ARCADIA, WI - Ashley Furniture has been cited by OSHA for two willful violations after a 56-year-old employee had his right ring finger amputated following a March 11 incident. The residential furniture maker faces fines of $83,200.

The citations were issued July 21. A statement by OSHA said the residential furniture maker failed to protect workers from machinery operating parts and neglecting to report a hospitalization within 24 hours. OSHA cited the company for two other-than-serious safety violations for failing to keep accurate injury records.

OSHA said the incident was reported a month after it occurred, by someone outside the company. An inspection found that the groover blade in a machine used in the drawer making operation, caused the amputation. This was the second time this year that an accident like this occurred; A 49-year-old employee had a similar injury on the same type of machinery in January.

In its inspections, OSHA found that Ashley failed to protect workers from dangerous machine operating parts when employees performed maintenance and during blade changes on woodworking machinery. Safety procedures require employers to prevent machines from unintentional operation during service and maintenance by using blocking and locking devices to prevent unexpected machine movement, a procedure known as lockout/tagout.

"Workers at Ashley Furniture cannot count on their company to do what's right when it comes to safety. These workers are at risk because this company is intentionally and willfully disregarding OSHA standards and requirements," said Mark Hysell, OSHA's area director in Eau Claire.

Ashley has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. Ashley is currently contesting a $1.766 million citation issued January 2015 for 38 safety violations at the Arcadia location. Proposed penalties total $1,766,000. At that time, the company was also placed in OSHA's Severe Violators Enforcement Program for having more than 1,000 work-related injuries in the previous three-and-a-half-year period.

Forbes lists Ashley Furniture as the 117th largest private company in America with $3.85 billion in annual revenue as of October 2014. Headquartered in Arcadia, WI, the residential furniture manufacturer and retailer employs about 20,000 workers at 30 locations nationwide.

 

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