Thompson Building Wrecking Co. in Augusta, Ga., cited by US Department of
Labor's OSHA for exposing workers to asbestos, hazards
GROVETOWN, Ga. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Thompson Building Wrecking Co. Inc., based in Augusta, for four violations after exposing workers to asbestos during demolition at the Grovetown Elementary School in Grovetown. OSHA initiated the July inspection after receiving a complaint. Proposed penalties are $63,700.
"Although the employer was aware of the presence of asbestos-containing material and familiar with its hazards, no preventive action was taken to protect employees," said Bill Fulcher, director of OSHA's Atlanta-East Area Office. "It is the employer's responsibility to provide a safe and healthful workplace."
One willful citation, with a $49,000 penalty, was issued for knowingly exposing workers to asbestos-containing material by a skid steer loader with a grapple attachment to remove debris from scrap metal. The debris contained asbestos material and was allowed to accumulate on the ground. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.
Three serious violations were also cited, with $14,700 in penalties, for the employer's failure to conduct asbestos work, and its removal, within a regulated area to minimize exposure; not monitoring exposure levels during removal of asbestos-containing material; and exposing workers to inhalation hazards from unbagged asbestos-containing material. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
Thompson Building Wrecking specializes in demolition, asbestos removal and large container services. The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request a conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Atlanta-East Area Office at 770-493-6644.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.
U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print, Braille or CD from the COAST office upon request by calling 216-893-7828 or TTY 216-893-7755.