Two years behind schedule and millions of dollars over budget, the Capitol Visitor Center (CVC), says a key Senate appropriator, has become “the most dangerous site in Washington” to work on, according to The Hill.

During Tuesday’s Appropriations Legislative Branch subcommittee hearing, ranking member Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) cited a report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), which revealed that the architect of the Capitol (AoC) had submitted inaccurate safety data to Congress. Sixteen accidents and lost time had not been reported according to OSHA requirements.

“The injury and illness rate for 2003 was about 50 percent higher for the CVC than for comparable construction sites,” testified David Walker, comptroller of the GAO. “The rate of 2004 was about 30 percent higher than 2003.”

Bob Hixon, project executive for the CVC, told Durbin that the contractor for the project’s first sequence, Centrex Construction, provided inaccurate information to Gilbane Building Co., the construction management service monitoring safety on the site. Gilbane relayed the incorrect information to the AoC.

“We were not aware that the situation was as bad as it has been until recently, when the [GAO] went directly to the sequence-one contractor to get their safety records,” Hixon said.

Safety records need to be scrutinized more closely, Walker told the panel, especially because new construction workers will be reporting to the site in the coming months.

“Why would we want to send people into this dangerous situation?” Durbin asked. “Is this the most dangerous construction site in Washington, and if so why aren’t we embarrassed about it?”