Georgia Demolition Company Fined for Asbestos Removal Violations

The Thompson Building Wrecking Company in Augusta, GA is facing fines of more than $63,000 for suspected asbestos removal violations that occurred during the demolition of a vacant school in Grovetown, GA.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Thompson Building Wrecking for two violations, according to a January 15, 2014 article in Augusta Chronicle. The first, three-part violation alleges the company exposed employees to asbestos-containing materials, failed to perform required airborne monitoring, and failed to mark off areas where asbestos was being removed. OSHA fined
Thompson $14,700 for these violations.

The second violation, as detailed in the citation, is for “willfully” failing to ensure the asbestos-containing materials were properly handled to minimize employee exposure, and resulted in an additional proposed $49,000 fine for Thompson Building Wrecking.

Owner Hiram Thompson is challenging the allegations, saying that the citations are the result of the OSHA inspector’s inexperience and lack of knowledge about asbestos removal procedures. While OSHA recently offered to reduce the fines, Thompson says he expects to have the fines dismissed outright.

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

It was commonplace for buildings constructed during the 1940s to contain asbestos. No one seems to be questioning whether or not the vacant school did contain asbestos. The point of contention is whether or not asbestos-removal practices mandated by OSHA to protect the health of workers were adequately and appropriately followed.