Speaker Nancy Pelosi sent the following letter today to Architect of the Capitol Stephen Ayers on a study by the Office of Compliance (OOC) that documents "substantial progress in the reduction of life-safety hazards in congressional buildings." In her letter, the Speaker asks Mr. Ayers to submit a report by the end of this year on the actions taken to address the remaining House-specific life-safety hazards. She issued the following statement on the letter:
"Through the diligent efforts of the Office of the Architect of the Capitol and proactive programs taken up by Congressional offices, the number of life-safety hazards in congressional buildings has decreased by 60 percent, since the 109th Congress," said Speaker Pelosi. "Although this marks substantial progress in ensuring the safety of our employees and colleagues, there is much work to be done. This is why I am asking the Architect of the Capitol to submit a report by the end of the year to address the actions taken on the remaining life-safety hazards, especially those that are determined to be serious safety risks."
The text of the letter is below.
July 14, 2010
The Honorable Stephen Ayers
Architect of the Capitol
SB-15 United States Capitol
Dear Mr. Ayers:
The report of the Office of Compliance (OOC) for FY 2009 annual report documents substantial progress in the reduction of life-safety hazards in congressional buildings since its initial report a year ago. In particular, the report notes that, since the first comprehensive life-safety inspections were initiated in the 109th Congress, the number of life-safety hazards has decreased by more than 60 percent, a "vast improvement," according to the Executive Director of the OOC.
As you work with the OOC and other Congressional officials toward this end, I ask that you submit to me a report by the end of this year on the actions taken to address the House-specific life-safety hazards, in particular those identified as category 2 by the OOC.
The OOC General Counsel attributes the rapid decline in the number of hazards to the many proactive programs initiated by Congressional offices which have identified and abated hazards, and to the diligent efforts of the Office of the Architect of the Capitol. I congratulate you and your colleagues for your swift response to last year's report.
The OOC report also reminds all of us entrusted with ensuring the safety of our colleagues and employees that there is still much work to be done. While a 60 percent reduction in life-safety hazards in one year is commendable, there still remain approximately 6,300 such hazards in our buildings. And while the House is projected to have eliminated all category 1 high risk hazards within the next few months, many of the category 2 hazards will remain. A large number of these remaining hazards will be addressed with the planned renovation of the Cannon House Office Building, which the bipartisan leadership has approved and which will soon begin. I am especially concerned that any that are determined to be serious safety risks be addressed without delay.
Thank you for your attention to this issue and for your exemplary service to the Congress.
Speaker of the House