IAM Cites IKEA for Dubious Honor in Virginia

A new report on furniture-maker IKEA, suggests that the firm’s Swedwood operations in Danville, Virginia may be the most dangerous plant in the wood furniture industry. According to the report: “Injury Analysis for Swedwood Corporation: Danville Virginia,” certain types of injuries are routinely several times above the national average for other companies in the same industrial classification.

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), which supports and is seeking to represent workers at the Danville facility, believes the plant may be the most dangerous wood household furniture operation in the United States.

“Swedwood’s “production-at-any-cost” philosophy coupled with their failure to recognize the unique culture of its workforce creates a situation where workers’ safety is not valued and workers themselves are viewed as disposable,” said William Street, Director of the IAM Woodworkers Department. “Nothing else explains their willingness to lose so many days of work to injuries and to allow so many injuries to occur.” 

During the past 30 months, Swedwood Danville workers have sufffered more than 1,536 days of lost work from either Lost Time Accidents or accidents requiring job transfer. Coupled with the belief by many that Swedwood Danville is in violation of OSHA record keeping requirments, there is a high likelihood that injury rates are 30 percent higher than reported.

The Woodworkers Department of the IAM has filed a formal complaint with Virigina Occupational Safety and Health Agency and is waiting the outcomes of their investigation.