confined spaces are areas that have lmted or restrcted entry and ext.
     Whle they are not desgned for contnuous occupancy, they are large
66   advancing safety, health, and workplace rights in the legistlative branch
enough and configured to allow an employee to enter wth hs or her
entre body n order to perform work. OSHA standards requre specfic
sgnage to be posted at the entry ponts for confined spaces. See 29
C.F.R. §1910.146. When the confined space area exposes the occupant
to specfic hazards entry may requre a specfic permt. Ar handler unts,
such as those found n the attc area Room SB-204, and Room SB-229
requre approprate sgnage dentfyng them as confined spaces. The AOC
must further nvestgate to determne whether these areas also qualfy as a
permt-entry requred space.

        •        Mechancal hazards

The nspecton team found several examples of neffectve or nonexstent
machne guardng. All power transmsson equpment, such as V-belt
pulley drves that are found on ar handlers, are requred to have protectve
guards to prevent contact f they are located wthn seven feet of a workng
surface. See 29 C.F.R. §1910.219. Wthout guards, these devces may
pull an employee nto a np pont at a pulley, causng serous njury such
as amputaton. Less serous njures, such as abrasons, may occur f an
employee comes nto contact wth movng objects. More effectve guardng
s needed at the ar handlers n the attc n B-97 and near Control panel
ACP-17; n the sub-basement at the West wall Fan Room and Room SB-
229; and also at the compressor belt drve n Room SB-204.

G. Rayburn House Office Building

 Rayburn House
 Office Buldng

 RAC 1                        2
 RAC 2                        165
 RAC 3                        212
 RAC 4                        27
               TOTALS         406

The Rayburn House Office Buldng was the ste of the greatest number of
safety volatons of any Captol Hll buldng dentfied durng ths bennal
nspecton. As wth the Cannon and Longworth House Office Buldngs,
only a lmted nspecton could be conducted of the Rayburn Buldng. The
nspecton team nspected approxmately 732,000 of 2.4 mllon square
feet. The nspecton ncluded the Captol’s Subway and Carpentry Dvson
Shops because the Archtect of the Captol’s House of Representatves
jursdcton ncludes these areas. The nspecton team dentfied a total of
406 hazards. Two were ranked as RAC 1 and 212 were ranked as RAC 2
n severty.

                                                          •         Fre barrers

                                                The AOC was cted n March 2000 because the four central starways,
                                                whch serve as emergency exts, dd not have fire-rated fire doors and the
                                                exstng fire doors were not mantaned n proper operatng condton.
                                                The 2004 nspecton revealed that lttle progress has been made n these
                                                deficences. Except for the nstallaton of approprate fire doors at the
                                                penthouse level and one set of double fire doors at the basement level,
                                                no fire doors have been nstalled at any floor level n the three remanng
                                                starwells. The non-complant doors are not desgned to wthstand the
                                                heat of fire and they lack the requred tght clearances, latches, or astragals.
                                                29 C.F.R. §1910.36(a)(3) and (d).

                                                The Office of General Counsel has prevously recommended the
                                                nsttuton of a comprehensve program of fire barrer mantenance n
                                                order to ensure the effectveness of the fire barrers n Legslatve Branch
                                                buldngs. The lack of such a program n the Rayburn Buldng has resulted
                                                n condtons that have compromsed the effectveness of ts fire barrers.
                                                The OGC nspectors dscovered that the wre glass n three fire doors had
                                                been replaced wth standard plate glass. The pane n another fire door
                                                contaned a hole. Another 17 doors were not able to close or latch. All
                                                of these deficences sgnficantly reduce the protecton that these doors
                                                are ntended to provde aganst the spread of fire, smoke, and toxc gases.
                                                The nspectors also found that the fire doors n a man corrdor and the
                                                prmary access door to the Members Storage Area were manually blocked
                                                open, renderng them neffectve aganst stoppng fire and smoke.

                                                Holes were also found n nneteen fire barrer walls throughout the
                                                Rayburn Buldng. The locatons nclude the Penthouse, basement garage,
                                                sub-basement, and three levels of the Rayburn Garage.

Hole in fire wall allows penetration of toxic

           68                                   advancing safety, health, and workplace rights in the legistlative branch
        •        Egress

A Notce of Serous Deficency Needng Prompt Attenton was ssued on
June 8, 2004, because the ext dscharge door at the top of the stars leadng
from the Swmmng Pool area requred excessve force to open. It would not
open untl a USCP officer kcked t multple tmes. Partcularly troublng
s that ths condton had been known by the USCP for many months pror
to the nspecton. The AOC promptly repared ths deficency on June 9,
2004. Conflctng nstructons were posted on ths ext door. One sgn
ndcated a 15-second delay and the other a 30-second delay, whch can
result n confuson and panc durng an emergency stuaton. All dscharge
doors wth delayed-openng devces must have approprate sgns ndcatng
proper procedure for openng the door n the event of an emergency. 29
C.F.R. §1910.35; NFPA 101-2000 §

As one of the largest buldngs on Captol Hll, the Rayburn Buldng houses
a large number of employees. Renovaton projects frequently occur, durng
whch the corrdors often serve as make-shft storage areas for furnture
that s moved nto and out of offices. OGC nspectors observed sgnficant
obstructon of the corrdors makng movement through the corrdors
dfficult for employees, especally those wth moblty mparments. On
other occasons, tables set up by camera crews for ther equpment create a
sgnficant restrcton on passage through the corrdors.

Another deficency drectly affectng employees wth moblty mparments
s the requrement for two accessble and complant exts. Currently, only
one complant and accessble ext s provded.

Many other volatons n the emergency lghtng and llumnated sgns
were found by the nspecton team. The Subway Dvson shop n the
Captol Buldng (whch falls under the AOC’s House of Representatves
jursdcton) s a large, mult-room area. The one and only emergency
lght was dentfied n a pror Report as beng noperable. Durng ths
nspecton, t was agan found to be noperable, resultng from a dead
battery. No emergency lghtng was found n the Members’ Locker Area
n the Swmmng Pool complex. Even though that area provdes an
llumnated ext sgn, one of the two bulbs was not functonng. Bulbs n
the ext sgnage of the Members’ Gym was not functonng. In addton,
the ext route was obstructed by furnture. The ext route from the Exercse
Room n the Northeast corner of the Gym, the Women’s Ftness Center, the
Recordng Studo, the Buldng Engneer’s Area of the Ar Condtonng
Dvson, and all lacked emergency lghtng. The Women’s Ftness Center
and the Recordng Studo also lacked approved ext sgns.

        •        Fre suppresson

One area of mprovement noted by the nspecton team n the Rayburn
Buldng was that durng the past three years, a fire sprnkler and smoke
                                       detecton system has been nstalled n most of the occuped areas of
                                       the buldng. Durng ths same tme perod, the fire alarm system was
                                       extensvely upgraded. These devces reman two of the most effectve
                                       measures aganst fire.

                                       Even wth these mprovements, sgnficant hazards were dentfied. The
                                       2000 nspecton found that the Halon fire suppresson system, used n
                                       several computer rooms, had not receved ts annual nspecton. Whle t
                                       was nspected snce the 2000 nspecton, t was agan found to be overdue
                                       for ts annual nspecton. The fire sprnkler valve n the closet area near
                                       Lobby Number 6 was last nspected n November 2000.

                                       Thrteen specfic volatons of materals beng stored less than 18 nches
                                       below the plane of fire sprnkler heads were found. Two of the locatons
                                       where stored materals obstructed the fire sprnkler plane were n the
                                       USCP Pstol Range where ammunton s stored and n the Members’
                                       Storage Room. It s mportant to note that only several dozen storage
                                       areas were nspected. Therefore, t s antcpated that many more smlar
                                       volatons exst throughout the buldng.

                                       Deficences were also noted wth the frequency of nspecton of the
                                       buldng’s fire extngushers. Fre extngushers are to be vsually examned
                                       on a monthly bass to ensure that they are fully charged and operable. One
                                       extngusher n the Trash Balng Room had not been nspected snce 2000.
                                       Of partcular concern was the fact that t had prevously been dscharged
                                       and returned to ts normal poston. It s therefore mpossble to determne
                                       how long ths problem exsted. Twenty-five other unts had verficaton
                                       tags ndcatng nspectons n excess of one month. Twelve had not been
                                       nspected snce 2003, and of those one had not been nspected snce 1974
                                       and two others not snce 1984.

                                                 •         Safety hazards

                                       The nspecton team found four nstances of pressurzed cylnders that
                                       were unsecured.

Unsecured pressurized gas cylinders.

          70                           advancing safety, health, and workplace rights in the legistlative branch
As dscussed prevously n ths Report, the valves of pressurzed cylnders
are easly damaged durng a fall. Serous flash fires or explosons may
occur, as well as the cylnder may become a mssle-lke projectle capable
of nflctng serous njury to employees and physcal damage n ts path.

Deficences were also found n the protectve guards of mechancal
equpment such as a power saw, rotatng water pump shaft, two grnders,
seven fans, the trash balng machne, and twenty-seven ar handlers.

Many of the ar handler unts n the Rayburn Buldng were found to not
have approprate warnng sgns posted at the entry ponts for confined

Lead-acd batteres emt hydrogen gas whch s hghly flammable. Therefore,
OSHA requres the postng of “No Smokng” warnng sgns where such
batteres are recharged. 29 C.F.R. §1910.178(g)(10). The chargng statons
for electrcal storage batteres outsde the Sheet Metal Dvson Shop,
the Ar Condtonng Dvson Shop, and n a parkng area faled to post
such warnng sgnage. One room wth smlar batteres faled to provde a
requred eyewash staton. 29 C.F.R. §1910.151(c). Three other locatons,
ncludng the Trash Balng Room and the Hgh Voltage Room, provded
eyewash statons, but access to them was obstructed.

Materal safety data sheets were found to be mssng or unavalable n at
least eght (8) areas. The sgnficance of the MSDS was dscussed prevously
n Secton III.C. of ths Report. See Secton III.C.

        •       Electrcal hazards

The mproper use of extenson cords was prevalent throughout the Rayburn
Buldng. The OGC nspecton team found 63 specfic volatons of ths
nature. A lack of avalable electrcal outlets appeared to be the leadng
cause of the mproper use of extenson cords. For example, several rooms
wth only two electrcal outlets were found to house five work statons. In
one work area, alone, five power strps were plugged nto a sngle power
strp to expand the number of outlets to 25.

The nspecton team also found 25 nstances of exposed, energzed wrng,
20 locatons where ground fault crcut nterrupters (GFCIs) were requred
but had not been nstalled, and eght nstances of mssng electrcal

As n other buldngs n the Legslatve Branch, the electrcal panelboards
housng crcut breakers n the Rayburn Buldng were ether ncomplete
or outdated. Extensve rewrng and expanson of electrcal servce occurs
on an on-gong bass throughout the buldng. However, at least 13
panelboards had drectores and ndexes that faled to properly dentfy the
functon of all crcut breakers.
V. Requestor-Initiated   Secton 215(c) of the Congressonal Accountablty Act allows covered
Inspections              employees, employng offices, and barganng unts representng covered
                         employees to file Requests for Inspecton allegng volatons of the
                         Occupatonal Safety and Health Act. 2 U.S.C. §1341(c). Pursuant to ths
                         authorty, the Office of the General Counsel nvestgates such allegatons
                         and makes a determnaton as to approprate acton. Snce these ssues are
                         often rased by employees most ntmately exposed to the daly workng
                         condtons n the Legslatve Branch, they warrant serous attenton.
                         The ultmate goal n these crcumstances s to dentfy and facltate an
                         approprate abatement or correctve acton where serous hazards are
                         dentfied by the OGC. As part of ths functon, the General Counsel
                         may ssue a ctaton and, when necessary to enforce correctve acton, a
                         formal complant.

                         The OGC experenced a 55% ncrease n the number of Requests for
                         Inspecton filed durng the 108th Congress over the number filed durng
                         the 107th. Sxty-five Requests were filed durng the 108th Congress,
                         compared to 42 n 2001-2002. The vast majorty of Requests contnue to
                         be filed by ndvdual employees or Unon representatves. Several Requests
                         rased sgnficant legal ssues that have broad mplcatons regardng the
                         jursdcton and scope of the CAA and the lablty of employng offices.

                         The dscusson below hghlghts the Requests for Inspecton ntated from
                         2003-2004 that rase the most sgnficant ssues and those matters that have
                         been rased several tmes n separate Requests. Some attenton s focused
                         on ssues that arose durng the 107th Congress, but were nvestgated
                         or resolved durng the 108th Congress. The matters addressed nclude
                         contractor complance, alarms and evacuaton, Polce Communcatons
                         Centers, chemcal and bologcal hazards, asbestos, and lead n water.

                         A. Contractor Compliance

                         Three ncdents durng the 108th Congress focused on njures caused by
                         contractors retaned by the AOC. Two ncdents caused actual physcal
                         njury to Legslatve Branch employees. Another ncdent potentally
                         exposed employees to sgnficant rsk of njury and the Cannon House
                         Office Buldng to sgnficant rsk of property damage.

                         In the first ncdent, OGC nspectors nvestgated a complant filed by a
                         Member of the House of Representatves regardng debrs and furnture
                         stored n the hallways of the Cannon House Office Buldng that created
                         a fire and evacuaton hazard. Durng the course of that nvestgaton,
                         the nspecton team became concerned when they noted unsecured,
                         pressurzed cylnders of acetylene and oxygen. The acetylene cylnder
                         and an unsecured oxygen cylnder were standng uprght on an elevated
                         concrete platform. The nspectors took mmedate acton regardng the
                         unsecured cylnders because pressurzed cylnders easly become mssle-
      72                 advancing safety, health, and workplace rights in the legistlative branch
                                                    lke projectles when they are damaged n a fall, thereby creatng a rsk of
                                                    fire and exploson. Acetylene explosons have been known to blow out
                                                    entre buldng sectons. These cylnders had been left unsecured by an
                                                    AOC contractor hred to modernze the elevators.

                                                    The other two ncdents nvolved temporary securty barrers surroundng a
                                                    constructon ste at the Adams Lbrary of Congress Buldng. Installng the
                                                    securty barrers around the buldng requred the contractor to construct a
                                                    temporary chan lnk fence around the constructon area and the sdewalk
                                                    along the edge of Second Street S.E. The first ncdent occurred n late
                                                    October 2004. The fence blew over on an LOC employee who receved
                                                    cuts, abrasons, and torn clothng as a result of the accdent.

Temporary fence that fell over and injured people
held up by cement block.

                                                    The other ncdent occurred n early November 2004 along the same
                                                    temporary sdewalk. Another LOC employee fell after she stepped nto
                                                    a dp located near the ntersecton of Pennsylvana Avenue and Second
                                                    Street, S.E. The falure to provde lghtng n ths area ether apparently
                                                    caused, or sgnficantly contrbuted, to ths accdent. The employee’s njures
                                                    ncluded cuts and bruses to her legs and arms. Both of these condtons
                                                    were promptly remeded upon notce to the AOC. The AOC modfied the
                                                    contract to provde addtonal safety precautons to secure the temporary
                                                    fencng and to nstall temporary lghtng.

                                                    The General Counsel ssued a ctaton to the AOC for the unsafe
                                                    condtons created by the contractor who had faled to properly secure an
                                                    acetylene cylnder, thus endangerng Legslatve Branch employees n the
                                                    Cannon Office Buldng . The ctaton focuses on the degree of oversght
                                                    and responsblty the AOC s requred to provde over contractor work
                                                    beng executed n Legslatve Branch facltes. The AOC conducts much
                                                    of ts constructon and repar work through the use of contractors; these
                                                    contractors are also used to montor the work of other contractors, ncludng
                                                    ther safety practces. The AOC has contested ths ctaton, assertng that
                                                    t has lmted, f any, responsblty to ensure complance wth OSHA and
                                                    safety standards whenever work, ncludng that of montorng the work of

     contractors, s performed by ts contractors.53

     The General Counsel contends that the OGC’s jursdcton to hold the
     AOC accountable for complyng wth safety standards does not turn
     on whether the AOC performs ts work drectly or through the use of
     contractors. Were t otherwse, mantenance of health and safety n much
     of the Legslatve Branch would depend on the dlgence and skll of
     ndependent contractors rather than that of the Archtect of the Captol.
     However, by statute, the Archtect of the Captol s specfically charged
     wth responsblty for the supervson and control of all servces necessary
     for the protecton and care of the Captol and the Senate and House
     Office Buldngs.54 Moreover, under OSHA’s Mult-Employer Ctaton
     Polcy (CPL 02-00-124, Dec. 10, 1999, Sectons X(c) and X(e)), the AOC,
     as both a controllng and exposng employer engaged n constructon
     and repar work n these facltes, s accountable for safety volatons. 55
     Accordngly, the General Counsel charged that the AOC was responsble
     for preventng, dentfyng, and ensurng abatement of safety hazards at
     ts constructon stes whether those hazards were created by the AOC
     drectly or through contractors t selected to carry out ts work.

     It s the poston of the General Counsel that n adoptng the CAA,
     Congress, rather than delegatng to the Executve Branch the authorty
     to enforce OSH standards on Captol Hll, created an entty wthn the
     Legslatve Branch to assure complance wth the OSH Act wth respect
     to covered employng offices. Ths statutory scheme provdes a unform
     pattern of enforcement throughout the Legslatve Branch by the Office
     of Complance. Under the AOC’s approach, however, OSHA, rather than
     the Office of Complance, would be responsble for enforcement of

     53         In comments to the Draft Report, the AOC objects to ths characterzaton of ts
     poston. However, the AOC elected not to provde an alternatve statement of ts poston.

     54            See 2 U.S.C. §2001 (“The House of Representatves Office Buldng ... and the
     employment of all servce, other than officers and prvates of the Captol polce, that may be
     approprated for by Congress, necessary for ts protecton, care, and occupancy, shall be under the
     control and supervson of the Archtect of the Captol, subject to the approval and drecton of a
     commsson consstng of the Speaker of the House of Representatves and two Representatves
     n Congress, to be apponted by the Speaker.”); 2 U.S.C. §1833 (“The electrcan, together wth
     everythng pertanng to the electrcal machnery and apparatus, and the ventlaton and heatng
     of the House of Representatves, and all laborers and others connected wth the lghtng, heatng,
     and ventlatng thereof, shall be subject exclusvely to the orders, and n all respects under the
     drecton, of the Archtect of the Captol, subject to the control of the Speaker .... And all engneers
     and others who are engaged n heatng and ventlatng the House shall be subject to the orders,
     and n all respects under the drecton, of the Archtect of the Captol, subject to the control of the

     55           The AOC s not releved of ts statutory responsbltes by contractng out to other
     enttes any of ts oblgatons for assurng safety on the jobste. Cf. Brock v. Cty Ol Well Servce
     Co., 795 F.2d 507, 512 (5th Cr. 1986); Central of Georga Ralroad Company v. OSHRC, 576 F.2d
     620, 624 (5th Cr. 1978)(“[A]n employer may not contract out ts statutory responsbltes under

74   advancing safety, health, and workplace rights in the legistlative branch
health and safety standards on Captol Hll to the extent the AOC delegated
ts safety responsbltes to employers not drectly subject to the CAA.

The AOC’s poston n ths matter s not dssmlar to that taken n another
context that was the subject of a recent testmony before the Subcommttee
on the Legslatve Branch by Davd M. Walker, Comptroller General
of the Unted States concernng the AOC’s falure to provde adequate
safety oversght of the work performed by contractors and safety rsks n
ts management of the Captol Vstor Center project. See “Testmony
Before the Subcommttee on the Legslatve Branch, Commttee on
Appropratons, U.S. Senate”, May 17, 2005, Captol Vstor Center:
Prorty Attenton Needed to Manage Schedules and Contracts, p. 9
(“AOC had not fully exercsed ts authorty to have the contractors take
correctve actons to address recurrng safety concerns.”).

The General Counsel contnues negotaton wth the AOC n an effort to
acheve an approprate resoluton of ths matter.

B. Alarms and Evacuation

Employees and unon representatves filed fourteen Requests for Inspecton
durng 2003-2004 concernng alarms and evacuatons. These Requests
concerned the effectve functonng of alarms and the mpact on the
evacuaton of Legslatve Branch facltes.

At least eght of those Requests focused on delays that occurred n
actvatng the buldng-wde alarm systems n the Madson and Adams
LOC Buldngs. These systems use a pre-sgnal sequence whereby a sgnal
s sent to the LOC Polce Communcatons Center when a smoke alarm
s actvated. Upon recevng the sgnal, an officer s dspatched to nspect
the locaton to determne whether the buldng-wde alarm for evacuaton
should be actvated. A fifteen mnute delay occurred durng one response,
n part as a result of the AOC falng to notfy the LOC about the system
change and n part as a result of the nadequate tranng of LOC Polce
Officers and nsufficent staffing of the PCC. The lack of tranng has
been corrected but the adequacy of staffing s stll under revew. Snce the
nspecton, the LOC Polce have nsttuted a change n polcy to actvate a
buldng evacuaton wthn three mnutes of the ntal sgnal as requred by
the 2000 Lfe Safety Code, Secton

In several other ncdents, alarms could not be heard n parts of the
buldngs or were only actvated n parts of the Madson LOC Buldng.
One deficency was remeded by replacng an amplfier and the addton
of an alarm horn. Another deficency was remeded by replacng a faulty
smoke detector.

     Two Requests focused on the concern rased by the General Counsel n
     the 2002 Report that the audblty of the alarm system n the Captol
     Buldng s nadequate. The Requests alleged that the evacuaton alarms
     were not audble when the Captol Buldng s crowded. Tests conducted
     by the OGC nspecton team supported the allegatons. No alarms were
     present n the mmedate area and dstant alarms could not be heard
     above the ambent nose, n the Rotunda, Crypt area, or Statuary Hall.
     Ths consttutes a volaton of the Lfe Safety Code of the Natonal Fre
     Protecton Assocaton. Secton; 29 C.F.R. §1910.165(b)(2).
     The AOC has undertaken equpment upgrades to partally correct these
     condtons. Fre alarms have been nstalled n the three areas, but as was
     recommended n the 2002 Report, a comprehensve survey regardng the
     audblty of the alarms n the publc areas of the Captol s stll needed.

     Other volatons of the Lfe Safety Code were rased n four Requests
     for Inspecton. Employees complaned that doors of LOC Buldngs
     were beng closed durng tmes the buldngs were open to the publc.
     These matters were resolved when the LOC Polce ssued a correctve
     order requrng that doors be open and staffed durng all tmes when
     the buldngs were regularly open to the publc. In several other unon
     Requests, t was alleged that LOC Polce Officers were unable to open a
     revolvng door at the Adams Buldng durng an emergency evacuaton,
     thereby lmtng egress through one doorway. The allegatons further allege
     that the officers delayed employees from crossng the street to report to
     desgnated assembly ponts. Ths matter s currently under nvestgaton.

     C. Emergency Action Plans

     Unon representatves have filed a total of eght Requests for Inspecton,
     ctng deficences n the executon of the LOC’s Emergency Acton Plans
     (EAPs) for buldng evacuaton. One Request was filed after only one LOC
     buldng was evacuated when an unauthorzed arplane entered restrcted
     ar space above Captol Hll. Another Request questoned a substantal
     grdlock that occurred n the Madson Buldng durng a fire evacuaton.
     Employees were requred to ext through a book detecton gate nstead of
     beng drected to ext through all avalable doors. These complants have
     been resolved by provdng refresher tranng on evacuaton procedures
     to LOC Polce Officers and mprovng nternal LOC communcaton
     regardng the schedulng of evacuaton drlls. The LOC also developed
     an Employee Emergency Acton Gude that addresses shelter-n-place
     procedures and office emergency plans.

     Four addtonal Requests resulted from a weldng fire n the Madson LOC
     Buldng. Those Requests were consoldated for nvestgaton. In one, the
     welders dd not follow Hot Work Permt procedures and attempted to
     extngush the fire themselves nstead of mmedately soundng the fire
     alarm. Other employees suffered smoke and contamnant nhalaton when
76   advancing safety, health, and workplace rights in the legistlative branch
they were allowed to reenter the Madson Buldng too soon followng the
fire. These hazards have been partally abated.

In another Request, LOC Polce Officers were unable to drect Dstrct
of Columba firefighters to contaners (Knox Boxes) that house buldng
and elevator keys durng an evacuaton. Such tranng was provded to the
Officers n November 2004.

D. Evacuation of Persons with Disabilities

A number of Requests for Inspecton filed wth the Office of General
Counsel durng the 108th Congress rase serous and complex concerns
regardng the evacuaton procedures for persons wth dsabltes. In
January 2003, a fire evacuaton occurred n the LOC Madson Buldng.
Durng ths evacuaton, employees wth moblty mparments gathered n
desgnated stagng areas for rescue assstance but were then drected to ext
va the starwells. Other employees became ll from lngerng smoke when
they were permtted to return before the buldng was cleared for a safe
return. Ths ncdent also resulted n Requests questonng whether the
stagng areas n the Madson Buldng meet all fire safety standards, whether
the pre-sgnal sequencng feature s effectve, why elevators contnued to
operate after the alarms sounded, and should elevators be used to evacuate
employees wth dsabltes under specfic condtons.56

E. Police Communications Centers

As noted above, both the USCP and LOC Polce forces operate
communcatons centers. Two Requests for Inspecton were filed regardng
PCC understaffing and untraned and undertraned officers operatng the
LOC’s PCC. An ntal nvestgaton by the OGC determned that PCC
techncan tranng manuals needed to be updated wth current nformaton
to allow the Polce Techncans to properly perform ther dutes. Instead, the
manuals only provded nformaton on equpment that was no longer used.
A unon-ntated Request alleged that LOC Polce rados were mproperly
shut down n October 2004 for repar purposes when the Lbrary was open
to the publc. These matters are currently under nvestgaton.

Two separate Requests for Inspecton allegng health volatons arose n
both the USCP and LOC. An officer employed n the LOC alleged she
was exposed to toxc fumes and a USCP officer alleged that she was exposed
to heavy second-hand smoke from co-workers durng her duty shft. An
nvestgaton of the LOC matter revealed that the fumes emanated from
cuttng pressure-treated wood and resn board, but the exposure level
was far below that consdered to be permssble by OSHA. The General

56         The LOC reports n comments to the Draft Report that vbratng pagers have been
provded to the hearng-mpared, areas of rescue assstance establshed, and star chars and montors
provded for the moblty-mpared to assst n evacuaton efforts.
     Counsel closed the case from the USCP because OSHA has adopted no
     enforceable standard regardng ndoor ar qualty.

     F. Chemical and Biological Hazards

     The General Counsel ssued five ctatons to the LOC regardng Requests
     filed n 2001 by the LOC Fraternal Order of Polce officers after the LOC
     faled to provde wrtten chemcal and bologcal emergency response
     procedures; faled to provde wrtten procedures regardng the wearng
     of personal protecton equpment; and faled to provde tranng n
     those procedures. The volatons have been partally, but not completely,

     Several unon-ntated Requests for Inspecton, smlar to those filed n
     the LOC, alleged that the USCP dd not provde ts officers wth adequate
     personal protecton equpment to respond to possble anthrax ncdents;
     adequate tranng on how to respond to chemcal and bologcal threats;
     adequate tranng on how to examne suspcous packages; and resprator
     masks faled to provde adequate protecton.57 These deficences reman
     unabated, and n large part unnvestgated, because the OGC has not been
     provded requested documents related to the USCP’s emergency plannng
     steps and procedures. The USCP’s poston s that the documents are
     securty-senstve. Snce ths Report was prepared, the partes have
     negotated an agreement governng the release of securty-senstve
     documents to address ths and smlar stuatons. See Secton III.A.

     G. Asbestos

     At least seven employee and unon Requests were filed regardng possble
     exposure to asbestos. The Requests arose from varous sectors - the LOC
     Madson Buldng, the Captol, and the Ford House Office Buldng.

     In one, LOC employees were exposed to asbestos after the basement n
     the Madson Buldng flooded. Durng removal of the carpet, floor tles
     contanng asbestos were loosened thereby releasng partcles of asbestos
     nto the ar. Testng by an OGC ndustral hygenst revealed that the glue
     and tles were n fact asbestos contanng materals (ACM). Later testng
     found that the arborne fibers were wthn the safety lmts establshed by
     OSHA.58 The nspecton determned that LOC employees had not been
     tmely notfied that floor tles contaned ACM, a volaton of the OSHA

     57         The background nformaton regardng the acquston of ************ emergency escape
     masks s dscussed n greater detal n Secton II.A.

     58           In comments to the Draft Report, the AOC asserts that no exposure occurred and that
     all tests returned negatve. However, any exposure n ths case occurred at the tme the tles were
     dsturbed. Testng performng at a later date or tme would not ndcate ths condton.

78   advancing safety, health, and workplace rights in the legistlative branch
                                 standards. However, the tles have now been properly removed, dsposed
                                 of, and replaced.

                                 In the Senate Recordng Studo, an employee reported that an AOC
                                 contractor had cut nto wall boards contanng asbestos, releasng asbestos
                                 partcles nto the ar. As a result of ths ncdent, the AOC and the Senate
                                 Sergeant at Arms evacuated all employees n the vcnty and cleaned the
                                 area accordng to OSHA gudelnes. After the cleanup, an nspector from
                                 the OGC tested and verfied that the arborne levels of asbestos were
                                 wthn acceptable lmts.

                                 Two Requests were filed by employees n the Ford House Office Buldng.
                                 Both alleged that durng roof constructon n 2004, asbestos dust had
                                 settled n ther work areas. Testng by nspectors from the Office of the
                                 General Counsel showed that the dust present, whle contanng traces of
                                 asbestos, was well below levels consdered to be permssble.

                                 H. Potable Water

                                 Issues regardng the access to and qualty of drnkng water wthn
                                 Legslatve Branch buldngs was rased agan durng the 108th Congress.
                                 The Lbrary of Congress Professonal Guld filed several Requests for
                                 Inspecton concernng low water pressure and water qualty n the Jefferson
                                 and Adams LOC Buldngs. Water samples, taken from both sources,
                                 ndcated the presence of elevated lead levels. The General Counsel ssued
                                 a ctaton n January 2005. Followng the ssuance of the ctaton, the
                                 AOC s temporarly provdng bottled water at those stes where elevated
                                 levels of lead were found and where the fountans have been dsabled. A
                                 consultant has been retaned to propose a long-term soluton.

                                 The Russell Senate Office Buldng was the focus of two separate unon-
                                 ntated Requests allegng that nght employees dd not have access to
                                 potable water one nght when water was temporarly shut off and that
                                 personal protecton equpment was not provded to clean up feces n
                                 restroom water. Ths matter remans under nvestgaton.

VI. Challenges and Initiatives   The statutory dutes of the Office of General Counsel related to safety and
                                 health extend beyond the duty to nspect Legslatve Branch buldngs for
                                 volatons and upon the request of ndvdual employees. The Office of
                                 Complance s also tasked to

                                         ...carry out a program of educaton for Members of Congress
                                         and other employng authortes of the Legslatve Branch of the
                                         Federal Government respectng the laws made applcable to them
                                         and a program to nform ndvduals of ther rghts under laws
                                         applcable to the Legslatve Branch of the Federal Government.

     See 2 U.S.C. §1381(h)(1). To ths end, the General Counsel, n cooperaton
     wth the Executve Drector of the OOC, has pursued several ntatves
     to foster a more nteractve and collaboratve approach to preventng and
     abatng safety and health volatons. These ntatves nclude ncreasng
     awareness of health and safety ssues, provdng advance notce of findngs
     to employng offices followng nspectons, and conductng quarterly safety
     and health conferences for employng offices, unons, and employees.

     A. Increasing Awareness of Safety and Health Issues

     Durng the 108th Congress, the Office began to publsh web-based
     nformaton sheets known as “Fast Facts”, whch cover a broad range of
     topcs and provde Legslatve Branch employees and employng offices a
     bref summary of how to avod common workplace hazards. To date, sx
     “Fast Facts” have been publshed addressng such topcs as obstructon
     of fire sprnklers, fire door safety, space heaters, damaged power cords,
     electrcal panel accessblty, and extenson cords and power strps. The
     “Fast Facts” are an effectve tool because they are smple, easly dstrbuted,
     and contrbute to awareness of hazards that otherwse may go unnotced
     and uncorrected.

     “Bulletns” are now publshed quarterly, and occasonally n specal edtons,
     by the Office of Complance. These publcatons address the broader
     scope of protectons provded by the Congressonal Accountablty Act,
     ncludng health and safety ssues. Several “Bulletns” have covered these
     ssues ncludng such topcs as publc access and accommodaton rghts,
     common office hazards, workplace safety, office emergency acton plans,
     safe mal handlng procedures, preparng for an emergency, and stress
     and anxety n the workplace. The “Bulletns” themselves are generally
     two pages and address both employer oblgatons and employee rghts
     and how the Office of the General Counsel may assst n enforcng these
     rghts. They also drect readers to addtonal sources for nformaton and/
     or assstance.

     B. Advance Notification of Proposed Findings

     The General Counsel determned that the nspectons conducted pursuant
     to the Congressonal Accountablty Act durng the 108th Congress
     would not only be more comprehensve but would also be conducted
     usng a more collaboratve approach than employed n pror years. Before
     the nspectons commenced, the General Counsel conducted openng
     conferences for employng offices; partes were notfied of the scope of
     the nvestgatons; and perodcally durng the course of the nspectons,
     employng offices were brefed by the OGC nspecton team regardng
     volatons dentfied thus far so that they could correct condtons before
     ther buldngs were nspected. Employng offices were provded wth a
80   advancing safety, health, and workplace rights in the legistlative branch
copy of the nspecton findngs as each faclty was nspected rather than
havng to awat the completon of the bennal nspecton. Ths allowed
employng offices ample opportunty to comment on the findngs before
they were finalzed by the General Counsel and submtted to Congress as
part of the Bennal Report.

C. Reducing Fluctuations in Biennial Inspections

In order to provde more tme for nspectons and reduce the nspecton
schedule compresson, the Bennal Inspecton for the 109th Congress
s beng commenced early n the new sesson. In the past, the bennal
nspecton was often not conducted untl the second year of each sesson
of Congress. Ths severely lmted the tme avalable for staff to conduct
Requestor-Intated Inspectons durng the same perod. As a result, these
nspectons were deferred and backlogs grew. The delay n dsposng of
ths growng backlog of open cases deservedly drew crtcsm from labor
organzatons and employng offices alke. By conductng nspectons
over a two-year perod, the overall qualty of all nspectons should be
enhanced, and the ablty to nspect all covered facltes durng the term
of each Congress and to be more tmely n conductng Requestor-Intated
Inspectons should be mproved.

In ts FY 2004 Annual Report, p. 11, the OOC noted that ”even wth the
greater efficency derved from the longer nspecton cycle, the General
Counsel wll be unable to conduct all perodc and Requestor-Intated
Inspectons on a tmely bass untl adequate addtonal staff and resources
become avalable. Ths problem s expected to worsen as the AOC brngs
under ts jursdcton addtonal facltes, such as the Captol Vstors
Center.” Accordngly, the OOC submtted an amended budget request
for FY 2006 seekng addtonal resources to enable the OGC to conduct
complete and tmely health and safety nspectons. Ths request was
approved by both the House and the Senate.

D. Training Outreach

As part of ts msson to educate Legslatve Branch employng offices and
employees, the Office of Complance conducted the first-ever Captol Hll-
wde conference on workplace safety and health n Congress. Moderated
by the Congressonal Management Foundaton, the conference ncluded
panel dscussons, featurng Jay Eagen, Chef Admnstratve Officer, U.S.
House of Representatves and Susan P. Adams, Drector of Safety, Fre, and
Envronmental Programs, Office of the Archtect of the Captol, as well as
expert speakers, ncludng Assstant Secretary of Labor for Occupatonal
Safety and Health, John L. Henshaw, and Alan C. McMllan, Presdent
and Chef Executve Officer, Natonal Safety Councl. Representatve
Chrstopher Shays (R-CT) and Representatve John Larson (D-CT) also
addressed the conference. The conference program focused on creatng

     and mplementng health and safety programs n employng offices, wth
     emphass on resources avalable to assst employng offices through the
     Voluntary Protecton Programs Partcpants’ Assocaton and coordnatng
     program nformaton wth other Hll offices.

     One outgrowth of the conference was the creaton of the Legslatve Branch
     Health and Safety Group. Open to all nterested Legslatve Branch staff
     havng safety and health responsbltes, the Health and Safety Group was
     ntated by the Office of Complance n order to provde a forum to relay
     nformaton to employng offices “‘at the front end’ concernng sgnficant
     actvtes and ntatves,” as suggested by the GAO. (GAO Report, pp. 33-
     34). The Health and Safety Group generally meets on a quarterly bass
     allowng the OGC to share nformaton wth employng offices on the
     progress of perodc nspectons, OSH and ADA deficences dscovered
     durng nspectons, and other tems of common nterest. It also serves
     as an outlet for provdng educatonal nformaton, such as presentatons
     by the Lbrary of Congress and the Archtect of the Captol regardng
     the role played by Jursdctonal Occupatonal Safety and Health ( JOSH)
     Commttees n addressng health and safety concerns. As noted n the
     OOC’s FY 2004 Annual Report, p. 12, the General Counsel wll also be
     explorng the formaton of a safety management group wthn Congress,
     composed of senor level staff from employng offices, to focus on the
     sharng of best practces and achevng greater coordnaton of safety and
     health efforts at the management level.

     E. Monitoring Abatement of Citations and Violation Findings

     Followng the completon of both perodc and Requestor-Intated
     Inspectons and the notficaton the exstence of volatons, the responsble
     employng offices submt abatement plans to the OGC that may be ether
     short or long-term n duraton. The CAA contemplates prompt abatement
     of all dentfied volatons. In partcular, §1341 (c)(6) of the CAA drects
     that “f new appropratons are necessary to correct a volaton... correcton
     or complance shall take place as soon as possble, but not later than the
     end of the fiscal year followng the fiscal year n whch the ctaton s
     ssued ....”

     Employng offices report that the vast majorty of volatons are corrected
     durng or shortly after the nspecton. However, because of the tme and
     cost nvolved and the need for new appropratons, certan volatons
     may requre more extended tme to abate. It has become apparent to
     the General Counsel durng the 108th Bennal Inspecton that there
     has been lttle progress n abatng many serous volatons. Moreover,
     responsble employng offices often do not apprse the General Counsel of
     the status of abatement efforts or of changes n abatement schedules that
     have further extended the estmated completon dates. In other nstances,
     abatement has been partal or neffectve. In the past, because of lmted
82   advancing safety, health, and workplace rights in the legistlative branch
resources, the OGC has placed nsufficent emphass on abatement and has
reled too much on voluntary acton by employng offices to follow through
on meetng ther abatement oblgatons.

Durng the course of the 109th Congress, the General Counsel wll place
specal emphass on montorng and assurng complance by responsble
employng offices wth outstandng unabated ctatons and other uncorrected
volatons. The mplementaton of a new case trackng system n 2005
sgnficantly enhances the OGC’s ablty to ncrease ths oversght and
montorng functon. We also ntend to work wth the employng offices
to explore ways to assst them n addressng any systemc problems that
may contrbute to delayed or nadequate abatement, and the recurrence of
repeat volatons.

F. Self-Monitoring of Safety Conditions and Maintenance

From ts ntal Report to Congress n June of 1996, the OGC has
emphaszed that one of the most sgnficant obstacles to the preventon
of and prompt correcton of safety and health hazards n the Legslatve
Branch s the lack of self-montorng and self-complance by employng
offices through effectve safety and health programs. The General Counsel
noted that whle many larger organzatons, such as the AOC, LOC, and
GAO, have formal, wrtten safety polces, the programs lack essental
elements to serve as preventve safeguards. See 1996 Report, pp. 5-6.

Closely related to the falure of some employng offices to tmely comply
wth establshed abatement plans s the falure to develop and mplement
effectve montorng and mantenance programs to assure aganst a
recurrence of the same or smlar types of volatons. It goes wthout sayng
that employng offices are responsble for assurng that adequate health
and safety condtons exst for ther respectve own employees; the Office
of Complance was not created to functon n ther stead as the safety office
for Legslatve Branch nstrumentaltes. Rather, the OOC serves both an
enforcement and educatve functon: to assure complance wth applcable
safety and health code requrements and to nform and assst employng
offices n carryng out ther respectve safety and health responsbltes.
Accordngly, t s essental that employng offices contnuously operate
pro-actvely wth respect to the health and safety envronments wthn
ther own offices, and not rely excessvely on OGC bennal nspectons to
dentfy all hazardous condtons.

Employng offices have enhanced ther efforts at self-polcng snce 1996,
and as dscussed earler n ths Report, they have augmented safety and
health professonals on ther respectve staffs to ths end. See pp. 3-4,
above. However, gven the number of volatons dentfied durng the
108th Bennal Inspecton, much work n ths area remans to be done. For

     example, ths nspecton team, and those durng past perodc nspectons,
     have frequently cted employng offices for volatons that were ultmately
     abated. However, n subsequent nspectons, they have found numerous
     nstances where the same types of hazards were dscovered n the same
     or dfferent locatons, leadng to findngs of new volatons. Ths would
     suggest ether a falure of adequate abatement n the first place or a falure
     to adequately examne and address dentfied volatons throughout the
     organzaton on a systemc bass and to “look for patterns and dentfy
     possble common or underlyng causes of potental workplace hazards.”
     See GAO Report, p. 29.

     G.   Development of Employing Office Health and Safety

     Substantal progress has been made by some employng offices n the
     development of safety and health programs. Due to tme and resource
     constrants, a thorough examnaton of these programs by the OGC was
     not possble durng the 2004 nspecton. Durng the 109th Bennal
     Inspecton, however, the General Counsel ntends to begn a comprehensve
     revew of these programs. One noted deficency observed n the 108th
     Bennal Inspecton was n the area of employee tranng programs. These
     programs should be desgned to ensure that all employees understand
     and are aware of the hazards to whch they may be exposed and the
     proper methods for avodng such hazards. Where the nature of the
     job requres t, specalzed tranng must be provded. Whle sgnficant
     tranng protocols have been developed by some employng offices, such
     as the AOC for ts constructon workers, the Senate, through ts Office of
     Securty and Emergency Preparedness, and the House, through ts Office
     of Emergency Plannng and Preparedness, and Operatons,59 there were
     other areas observed where the lack of adequate tranng was noted durng
     the 2004 Bennal Inspecton. For example, as dscussed n Secton III.
     C, the nspecton team found that n four work stes employees were not
     adequately notfied of the dangers of the chemcals they were usng, such
     as methylene chlorde. In that case, the safety programs dd not provde
     procedures for the tmely and accurate updatng of MSDS nformaton or
     employees were unable to recognze the chemcal hazards on the dentfied
     on the MSDSs due to a lack of adequate tranng. Other areas where
     there were observed deficences ncluded nsufficent tranng n confined
     space standards and n recognzng electrcal hazards..

     The General Counsel agan recommends that all employng offices self-
     evaluate the effectveness of ther safety and health programs on an
     ongong bass.

     59        The House Employment Counsel reported ths nformaton n comments to the Draft

84   advancing safety, health, and workplace rights in the legistlative branch
VII. Recommendations   As stated at the outset of ths Report, Secton 215(e)(1) of the CAA
                       requres the General Counsel to provde a comprehensve assessment of
                       the health and safety condtons wthn the Legslatve Branch. In addton
                       to dentfyng specfic hazards, the General Counsel has the correlatve
                       responsblty “to look for patterns and dentfy possble common or
                       underlyng causes of potental workplace hazards.” See GAO Report, p. 29.
                       An essental element of ths responsblty s to suggest recommendatons
                       that wll further enhance the health and safety of all employees of the
                       Legslatve Branch.

                       Ths Report has prevously dentfied specfic hazards that requre
                       correcton by the responsble employng offices. There s no need to restate
                       these findngs here. See Sectons II through VI. However, some of the
                       hazards dentfied by ths Report do suggest programmatc and systemc
                       problems that are worthy addressng, both because of ther nature and
                       ther longstandng duraton. In addton, ths Secton wll dscuss specfic
                       legslatve ssues encountered by the General Counsel that affect hs ablty
                       to enforce complance wth health and safety laws and regulatons, some of
                       whch have prevously addressed n pror Reports.

                       A. Enforcement Authority - Temporary Restraining Orders

                       Snce 1998, the Board of the Office of Complance has recommended
                       that Congress grant specfic authorty to the General Counsel to seek a
                       restranng order n Federal Dstrct Court n the case of mmnent danger
                       from volatons of the OSHA. See OOC, Secton 102(b) Report, p. 2 and
                       ***************, p. B2 (December 2004). Secton 215(b) of the CAA provdes
                       remedes for volatons of substantve provsons of the OSHA. Under
                       Secton 215(b), the remedy for a volaton of the CAA s a correctve order,
                       “ncludng such order as would be approprate f ssued under Secton 13(a)”
                       of the OSHA. OSHA authorzes the Secretary of Labor authorty to seek
                       a temporary restranng order n Dstrct Court n the case of mmnent
                       danger. The General Counsel takes the poston that Secton 13(b) of the
                       OSHA, by applcaton, gves the OGC the same authorty to petton for
                       njunctve relef. See 29 C.F.R. §662(a).

                       Nevertheless, the OOC Board and the General Counsel beleve that
                       express authorty to seek prelmnary njuncton relef should be made
                       explct snce t s essental to the OGC’s ablty to promptly elmnate
                       potental hazards that pose mmnent threats. In these cases, correctve
                       acton must be swft and sure. Accordngly, the General Counsel reterates
                       the Board’s recommendaton that Congress amend the CAA to clarfy the
                       General Counsel’s standng to seek, and federal dstrct courts to enter,
                       temporary restranng orders.

     B.    Enforcement Authority - Environmental Statutes

     A fundamental ratonale for the passage of the CAA was to safeguard the
     Consttutonal prncple of separaton of powers, precludng Executve
     Branch agences from exercsng admnstratve enforcement and
     jursdcton over the Legslatve Branch. Accordngly, many Members
     supported Congressonal exempton from regulatory statutes, such as
     those enforcng complance wth envronmental protectons.

     Wth regard to these envronmental statutes60, the Executve Branch stll
     exercses admnstratve and enforcement authorty over the Legslatve
     Branch. As the Board of the OOC recommended n ts 2004 Secton
     102(b) Report, p.3, Congress should amend the CAA to transfer
     enforcement authorty from the Department of Labor to the Office of
     Complance to elmnate the separaton of powers conflct that currently
     exsts. See OOC Secton 102(b) Report, p. 3 and *********** (December

     C. Enforcement Authority - §207 Retaliation Protections

     Over the years, Legslatve Branch employees have effectvely served as the
     “eyes and ears” of the General Counsel n nformng hm of the possble
     exstence of serous hazards that may affect ther safety and health and
     that of many other employees, ncludng management representatves,
     that would not otherwse come to hs attenton. In order to assure the
     free flow of ths nformaton to the General Counsel, t s essental to
     protect from ntmdaton and retalaton Legslatve Branch employees
     who exercse ther rghts to report and allege volatons of safety and
     health volatons. Secton 207 of the CAA affords that rght to employees.
     However, to assure that ths rght s effectvely vndcated, the OOC Board
     has recommended that the General Counsel be granted the authorty to
     nvestgate and prosecute volatons of the ant-retalaton requrements of
     Secton 207 of the CAA. OOC Secton 102(b) Report, p. 2 and ************
     ***, p. B1 (December 2004).

     Covered employees who have sought nformaton from the Office
     of Complance respectng ther substantve rghts under the safety
     and health provsons of the CAA have expressed concern about ther
     exposure n comng forward to brng a clam. They have also ndcated
     ther reluctance to shoulder the ltgaton burden wthout the support of
     OGC nvestgaton or prosecuton. Investgaton and prosecuton by the
     OGC would effectvely nsulate employees from these burdens.

     60        The subject statutes nclude the Toxc Substances Control Act, Clean Water Act, Safe
     Drnkng Water Act, Energy Reorganzaton Act, Sold Waste Dsposal / Resource Conservaton
     Recovery Act, Ar Polluton Preventon and Control Act, and Comprehensve Envronmental
     Response, Compensaton, and Lablty Act of 1980.

86   advancing safety, health, and workplace rights in the legistlative branch
                               Ths step s mportant to preserve confidence n the CAA and to avod
                               dscouragng Legslatve Branch employees from exercsng ther rghts or
                               supportng employees who do. Whenever a volaton of safety and health
                               s not brought to the attenton of the OOC or the employng office due to
                               employee fears of retalaton, the efficacy of the CAA s undermned.

VIII. Inspection Methodology   The 2004 Bennal Inspecton was commenced n March 2004. The
                               nspecton was led by Stephen Mallnger, Certfied Industral Hygenst
and Acknowledgments            and Specal Assstant to the General Counsel snce November 1997 on
                               long-term detal from the Occupatonal Safety and Health Admnstraton.
                               Mr. Mallnger’s substantal contrbutons to the advancement of health and
                               safety on Captol Hll deserve partcular recognton. Mr. Mallnger was
                               prncpally asssted n the nspecton by Thomas H. Seymour, a part-tme
                               consultant to the General Counsel snce 1999 and regstered Professonal
                               Safety and Fre Protecton Engneer, Davd Thompson, a safety consultant
                               retaned for the 2004 Bennal Inspecton, and Jessca Hubert, a student
                               ntern from the Unversty of Maryland School of Engneerng. Mr.
                               Thompson was prncpally responsble for schedulng nspectons and
                               preparng charts of volatons and abatement nformaton. Requestor-
                               Intated Inspectons were conducted by Messrs. Mallnger, Seymour and
                               Henry C. Woodcock, a health and safety consultant retaned by the OGC
                               snce 1999.

                               The dates for OGC nspectons were scheduled after pror consultaton
                               wth representatves of the Archtect of the Captol and the employng
                               offices, and adjustments n schedulng were often made to mnmze
                               any nterference wth employng office operatons. In advance of the
                               nspecton of each faclty, an openng conference was held for nterested
                               partcpants, advsng of the content and procedures that would be followed.
                               As wth OSHA nspectons, management representatves desgnated by
                               the employng offices and AOC representatves accompaned the OGC
                               nspecton team. Representatves of affected employees were also nvted
                               to partcpate and frequently dd so. Inspectors dscussed volatons of
                               OSHA standards wth representatves of the employng offices and the
                               AOC, and offered techncal advce on how to elmnate the dentfied
                               hazards. Photographs were taken of many of the condtons observed.
                               Early on, brefings were held to provde employng offices wth “heads up”
                               about volatons commonly dentfied durng the first nspectons so that
                               these hazards could be corrected n advance of the nspectons n ther
                               facltes. As wth OSHA nspectons, the General Counsel’s goal n these
                               nspectons has been to help employng offices and employees to reduce on-
                               the-job hazards. Frequently AOC personnel were able to correct hazards
                               “on the spot.”

                               Snce the 2004 Bennal Inspecton was much more detaled and thorough
                               than n past years, the Archtect of the Captol and employng offices were
     requred to devote more extensve staff tme n accompanyng the OGC
     nspecton team and n provdng nformaton necessary to the completon
     of the Report and assocated appendces. Throughout ths nspecton
     process, ths Office has receved excellent cooperaton from the employng
     offices and the Archtect of the Captol. In ths regard, partcular thanks
     s extended to Penne Hardesty, Susan Adams and other AOC personnel
     for ther generous assstance n adng ths Office to accomplsh ths
     mportant task.

     James Abbott, Deputy General Counsel of the Office of Complance,
     was the prmary author of the Report and had overall responsblty
     for ts preparaton. Major portons of the Report were prepared by Mr.
     Mallnger and Mr. Seymour as well as Senor Attorney Kate Tapley
     and Attorney Eln Chang. Carol Grffith, Paralegal/Admnstratve
     Assstant, Sarah Buckbee, Assstant Systems Admnstrator, Ksha Harley,
     Legal Techncan, and Jonathan Orr, OOC Communcatons Drector,
     asssted n the producton of the Report.

                                            Peter Ames Eveleth
                                            General Counsel

88   advancing safety, health, and workplace rights in the legistlative branch
Ths page s ntentonally left blank.

Staff of the Office of   Peter Ames Eveleth
                         General Counsel
                         James Abbott
                         Deputy General Counsel

                         Sarah Buckbee
                         Assstant Systems Admnstrator

                         Carol Grffith
                         Paralegal/Admnstratve Assstant to the General Counsel

                         Ksha Harley
                         Legal Techncan

                         Stephen Mallnger
                         Specal Assstant to the General Counsel,
                         Lead Safety and Health Inspector

                         Kate Tapley
                         Senor Attorney

                         Davd K. Young
                         Management/Program Analyst

Inspection Team          Tom Seymour
                         Fre, Safety, and Health Inspector

                         Davd Thompson
                         Safety and Health Inspector

                         Henry Woodcock
                         Certfied Industral Hygenst

                         Jessca Hubert
                         Student Intern

      90                 advancing safety, health, and workplace rights in the legistlative branch
Contact Information:
                       Office of Complance
                       Room LA 200, John Adams
                       110 Second Street, SE
                       Washngton, DC 20540-1999

                       t/ 202-724-9250
                       tdd/ 202-426-1912
                       f/ 202-426-1663
                       Recorded Informaton Lne/ 202-

Ths page s ntentonally left blank.

Appendx A ..................................**************************
Appendx B ..................................**************************
Appendx C ..................................**************************
Appendx D .......Gudelnes for Rsk Assessment Code
Appendx E ..........Buldngs Inspected n 2004 vs 2002
Appendx F ..Responsble Offices Comments to Report

    ~Note to Reader
    Appendices A, B, and C are not included in this version of the Public Report because of their volume and
    the United States Capitol Police has determined that significant portions contain security sensitive information.
    Accordingly, all references to Appendices A, B, and C have been redacted from the Report. Appendices D, E, and
    F are included.
Ths page s ntentonally left blank.
Appendx D - Gudelnes for
  Rsk Assessment
                                                                                            Appendix D

                           Office of Compliance Guidelines
                  for Risk Assessment Codes (RACs) - July 29, 2004

   Office of Compliance (OOC) inspectors assign a risk assessment code (RAC) to each hazard
   encountered during routine inspections. The RAC describes the relative risk of injury, illness or
   premature death that could result from exposure to a hazard. RACs vary between a RAC 1 for a
   relatively high risk and a RAC 5 for an insignificant risk. Because the OOC does not identify
   hazards that have insignificant risks (de minimis violations), we do not have RAC 5 findings.

   A RAC uses a combination of the probability that an employee could be hurt and the severity of
   the illness or injury. The tables below outline the definitions of these elements and the process
   for combining the elements to determine a RAC. We use two methods: one for safety hazards,
   which could result in injuring an employee, and another for health hazards, which are conditions
   that could cause an occupational illness.

   Table 1 shows the matrix used to determine RACs for safety hazards. The inspector finds the
   RAC by selecting the probability category from the first column and the worst-case severity
   category from the next four columns. The cell where the severity and probability descriptions
   intersect contains the appropriate RAC.

    Table 1. Safety Risk Assessment Code Matrix
                                                         Hazard Severity Categories
          Probability Categories                I               II             III             IV

     Likely to occur immediately (A)         RAC 1            RAC 1          RAC 2           RAC 3

      Probably will occur in time (B)        RAC 1            RAC 2          RAC 3           RAC 4

          Possible to occur in time (C)      RAC 2            RAC 3          RAC 4           RAC 5

                 Unlikely to occur (D)       RAC 3            RAC 4          RAC 5           RAC 5

   OOC has based the structure of the RAC tables (Tables 1 and 2) on information from John
   Zoldak of The Zoldak Group, Inc., and the definitions of the classifications and categories on the
   Department of Defense Instruction 6055.1, http://www.dtic.m il/whs/directives/corres/pd2/i60551p.pdf.
   The definitions of the Hazard Severity categories from the DOD Instruction are as follows:
   •      Severity Category I: Death or permanent total disability.
   •      Severity Category II: Permanent partial or temporary total disability; off work more than
          3 months.
   •      Severity Category III: Lost-workday or compensable injury.
   •      Severity Category IV: First aid or minor supportive medical treatment.


                                                                                                    Appendix D

RACs for health hazards require a more complex approach. Health RACs include factors such as
exposure conditions, routes of entry, medical effects, exposure duration, and the number of
employees exposed. Table 2 below outlines the RAC categories for health hazards and Tables 3
through 8 give the process for calculating the probability and severity categories for Table 2.
 Table 2. Health Risk Assessment Code Matrix
                                                               Hazard Severity Categories
     Probability Categories
                                                      I                   II               III         IV

               Likely (A)                          RAC 1              RAC 1              RAC 2       RAC 3

             Probable (B)                          RAC 1              RAC 2              RAC 3       RAC 4

              Possible (C)                         RAC 2              RAC 3              RAC 4       RAC 5

             Unlikely (D)                          RAC 3              RAC 4              RAC 5       RAC 5

To determine the Hazard Severity for Table 2, add the factors in Tables 3 and 4, then use Table 5
to select the category.

 Table 3. Exposure Points (for use in Table 5)
                                                                Exposure Conditions
 Is an exposure route other
 than inhalation possible?                                  Interm ittently
                                            < AL           > AL, but < OEL        > AL, but < OEL     > OEL

                 No                        0 points            3 points                 5 points      7 points

                Yes                        2 points            4 points                 6 points      9 points

 “AL” is the action level, which usually requires training, medical monitoring, records, and other measures.
 “OEL” is the occupational exposure limit that applies to the situation. These limits include OSHA permissible
 exposure limits (PELs), threshold limit values (TLV®s) from the American Conference of Governmental
 Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH), and short-term exposure limits (STELs) and ceiling limits from either OSHA or

 Table 4. Medical Effects Points (for use in Table 5)
                                             Condition                                                Points
 No medical effects (could include nuisance odors)                                                          0

 Temporary reversible illness requiring supportive treatment (e.g. eye irritation, sore throat)        1 to 2

 Tem porary reversible illness with lim ited period of disability (e.g., m etal fum e fever)           3 to 4

 Perm anent illness or loss of capacity (e.g., perm anent hearing loss)                                5 to 6

 Severe disabling and irreversible illness or prem ature death (e.g., asbestosis)                      7 to 8

                     Note: Be sure to use the correct medical effects for exposure conditions.
    Use acute effects for exposures > STELs and chronic effects for exposures > time-weighted average OELs.

                                                                                                                 APP D:3
                                                                                                          Appendix D

  Table 5. Health Hazard Severity Category (for use in Table 2)
          Health Hazard Severity Category                               Total points from Tables 3 and 4

                                 I                                                  13 to 17 points

                                II                                                  9 to 12 points

                                III                                                  5 to 8 points

                                IV                                                   1 to 4 points

 To determine the Health Hazard Probability for Table 2, add the factors in Tables 6 and 7, then
 use Table 8 to select the category.

  Table 6. Number of Exposed Employees (for use in Table 8)
             Number of Exposed Employees                                                    Points
                                              < 5 exposed em ployees                      1 to 2 points

                                            5 to 9 exposed em ployees                     3 to 4 points

                                          10 to 49 exposed em ployees                     5 to 6 points

                                             > 49 exposed em ployees                      7 to 8 points

  Table 7. Exposure Duration (for use in Table 8)
        Exposure                                         Exposure Duration (during a week)
     (during the year)                1 to 8 hours/w eek      > 8 but < 30 hours/w eek          > 30 hours/w eek

  Irregular, interm ittent               1 to 2 points              4 to 6 points                     8 points

  Regular, periodic                      2 to 3 points              5 to 7 points                     8 points

  Table 8. Health Hazard Probability Category (for use in Table 2)
    Health Hazard Probability Category                             Total points from Tables 6 and 7
                              Likely                                                14 to 16 points

                         Probable                                                   10 to 13 points

                             Possible                                                5 to 9 points

                             Unlikely                                                1 to 4 points

                                                                                       Appendix D

Guidance for Applying Risk Assessment Codes (RACs)

Apply RACs to Hazardous Conditions, Not to Generic Violation Categories

Inspectors should not attempt to match a RAC with a specific description of a violation without
considering the conditions in which the violation exists. In other words, they should make no
attempt to be consistent in assigning the same RAC to the same violation, unless the conditions
involved in the violation are also consistent.

Example: A violation for exposure to asbestos in the air could result in a RAC 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5,
depending on the conditions. Exposure to asbestos below the action level with no other
contamination would have 8 medical-effects points and, therefore, a Severity Category of III. If a
maintenance worker enters a closet with that level of asbestos for a couple of hours a month, the
total Health Hazard Probability points would be 4, which would equate to “Unlikely.” The
resulting RAC would be 5, which would be de minimis.

On the other hand, if a group of 6 people has that same asbestos exposure (below the AL with no
other contamination) every workday, then the Health Hazard Probability points would be 11,
which would equate to “Probable.” The resulting RAC would be 3.

Apply RACs to “Covered Employees”

Because the scope of OOC’s occupational safety and health inspections is limited to hazards to
employees covered under the Congressional Accountability Act, our RACs are based only on
those hazards. While other organizations might use RACs to track risks for the public or for
potential facility damage, OOC RACs will not cover those types of hazards.

Example: A guardrail does not meet either the OSHA criteria to protect employees or the
building code requirements to protect the general public. If the spacing between the railings
poses a low risk for employees but a high risk for children, our RAC would be based on the low
employee risk rather than the higher risk for members of the public.

Applying RACs for Unknown Exposure Conditions

When employees use substances that could expose them to hazardous levels but the employer has
not measured or modeled the exposure, the inspector will need to either sample or estimate the
level of exposure to determine the appropriate RAC. Unfortunately, odor levels and irritant
levels can rarely be used to indicate levels that are hazardous; therefore, other means will usually
be needed to estimate exposure levels.

The specific substance standards in 29 CFR Subpart Z that include permissible exposure limits
(PELs) require the employer to determine the exposure level. They also require the employer to
protect employees as though exposures exceed the PEL until exposure monitoring demonstrates
otherwise. For violations of these standards, calculate the RAC using points for exposures above
the PEL, unless there is a clear indication that exposures are less than the PEL.

For substances that do not have specific standards in Subpart Z, the inspector can use judgment
                                                                                                       APP D:5
                                                                                       Appendix D

 and experience to estimate the potential exposure after reviewing the method of application or
 use, vapor pressure of the material, process temperature, amount and rate of use, and volume of
 the area where the substance is used.

 Applying a RAC for a Condition Having Multiple Risks

 A violation will often have multiple potential outcomes. Examples include:
        •       Methylene chloride can cause both loss of consciousness during intermittent
                short-term exposures and long-term exposures can produce cancer.
        •       Many electrical violations can result in minor shock, major injury, death, localized
                fires or major facility fires.

 To determine the appropriate RAC for such a violation, we look at two scenarios and use the
 highest RAC between them. We look at the scenario most likely to occur and determine that
 RAC. Then we look at the scenario with the most severe effects and determine that RAC. The
 highest of these two RACs (lowest number on our scale) is assigned to the violation.

 Do Not Use RACs to Dictate an Abatement Schedule

 A RAC provides information about the relative risk. More serious RACs (RAC 1 and RAC 2)
 should justify more resources and attention to correct hazards than less serious RACs (RAC 3
 and RAC 4). We do not, however, use RACs to indicate a time-line for correcting a violation. If
 a RAC 4 violation can be corrected simply by eliminating an extension cord or by removing an
 obstruction, then the violation should be corrected immediately.

 Do Not Reduce RACs to Reflect Reduced RACs for Interim Control Measures

 Conditions that have been assigned serious RACs should usually require the employment of
 interim control measures. These measures should reduce the probability or severity of an injury
 or illness and result in a less serious (higher number) RAC. Employing offices will normally
 adjust these RACs as a part of managing their safety programs.

 The OOC does not participate in adjusting RACs unless we receive a formal request to assist
 with this process.

 Apply RACs to Direct, Indirect and Root Causes of Hazards

 It is axiomatic that hazards, illnesses, and injuries usually have multiple causes and sources.
 Correcting a direct cause will physically eliminate the hazard or violation. For example,
 replacing a chemical that produces hazardous exposures with a chemical that does not produce
 such exposures addresses the direct cause of the hazard.

 RACs also apply to indirect and root causes of hazards. Examples of indirect causes include
 missing MSDSs that would inform employees of hazardous materials that are otherwise not
 known, training that has not covered the procedures needed to avoid a hazard, lack of guidance
 regarding safe processes, an inadequate program in which the missing elements would reduce or
 eliminate the direct causes, etc.
                                                                                                Appendix D

Typical Examples of Risk Assessment Codes

Table 9 describes several sets of violations and conditions to show how we assign the RACs.
These examples are instructional; therefore, no policy is implied by the conditions and hazards
included in this table.

 Table 9. Typical Examples of Risk Assessment Codes (RACs)
 Violations, Conditions, and Potential Hazards                            Severity      Probability   RAC

 Energized junction box is missing a cover. The box is within 8 feet of
 the floor and poses a potential electrocution hazard upon contact in a        I            C          2
 work area or frequently-used walkway or corridor.

 Energized junction box is missing a cover. The box is within 8 feet of
 the floor and poses a potential electrocution hazard upon contact but         I            D          3
 is not located in a work area or frequently-used walkway or corridor.

 Energized junction box is missing a cover. The box is more than 8
 feet from the floor (relatively inaccessible) and has flammable              III           B          3
 materials near the location, and poses a limited fire hazard..

 Fire extinguisher not inspected or maintained. It is not located in a
 sprinkler-protected area and a fire would pose a fire hazard with no         III           B          3
 protective measures.

 Fire extinguisher not inspected or maintained. It is located in a
 sprinkler-protected area and a fire would pose a fire hazard with            III           C          4
 incomplete protective measures.

 A confined space exists with a potential atmospheric hazard. The
 space is not labeled or marked as a permit required space; no entry
                                                                               I            C          2
 program has been developed. No known entries have been made but
 the space is accessible and it could pose an inhalation hazard.

 A confined space exists with a potential atmospheric hazard. The
 space is not labeled or marked as a permit-required space; no entry
                                                                               I            B          1
 program has been developed. Entries have been made without
 protective measures, posing a likely inhalation hazard.

 3 or 4 em ployees use m ethylene chloride (carcinogen) for m ore than    Table 3 = 9   Table 6 = 2
                                                                          Table 4 = 7   Table 7 = 8
 30 hours a week at levels above the PEL with poor ventilation, no
                                                                          Total = 16    Total = 10     1
 respiratory protection, and no PPE to prevent potential skin exposure.    Severity I    Probable

 5 or 6 em ployees use m ethylene chloride very infrequently at levels    Table 3 = 9   Table 6 = 3
                                                                          Table 4 = 7   Table 7 = 1
 above the PEL with poor ventilation, no respiratory protection, and no
                                                                          Total = 16     Total = 4     3
 PPE to prevent potential skin exposure.                                   Severity I    Unlikely

                                                                                                             APP D:7
Ths page s ntentonally left blank.
Appendx E - Buldngs Inspected
  n 2004 vs 2002
                                                                                        Appendix E

                                   Buildings Inspected in 2004 and 2002

    Buildings Inspected in 2004:                        Buildings Inspected in 2002:

    Supreme Court                                       Supreme Court
    U.S. Capitol*                                       U.S. Capitol
    Senate Underground Garage                           Russell SOB
    Russell SOB*                                        Hart SOB
    Hart SOB*                                           Dirksen SOB
    Dirksen SOB*                                        Cannon HOB
    Cannon HOB*                                         Longworth HOB
    Longworth HOB*                                      Rayburn HOB
    Rayburn HOB*                                        East-West Underground Garage
    East-West Underground Garage                        U.S.C.P. Headquarters and Annex
    U.S.C.P. Headquarters and Annex                     Botanic Gardens Buildings**
    Botanic Gardens Buildings                           GAO
    GAO                                                 U.S.C.P.’s K St. Garage
    Senate Day Care, C. St.                             CMD Blue Plains
    Senate Page Dorm                                    Postal Square
    St. Cecilia’s Day Care (LOC)                        Ford HOB
    House Day Care in Ford                              Fort Meade warehouses
    House Page Dorm                                     Madison Bldg.**
    Fort Meade LOC Book Storage                         Jefferson Bldg**
    U.S.C.P.’s K St. Garage                             Adams Bldg**
    AOC’s E St. Garage                                  Blue Plains U.S.C.P. Canine facility
    LOC’s Taylor St.                                    P Street U.S.C.P. Warehouse
    CMD Blue Plains                                     Capitol Power Plant
    Postal Square
    Cheltenham Training Annex

    Highlighted buildings were inspected in
    2004 but not in 2002.

    * Committee spaces, Members’ offices, &
    non-AOC spaces were not inspected during            ** Partial inspections
    the 2004 inspections but were included in
    the 107th Congressional biennial inspections
    [have not yet been inspected during the
    designated building inspection in 2004].

Ths page s ntentonally left blank.
Ths page s ntentonally left blank.
Appendx F - Responsble Offices
  Comments to Report
    Archtect of the Captol
    House Employment Counsel
    Senate Employment Counsel
    Unted States Captol Polce
APP F:10
APP F:11
APP F:12
APP F:13
APP F:14
APP F:15
APP F:16
APP F:17
APP F:18
APP F:19
APP F:20
APP F:21
APP F:22
APP F:23
APP F:24
APP F:25
APP F:26
APP F:27
APP F:28
APP F:29
APP F:30
APP F:31
APP F:32
APP F:33
APP F:34
APP F:35
APP F:36
APP F:37
APP F:38
APP F:39
APP F:40
APP F:41
APP F:42
APP F:43
APP F:44
APP F:45