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For furniture makers, potential dangers color each phase of the process

On Behalf of | Apr 9, 2024 | Workplace Safety

North Carolina has long been known as the “Furniture Capital of the World.” Some of the leading furniture manufacturers are located here. As anyone who has done this work or has a loved one in the industry knows, despite the technological advances in machinery and other equipment over the decades, any kind of furniture making employment can be dangerous.

Employees need the appropriate training to use equipment safely. Further, employers need to ensure that the proper safeguards are in place. Consider – for example – the fact that, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), machine guarding violations are among the most commonly cited during OSHA inspections of woodworking-related workplaces, which are just some of the kinds of furniture-related scenarios that employees must be careful to navigate safely.


Because many machines utilized in woodworking operations are designed to cut wood and other dense materials, they can also cause amputations (particularly involving fingers and hands) and serious lacerations. Of course, having the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) can help prevent dangers to the eyes and respiratory system. However, gloves aren’t going to help much if a blade cuts into a person’s skin.

Assembly and finishing

The woodworking phase of furniture making isn’t the only dangerous part. Assembly involves staple and nail guns that need to work correctly, cared for properly and be used carefully, just as cutting equipment does. The finishing phase is where workers are most at risk of chemical as well as fire hazards. Strong furniture finishing products used can cause respiratory and skin conditions. Wood dust is another common cause of respiratory conditions as well as eye problems and even blindness.

A “no-fault” system

Employers owe their workers equipment that is properly functioning and maintained. They also owe them access to all necessary PPE and in sizes that fit them correctly. Training of all employees is also critical because one employee’s error or negligence can end up injuring someone else.

It’s important to know that, with a few exceptions, workers’ comp is a “no-fault” system. That means that in all likelihood, an employee who is injured or develops a medical condition because of their work is entitled to benefits whether their employer, another employee, faulty equipment or they themselves are to blame for their harm. Having experienced legal guidance can help injured furniture workers get the benefits to which they’re entitled.