Section 215 of the Congressional Accountability Act (CAA) requires that the legislative branch comply with certain provisions of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and its standards requiring that public areas and the workplace be free of recognized hazards that are likely to cause death or serious injury. Covered employing offices must comply with these workplace safety requirements.

A Request for Inspection to determine if an unsafe working condition exists may be made by either an employing office or a covered legislative branch employee. Once a request is filed, the General Counsel of the Office of Congressional Workplace Rights is responsible for investigating the suspected unsafe working condition.

When an investigation reveals an unsafe working condition, the General Counsel may issue a citation or notice to the employing office that has exposed employees or members of the public to the hazard and/or to the office responsible for correcting the violation. The office or offices responsible are required to take appropriate action to correct conditions that are in violation of standards. If a hazardous condition is not corrected once a citation is issued, the General Counsel can file a complaint before a Hearing Officer with the OCWR and seek an order mandating the correction of the violation.

The General Counsel is required to inspect legislative branch facilities and report to the Speaker of the House and the President pro tempore of the Senate on compliance with workplace safety regulations once each Congress.

For more information, please refer to the Congressional Accountability ActPlease note that this version of the Act has been revised with information from P.L. 115-397.

See also: Tips for Improving Office Safety and Five things to know about inspections