OSHA and Ashley Furniture Enter into Settlement Agreement to Protect Workers from Machine Hazards

 
Thursday, June 9, 2016
 

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration and Ashley Furniture, the nation’s largest retailer of home furnishings, have entered into a corporate-wide settlement agreement that provides an effective framework for protecting workers from machine hazards. The agreement also resolves all pending OSHA citations at the company’s plants in Arcadia and Whitehall Wisconsin, and in Ecru and Ripley, Mississippi.

Among the terms in the agreement, Ashley will demonstrate its corporate commitment to safety by retaining a Vice President for Safety responsible for managing a corporate-wide program to identify and evaluate prevention and control of machine hazards. The comprehensive settlement emphasizes employee involvement and management commitment to the implementation of the machine safety program.

Under the settlement agreement, Ashley will implement a number of safety measures to protect its employees and will submit status reports to OSHA annually during the two-year term of the agreement. The company will conduct periodic audits of facilities to identify machine hazards, as well as an annual review of the effectiveness of the program; develop internal corporate monitoring provisions; and identify a corporate officer or senior managers who will act as a designated official responsible for implementation and oversight of the agreement.

The settlement agreement with Ashley resolves numerous violations that OSHA issued to several Ashley workplaces. OSHA conducted inspections at several Ashley workplaces after learning of injuries at the Arcadia facility, and realizing that similar hazardous conditions could exist at the other workplaces. To resolve all citations, the company will correct all cited violations and will pay penalties of $1.75 million.

Headquartered in Arcadia, Ashley Furniture is listed by Forbes magazine as the 105th largest private company in America with $4 billion in annual revenue as of October 2015. The worldwide distributor employs nearly 22,000 workers at 30 locations nationwide.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance.

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