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Ashley Furniture workers continue to be injured on the job

When one looks at the worker safety history at the various manufacturing facilities of Ashley Furniture in Pennsylvania and other states, one may come to the conclusion that this international distributor threatens the lives of approximately 20,000 workers on a daily basis. Following multiple federal investigations and subsequent citations and fines for non-compliance, the company is now subjected to random inspections under the Severe Violator Enforcement Program of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Nevertheless, workers continue to be injured on the job at the various facilities of this company.

The most recent OSHA investigation at one of the company's facilities in another state led to fines of $431,000, which is in addition to fines exceeding $1.8 million earlier this year. The most cited violation at the various facilities of Ashley Furniture is the lack of lockout/tagout procedures when workers clean machines, change blades and clear jams. Without these procedures in place, moving parts of equipment can activate unexpectedly and cause workplace accidents that often lead to death or permanent disability.

OSHA reported that more than 1,000 recordable workplace injuries occurred at one of the company's facilities from mid-2012 through January 2015. The company was cited for 38 safety violations in January, and even then changes were not implemented. Barely two months later, OSHA was back at the same facility, investigating an on-the-job amputation injury.

Such disregard for worker safety is unacceptable, as unsafe work environments in which workers are exposed to amputation hazards can adversely impact the lives of workers and their families. The workers' compensation system offers some level of financial relief, and Pennsylvania workers who were injured on the job may pursue these benefits. In addition to medical expenses and lost wages, workers who suffered injuries that cause temporary or permanent disability may receive additional compensation and rehabilitation services.

Source: woodworkingnetwork.com, "OSHA Hits Ashley Furniture Again, With $431,000 Penalty", Bill Esler, Oct. 20, 2015

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