Ashley Furniture faces a $431,000 fine for failing to protect workers from moving machine parts at its Whitehall, Wisconsin upholstery factory. This penalty is in addition to more than $1.8 million in fines issued earlier this year during inspections at other company facilities in Wisconsin.
OSHA determined that the company failed to implement procedures to prevent machines from unintentional start-up when operators changed blades, cleaned machines, and cleared jams, which exposed workers to dangerous machine operating parts. The company also failed to use lockout/tagout devices to prevent unexpected machine movement. Ashley Furniture has contested all the citations issued and a hearing before an OSHA Review Commission will be scheduled.
"Workers risked amputation injuries each time they serviced the machine..," said Mark Hysell, OSHA's Area Director in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. “The company must make immediate, enforceable safety improvements at its facilities nationwide."
Chicken Processor Racks up More Than $1.4M
Case Farms Processing Inc. was fined more than $1.4 million for worker safety and health violations. A 17-year-old worker's left leg was amputated from the knee down, and a 24-year-old employee lost two fingertips due to dangerous machinery at the chicken processing plant in Canton, Ohio. Both workers were fired after the incidents.
“A teenager's life has been forever altered because of a devastating leg injury just weeks after starting this job,” said Dr. David Michaels, OSHA's Assistant Secretary of Labor. “How many injuries will it take before Case Farms stops exposing workers to dangerous machinery parts?"
Deadly Blast Killed Two Workers at Railcar Cleaning Services
An air-quality check indicated a serious risk of an explosion, just moments before a blast killed two employees in Omaha, Nebraska. Despite the warning, Nebraska Railcar Cleaning Services sent two workers into a railcar without properly fitting respirators and emergency retrieval equipment.
The explosion killed the two men, trapping one inside, and injured a third employee. The company faces a $963,000 fine and placement on the Severe Violator Enforcement Program. "Our hearts go out to the families of these workers, whose deaths were so senseless and preventable," said Dr. David Michaels, OSHA Assistant Secretary of Labor.