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Work injury rate leads to fines for furniture company

Industrial workplaces and factory work typically encompasses working with dangerous equipment. It is vital and in accordance with the law that California employees be properly trained when working with heavy machinery or equipment that can lead to injuries. After an investigation into Ashley Furniture, the U.S Occupational Safety and Health Administration has levied heavy fines against the well-known furniture company due to the high work injury rate and other issues.

The company has been fined $1.76 million. The plant in question was the site of more than 1,000 injuries related to work in just a three and a half year period. The investigation concluded there were 14 serious safety violations, 12 willful violations and 14 repeat violations. One serious injury noted was a worker who lost three fingers while working on a particular machine.

The company strongly refutes the findings and says the vast majority of injury cases were what the company says were minor. OSHA described the violations and relayed information about the failure of the company to prevent one machine from starting when blades were being changed or other work was conducted on the machine. Improper training of workers was also cited as a concern.

It is important for California workers and others to understand the safety procedures related to any machinery with which they work. Not being trained properly can lead to devastating injuries. When a work injury is related to improper training or an unsafe work environment, workers may gain by understanding their rights. Regardless of the circumstances of a work injury, being aware of the proper channels and procedures for obtaining benefits and how to ensure all benefits are handled appropriately is a vital part of a worker's ability to protect him or herself in the event of a devastating accident.

Source: San Francisco Chronicle, "OSHA fines Ashley Furniture $1.76M for worker injuries", Feb. 2, 2015

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