Furniture manufacturer receives $1.7 million in fines

After the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) conducted its most recent investigation of Ashley Furniture Industries Inc.'s, Arcadia, Wisconsin, facilities, the furniture manufacturer was cited for 38 safety violations and over 1,000 worker injuries over the last three-and-a-half years. The incident that incited the most recent investigation involved an employee losing three fingers in an amputation accident in July 2014. OSHA representatives placed the firm in the agency's Severe Violator Enforcement Program and proposed fines of $1,766,000. The company faces 12 willful, 12 repeat and 14 serious safety violations.

"Ashley Furniture intentionally and willfully disregarded OSHA standards and its own corporate safety manuals to encourage workers to increase productivity and meet deadlines," said David Michaels, the assistant secretary of labor of occupational safety and health, in a press release. "The company apparently blamed the victims for their own injuries, but there is clear evidence that injuries were caused by the unsafe conditions created by the company. OSHA is committed to making sure that the total disregard Ashley Furniture has shown to safety stops here and now."

U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez commented on the issue, noting that safety and profits aren't an "either, or" option for U.S. businesses, and that Ashley Furniture has "created a culture that values production and profits over worker safety."

Ashley Furniture is listed by Forbes as the 117th largest private company in the country, with annual revenues of $3.85 billion.

Creating a culture of safety that doesn't interfere with productivity or profits is possible with the right health and safety management software and behavioral based safety observations. Companies interested in learning more about optimizing worker safety should contact IndustrySafe today, or visit our website.