Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

February 21, 2013

Knoxville Public Housing cited by Division of Labor

Steve Woodhouse

Knoxville — The Iowa Division of Labor Services has cited Knoxville Public Housing for not developing, implementing and/or maintaining a written hazard communication program. This has been relieved with action taken at a Public Housing Board meeting Monday night, in which the board approved a written plan.

The citation stands, however. Public Housing Director Janice Kerner said the state received an anonymous complaint that the agency did not have visible Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) on display. A representative from the state's labor services agency come to inspect Public Housing's facilities on Jan. 22.

During the search, old cans of paint were discovered in the agency's break room. A janitorial worker had also transferred cleaning agent to an unmarked bottle. At the agency's maintenance shop, there were no MSDS sheets. Public Housing was also utilizing a house on Jefferson Street for storage until the building comes down. Workers were arranging the designated maintenance shop to accommodate materials that had been stored in the house. 

Though the state discovered these issues, no unsafe working conditions were found. This was confirmed by Jans Nissen with the Division of Labor. 

Nissen said the agency was not fined and no further investigation is planned for Public Housing as it relates to this matter. Public Housing had until today to file an objection to the Division of Labor's actions. None have been filed. 

Kerner said the inspector was helpful during his visit. She said the Knoxville Fire Department will host a training session for the agency regardign hazardous chemicals and bloodborne pathogens on Feb. 28.

She added that the state's action will not affect Public Housing's funding, nor will it affect any of the agency's tenants. Nissen confirmed that no further penalty will be levied against Public Housing as it relates to this instance.