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Workplace hazards in Congress have declined: report

October 12, 2011

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Washington – The number of workplace hazards found in congressional offices during the 111th Congress has declined significantly from the previous congressional session, according to a new report (.pdf file) from the General Counsel of the Office of Compliance.

As required by the Congressional Accountability Act, OOC inspects legislative branch work facilities every two years to check for compliance with the Occupational Safety and Health Act. The most recent inspection found 5,400 hazards, the report states.

A similar inspection conducted during the 110th Congress (2009-2010) found 9,250 hazards, and 13,141 hazards were identified during the 109th Congress inspection.

Hazards classified as “high risk,” which have the potential to cause serious injury or death, accounted for nearly 25 percent – the same as the previous Congress, according to the report. Most of these hazards were electrical, the report said.

OOC had previously suggested that Congress implement all provisions of the OSH Act to the Congressional Accountability Act. Congress is exempt from recordkeeping requirements, and OOC does not have the power to protect whistleblowers or subpoena information needed for safety and health investigations.

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