OKOLONA, MS -- United Furniture Industries (UFI), exclusive manufacturer of Simmons upholstered furniture, was cited for repeat and serious safety violations by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

UFI was written up for 18 violations totaling $66,000 in penalties. Included was one repeat violation with a proposed penalty of $15,000 for allegedly failing to label feeder and branch electrical circuits. OSHA inspectors cited the company for the same violation in March 2010 at another one of its locations.

OSHA also issued United Furniture 15 serious citations including for an accumulation of explosive dust; failure to provide railings on stairs; blocked, unmarked and inadequate exits; allowing safety devices to be removed from nail guns; a lack of machine guards on fan blades, staplers, pulleys, chains and sprocket wheels; multiple electrical hazards, including blocked access to electrical panels; live electrical equipment exposed to potential contact; lack of coverings for unused openings in electrical panels; flexible cords substituted for fixed permanent wiring; damaged and improperly spliced flexible cords; and wiring methods that were not approved for combustible dust. Proposed penalties for the serious citations total $51,000.
 
UFI manufactures contemporary upholstered and microfiber furniture. The company was formed in 2000, resulting from the merger and acquisitions of Comfort Furniture, Parkhill Furniture and United Chair. In 2008, UFI received the exclusive licensing agreement as the U.S. manufacturer of Simmons Upholstery.

In 2009, UFI received $1.1 million from the Mississippi Development Authority (MDA) in CDBG funding for infrastructure improvements at the facility owned by the city of Okolona. The Appalachian Regional Commission provided an additional $290,000 for infrastructure improvements.

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