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Ashley Furniture faces fines for safety violations

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has accused Ashley Furniture of violating federal safety regulations because it did not report an accident that cost an employee his finger. The company, which has retail outlets in Minnesota and other states, has received 38 OSHA safety violations since January 2015.

During an assessment of the company, OSHA inspectors discovered that employees at the company's plant in Arcadia, Wisconsin, have reported over 1,000 on-the-job injuries over the previous 3.5 years. The agency subsequently issued the violations, which could results in nearly $1.8 million worth of penalty fines for the company. It also placed the company in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

The agency has also found that the company did not file a report when moving machine parts cut off a worker's right ring finger in March. OSHA issued two violations for willfully neglecting to protect employees from moving machine parts and failing to report hospitalizations within 24 hours. These violations were categorized as willful because another worker suffered the same kind of injury on a similar machine in January. The agency also issued two violations for not maintaining accurate records of injuries. OSHA is proposing $83,200 in penalty fines for the incident. However, the company disagrees with how agency inspectors interpreted various regulations and with the agency's conclusions. In a statement, it said that it regrets that it could not resolve its differences with OSHA but that it strongly believes in its safety procedures and programs.

Workers who suffer on-the-job injuries might be eligible to receive workers' compensation benefits such as paid medical care and a percentage of lost wages. An attorney who has experience in these matters can often provide assistance in the preparation and filing of the required claim.

Source: Consumerist, "OSHA: Ashley Furniture Failed To Report Incident In Which A Worker Lost His Finger," Mary Beth Quirk, July 22, 2015

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