During Tuesdayâ€™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.
â€œThe injury and illness rate for 2003 was about 50 percent higher for the CVC than for comparable construction sites,â€ testified David Walker, comptroller of the GAO. â€œThe rate of 2004 was about 30 percent higher than 2003.â€
Bob Hixon, project executive for the CVC, told Durbin that the contractor for the projectâ€™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.
â€œWe 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,â€ 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.
â€œWhy would we want to send people into this dangerous situation?â€ Durbin asked. â€œIs this the most dangerous construction site in Washington, and if so why arenâ€™t we embarrassed about it?â€