OSHA cites Thompson Wrecking Co. over asbestos removal violations

OSHA fines more than $63,000 for two violations

Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014 9:31 PM
Last updated Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014 1:22 AM
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The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration is proposing fines of more than $63,000 against an Augusta demolition company for alleged violations related to asbestos removal during demolition of a Grovetown school.

According to documents obtained Wednesday by The Augusta Chronicle, OSHA cited Thompson Building and Wrecking Co. for allegedly exposing employees to asbestos-containing materials, failing to demarcate areas from which asbestos was being removed and not performing airborne monitoring.

For the first, three-part violation, OSHA fined Thompson $14,700.

A second alleged violation netted Thompson a proposed $49,000 fine for “willfully” failing to ensure the asbestos-containing materials were properly handled to minimize employee exposure, according to the citation.

Company owner Hiram Thompson attributed the citations to an inspector’s lack of knowledge of asbestos removal. He said the company refused OSHA’s recent offer to reduce the fines and expects to have them dismissed.

“We’re a 52-year-old company and we’ve never had an OSHA violation in our 52 years,” Thompson said. “All our people were trained and worked within the specifications of asbestos abatement.”

The work was performed in July on the 75-year-old, vacated Grovetown School, which Columbia County Board of Education tore down to make way for a new school.

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bubbasauce 01/16/14 - 02:57 am
There's a first time for

There's a first time for everything Mr. Thomson. I wonder how many times they have gotten away with this act? OSHA needs to justify their existence and they do need the money. Your company is lucky the fine wasn't a lot higher.

Little Lamb
Little Lamb 01/16/14 - 09:34 am

So Thompson Wrecking is going to try to prove that the OSHA inspector (probably a contractor) did not know what he was looking at. It is a legal strategy that has a chance of succeeding. Why not try?

It will be a he-said, she-said trial.

Demolition is dirty business and dangerous.

deestafford 01/16/14 - 09:41 am
OSHA is a contributing factor as to why the US has dropped...

OSHA is a contributing factor as to why the US has dropped to #12 in economic freedom among all the world's countries behind Chile and Estonia! Excessive government regulations are one of the criteria used in the rankings.

OSHA is just like organizations such as the NAACP in that if there were 100% safety or racial harmony they would have no job or reason to exist.

Just try to imagine how long an OSHA inspector would have his job if he did not write any citations over a period of time.

David Parker
David Parker 01/16/14 - 10:36 am
I believe Mars has to be in

I believe Mars has to be in Libra and some chicken blood has to be spilt before removing asbestos no?

GiantsAllDay 01/16/14 - 05:39 pm
In 2013, the governor of

In 2013, the governor of Texas made a trip to california to persuade businesses to leave the state and come to texas. He told them texas has less taxes and less regulation. A few days later, a fertilizer plant in Texas exploded. That plant hadn't been inspected since 2006.
Don't listen to deestafford.

sawgrass 01/16/14 - 08:59 pm

I have worked in the construction industry my entire adult life. OSHA was established in the mid 70s by organized labor to protect the workers. Go to CFR 1926, which is the construction standards and CFR 1910 which is the general industry standards. These standards were established to protect workers from injury. An OSHA inspector identifies areas of concern which need to be abated.

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