Section 1. The Parties acknowledge that the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995 (CAA) authorizes the Office of Compliance (OOC) to enforce Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) health and safety standards at the Library. The Parties further acknowledge that the CAA provides that the Library and its employees are covered by and shall be afforded the rights and protections therein.
Section 2. The Library agrees to provide a safe and healthful work environment for its employees. This shall be accomplished through the provision of a work environment that is free from recognized hazards that are likely to cause death or physical harm. The Library shall take whatever actions are necessary, including requests to the Architect of the Capitol (AOC) and Congress, to remedy any serious unsafe or unhealthful condition. Such remedy shall be in accordance with the CAA. Each employee shall comply with occupational safety and health standards and all rules, regulations, and orders issued pursuant to the CAA that are applicable to his/her own actions and conduct.
Section 3. The Library shall promptly investigate employee reports of unsafe or unhealthful working conditions that pose a threat or danger to the health and safety of employees. Any employee or representative of employees may call attention to alleged unsafe or unhealthful conditions and request an inspection of such conditions by Safety Services or the OOC. Any employee or representative who has filed a report on or called attention to alleged unsafe or unhealthful conditions and requested an inspection of such conditions, or made a charge, or testified, assisted, or participated in a hearing or proceeding regarding health and safety conditions at the Library, shall be free of restraint, intimidation, discrimination, or reprisal. Timely response and reporting of investigations shall be in accordance with the CAA.
Section 4. The Guild and the Library's designated agency health and safety officer or his/her designee shall continue to meet quarterly. The purpose of the meetings shall include discussion of issues concerning Library health and safety policies and practices, as well as Library emergency preparedness and response policies and practices.
Section 5. The Library of Congress Staff Emergency Procedures shall be updated and revised to reflect current emergency procedures when determined appropriate by the Library. Such revision shall be made in consultation with the Guild. Copies of the new procedures shall be supplied to all bargaining unit members.
Section 6. The Library's Hazard Abatement Program identifies, rates, and monitors action for elimination/control of unhealthful or unsafe conditions identified through inspections and/or employee reports and confirmed by qualified safety and health professionals (as defined in 29 CFR 1960 Subpart D, or revisions thereto, or applicable OSHA standards). As appropriate, hazards will be rated considering potential severity and potential probability and assigned a Risk Assessment Code (RAC). Response and action to correct hazards shall be based on the assigned RAC, with 1 being the most severe, requiring immediate action, and 5 being the least severe. If the Library lacks authority and/or control necessary to effect corrective action, it will take appropriate interim action to protect employees against the hazard(s).
Section 7. Hazard Containment and Abatement Procedures
- The Parties agree to the general application of the overall RAC (as found in LCR 1817-6 (Hazard Abatement Program to Improve Safe Conditions for Library Employees)) to occupational health and safety hazards by the Library and the Health and Safety Committee.
- The Library will assign each hazard a RAC.
- After a hazard has been assigned a RAC of 1, 2 or 3 and confirmed by Safety Services, potentially affected staff members will be informed of the nature and location of the hazard. Immediate interim action will also be taken to protect staff from coming into contact with the hazard.
- In all cases where personnel are exposed to unsafe or unhealthful working conditions which are verified by Safety Services as having a RAC of 1, 2 or 3, a notice of the hazard must be posted in the immediate vicinity of the hazardous condition. The hazard notice shall be provided by Safety Services to the responsible supervisor for posting and to the Labor Relations Officer for distribution to the Guild at the time it is posted. The notice shall not be removed until the condition has been corrected. Safety Service's approval must be obtained for all interim protective measures requiring more than sixty (60) days to correct.
- Variances to safety and health standards are possible in certain situations. The most effective means to correct a hazardous condition may be through application of local alternate means in lieu of safety and/or health standards. If an alternate means or method is selected, Safety Services, after consultation with the Guild, shall submit a request through the Health and Safety Committee to Library management for approval of the variance. The variance selected shall provide a degree of protection equal to or better than the applicable safety and/or health standard.
- The following areas will be inspected at least annually by a safety professional: those containing potentially hazardous machinery or electrical equipment; those containing chemicals or other hazardous materials; and those in which conditions assigned a RAC of 1, 2 or 3 and confirmed by Safety Services were identified within the previous year. These inspections will be conducted independently from those of the Health and Safety Committee.
- Guild representatives will be invited to accompany safety and health inspections which are conducted in facilities in which bargaining unit members work. Normally, inspection reports will be written within thirty (30) days of the inspection. Copies of inspection reports will be promptly sent to the Guild. The term inspection means a comprehensive survey of all or part of a workplace in order to detect the safety and health hazards. Inspections are normally performed during the regular work hours of the Library, except as special circumstances may require. Inspections do not include routine, day-to-day visits by agency occupational safety and health personnel, or routine workplace surveillance of occupational health conditions.
Section 8. Fire Safety
The Library agrees to take all necessary actions within its control to provide a reasonable degree of fire safety in Library buildings and structures. These actions may include requests to the Congress and AOC for funding and authorization to correct structural and other problems associated with life, safety, and fire protection in the Library buildings and structures.
The Library will take interim corrective action within its control to:
- comply with the Life Safety Code (current edition, National Fire Protection Association);
- develop and support an Emergency Management Plan and Library of Congress Staff Emergency Procedures that include provisions for disabled persons;
- consult with disabled employees to develop adequate methods to alert and evacuate handicapped employees in emergency situations;
- request that AOC install strobe visual fire alarms in all Library buildings to meet CAA and ADA requirements;
- where appropriate, continue to provide each deaf employee with a pager, so that they can be notified of any emergency situation. Additionally, it shall continue to explore other appropriate emergency notification devices for alerting hearing-impaired employees that meet CAA and ADA requirements;
- install phones or other communication devices by designated elevators on each floor of all Library buildings which may be used during emergency evacuation situations for purposes of identifying disabled employees;
- test regularly and maintain fire safety equipment in accordance with nationally recognized codes and standards; and
- provide, at least, semi-annual fire drills.
Section 9. The Library shall provide, at no cost to the employee, personal protective clothing and equipment as necessary to protect the employees from exposure to physical or toxic agents which may cause harm. The determination and confirmation for the need of such equipment shall be the responsibility of qualified safety and health professionals. Such apparatus may include but is not limited to: protective clothing, respirators, hearing protection devices, and eye/face protection. Employees are required to use protective clothing or equipment when issued for health and safety purposes.
Section 10. The Library agrees that adequate lighting shall be provided to all employees in work areas, restrooms, hallways, and stairways. The Library will investigate harshness, glare, eye strain, dimness, or other related problems which bear upon completion of assigned work or performance of duties, and take all reasonable corrective action within its control to solve the problems found to exist.
Section 11. The Library agrees to provide adequate and clean ventilation in all work areas, eating areas, and restrooms. It further agrees to attempt to secure compliance from the lessor on the lessor's obligations under Federal Property Management Regulation (FPMR 101.20.116-3,) which sets out the pertinent General Services Administration (GSA) guidelines regarding temperature standards in GSA-leased buildings. If the temperature in the LJ, LA, or LM falls outside the 65-78 degree range, the Library shall request the AOC to take action to return the temperature to the specified range.
Section 12. The Library agrees to provide and maintain clean, adequate, sanitary facilities, restrooms and toilet facilities for all employees in the work areas, and shall request the responsible authorities to keep facilities in compliance with OSHA 1910-141 and the District of Columbia Plumbing Code.
Section 13. The Library agrees to a routine schedule of cleaning and vacuuming areas in which bargaining unit members work.
Section 14. Toxic Materials
- The Library agrees that it will identify all toxic materials used by employees or to which they are exposed within the workplace. Where a substance is identified as being toxic, the employees will receive training in the safe use and storage of the materials, and in first-aid procedures to be employed should an accident occur.
- Hazardous material data sheets for any and all toxic substances must be kept on file at the immediate location of their use, and conveniently accessible.
Section 15. The Library shall provide for safety and health professional reviews of planned equipment purchases and alteration/construction of the workplace (including floor plan modifications and furniture layout changes). In purchasing new equipment the Library shall require as a condition of purchase that the manufacturer has met applicable health and safety and ergonomic requirements.
Section 16. The Library shall continue an ergonomics program that addresses the physical work environment as it relates to performance of the work and health and safety of its employees. The program will include the following components: management commitment and employee participation; hazard identification and reporting; medical management; and staff training and education in ergonomic issues. Within six (6) months of the signing of this Agreement the Library shall, in consultation with the Guild, prepare a written ergonomic program which will include the above components. The written program shall then be distributed to all bargaining unit members.
The Library further agrees to promptly investigate ergonomic hazards and/or employee complaints concerning work area space or configurations.
Section 17. The Library shall take all actions within its control to provide a work environment that is safe and healthful for employees who work at computers. To accomplish these aims, the Library shall take the following actions to the extent that fiscal resources and space constraints allow and after appropriate ergonomic consultation:
- acquire ergonomically sound computers and accessory equipment as resources permit;
- provide adequate and ergonomically sound work surfaces for computers, computer keyboards, and monitors as resources permit;
- provide work spaces with proper illumination for computer and non-computer tasks;
- provide the opportunity for employees using a mouse to request available alternative pointing devices;
- provide, as resources permit, work surfaces adjacent to the computers sufficient for employees to fulfill their assigned duties;
- provide for common or shared computer work areas height- and angle-adjustable surfaces for computer monitors and keyboards as resources permit; and
- continue to advise employees about the ergonomically sound operation of computers.
Section 18. Prior to the installation of new computers in any work areas the Library will notify the Guild and pursuant to Article 8 (Midterm Bargaining) the Parties will meet, consult, and bargain over the adverse impact and implementation of changes in conditions of employment resulting from such installation when the impact of such installation is more than de minimis.
Section 19. Prior to configuring an employee's work area to accommodate computer installation, the Library will consult with the employee about the different options available to achieve the most ergonomically-friendly configuration for the employee. Once the computer has been installed in the employee's work area, the employee may request an ergonomics consultation.
Section 20. Employees with medical needs for special furniture and/or equipment and accessories may have these needs met provided that such needs are supported by documentation which is acceptable to the Library's medical officer.
Section 21. All worksite telephones shall be provided with a label/sticker that provides information for obtaining emergency police, fire or medical assistance.
Section 22. The Library shall prohibit smoking in all facilities in accordance with agreements negotiated with labor organizations and consistent with national policy.
Section 23. The Library will continue to take appropriate actions to adhere to applicable asbestos-related Federal statutes and regulations.
Section 24. The Parties will meet, consult, and bargain over the impact and implementation of changes in condition of employment not covered by this Agreement.
Library of Congress
101 Independence Ave. SE
Washington, D.C. 20540