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Delegate Norton Targets D.C. Vistor's Center

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By Alice Ollstein

The new Capital Visitors Center in Washington doesn't have a reporting system in place for visitor injuries, and that's drawing the ire of D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton. She held a hearing on Capitol Hill to address problems with health, safety and workers rights.

Though the Architect of the Capitol says federal facilities are safer than ever, other testimonies at the hearing allege that health and safety violations abound. Norton focused mainly on visitor injuries, and grilled the panel about why there is no system in place to report and analyze them.

"If you want to see some member of Congress get angry, let’s let a bunch of visitors from her district get hurt in the Capitol," says Norton.

Employee injuries are meticulously recorded and addressed under OSHA laws. But accidents among the millions of Capitol Hill visitors could go unnoticed.

"We could have, for all you know, dozens of injuries of visitors, and all you know is whether we got sued," she says. "What kind of after-the-fact approach to preventing accidents is that?"

Norton ordered the Office of Compliance to report back to her in 30 days with a plan for a better reporting system.

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