Ashley Furniture: OSHA Proposes $431K Fine over Machine Safety

WebProNews StaffLife

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Ashley Furniture, the country's largest home decor retailer, has been cited by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration for "failing to protect workers from moving machine parts" at one of its manufacturing facilities.

The violations allegedly occurred at a factory in Wisconsin.

"Workers risked amputation injuries each time they serviced the machinery," said Mark Hysell, OSHA's area director in Eau Claire. "Ashley Furniture failed to implement required safety procedures to protect machine operators until after OSHA opened its inspection. The company must make immediate, enforceable safety improvements at its facilities nationwide."

OSHA has proposed $431,000 in fines.

"The agency determined that the company failed to implement procedures to prevent machines from unintentional start-up when operators changed blades, cleaned machines and cleared jams exposing workers to dangerous machine operating parts. The company failed to have operators use locking devices to prevent unexpected machine movement, a procedure known as lockout/tagout. This violation is among OSHA's most frequently cited and often results in death or permanent disability," says OSHA.

This isn't the first time OSHA has flagged Ashley Furniture in recent history. In January, the company was cited for 38 violations. OSHA proposed nearly $1.8 million in fines.

Ashley Furniture called OSHA's allegations "outrageous".

"The claim that Ashley failed to protect its workers from moving machine parts is outrageous. At all times, Ashley has machine guards in place that are provided by the manufacturer and, in some cases, the company has gone beyond what manufacturers put in place by installing additional guards and implementing special procedures to protect workers," the company said in a statement.