What’s being termed “explosive dust” near fire hazards was one of multiple serious repeat offenses the Occupational Safety and Health Administration leveled against the Fort Loudon Waste and Recycling center in 2018.
In reports filed with the United States Department of Labor, the waste and recycling facility was given 19 violations and fined $21,000 dating back to January 2018. The violations include improperly secured storage and vermin control. One violation specified improper protection of the facility against “flying sparks.”
The OSHA report stated the facility did not provide an environment safe from “recognized hazards that were causing or likely to cause death or serious physical harm”; and “employees were exposed to stuck-by hazards and explosion/fire hazards from employees working poorly illuminated work areas.”
Also, employees were said to be exposed to “struck-by hazards from operation (including reverse operation) of fork trucks in poorly illuminated work areas and were exposed to struck-by, explosion and fire hazards from accessing compressed gases located in a poorly illuminated storage area.” An OSHA spokesman says it intends to follow up on the facility’s plans to resolve the health and safety violations.
The center was also cited for instances of explosive dust near machinery and electrical outlets.
The North Knoxville facility has not paid the full amount of fines levied against it as a result of these citations; some of the fines are more than six months past due and have been passed along to a collection agency.
But that’s not the only payment on which the company is in arrears. Tax records indicate the facility owes Knox County in excess of $140,000 in back taxes – and more than $236,000 to the City of Knoxville.
The company paid city property taxes through 2014; but it did not pay its entire tax bill for 2015 and has not paid for tax years 2016 through 2018. The company also owes county taxes for more than half of 2016 through 2018. Moreover, the company only paid its county equipment taxes for 2011 and a portion of 2012; it has not made any equipment tax payments to the City of Knoxville. Nor has Fort Loudon Waste and Recycling paid for its business license since 2011.