OSHA cites Thompson Wrecking Co. over asbestos removal violations

OSHA fines more than $63,000 for two violations

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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