Furniture Maker Shifts to Safety

Friday, June 10, 2016 @ 09:06 AM gHale


After facing safety citations and fines over $1.75 million, Ashley Furniture is now moving toward a stronger commitment to safety.

That is because the nation’s largest furniture maker inked a corporatewide settlement with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) providing a framework for protecting workers from machine hazards at the company’s furniture plants.

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The company agreed to implement several safety measures to prevent amputations, as well as come into compliance with all OSHA standards and regulations.

Ashley will demonstrate its corporate commitment to safety by hiring a vice president for safety and health who will be responsible for managing a corporatewide machine safety program that emphasizes employee involvement and management commitment to its implementation.

Ashley has also agreed to retain a third-party consultant to audit its facilities for machine hazards and the company will make regular reports to OSHA on safety in its furniture plants.

In an initial inspection at the Arcadia, WI, facility, OSHA inspectors recognized similar hazardous conditions could exist at other Ashley facilities.

This triggered OSHA inspections at several other Ashley workplaces around the country. To resolve all citations, the company will correct all cited violations and will pay penalties of $1.75 million.

The OSHA inspections were a catalyst for change at Ashley.

Under this agreement, Ashley must now make safety a priority from the boardroom to the production floor.

Forbes lists Ashley Furniture as the 117th-largest private company in America, with $3.85 billion in 2014 revenue. The company employs nearly 20,000 workers at 30 locations nationwide.