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Ashley Furniture faces big OSHA fines for safety violations

Ashley Furniture, which has several locations in Texas, is facing dozens of workplace safety violations from the Occupational Health and Safety Administration. According to OSHA, workers at an Ashley factory in Wisconsin suffered over 1,000 injuries at work since 2012. The company was fined $1.8 million for 38 workplace safety violations.

After OSHA issued the initial safety violations, the agency discovered another workplace accident case that led to the issuance of more safety violations against Ashley. In March, an Ashley Furniture worker lost his right ring finger while working with a machine. A similar incident involving the same machine had occurred in January, so OSHA issued a willful violation for the March accident. The company was also fined for failing to report the workplace injury within 24 hours.

OSHA has placed Ashley Furniture in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program, a move that the company disagrees with. In a written public statement, Ashley said that it takes issue with the OSHA inspectors' interpretations of several safety regulations. The company said that it has a proven commitment to safety and looks forward to presenting evidence to disprove OSHA's allegations.

A person who has incurred a work-related injury may claim workers' compensation benefits regardless of whether the employer has been issued safety violations by OSHA. Injured workers may be eligible to receive reimbursement for some of their lost wages as well as compensation for their medical expenses. Some injured workers seek the assistance of a workers' compensation attorney when preparing and filing their claims.

Source: Consumerist, "OSHA: Ashley Furniture Failed To Report Incident In Which A Worker Lost His Finger," Mary Beth Quirk, July 22, 2015

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