United Furniture pays fine

By NEMS Daily Journal

OKOLONA – United Furniture Industries, charged by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in February with safety violations, has paid its fine to the federal agency.
But the original $66,000 penalty was reduced to $37,500.
Mike Wald, regional director with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Public Affairs, said the company also agreed to do self-monitoring and to correct other violations.
The company originally was charged with committing 19 serious violations and one repeat violation. One of the serious charges was dropped.
The violations included accumulation of explosive dust; failure to provide railings on stairs; locked, unmarked and inadequate exits; allowing safety devices to be removed from nail guns; lack of machine guards on fan blades, staplers, pulleys and sprocket wheels; multiple electrical hazards, including blocked access to electrical panels; live electrical equipment exposed to potential contact; lack of coverings for unused openings in electrical panels; flexible cords substituted for fixed permanent wiring; damaged and improperly spliced flexible cords and wiring methods that were not approved for combustible dust.
OSHA originally recommended fines totaling $51,000.
The repeat violation – failing to label feeder and branch circuits – cost United $15,000, as recommended by OSHA. The company was cited for the same violation in March 2010.
United employs about 1,700 people. Its Mississippi facilities are in Okolona, Amory and Hatley, while its North Carolina operations are in Archdale and High Point.