Not to be confused with the Repair Bench.
The Workbench was required to craft certain items, this was be indicated by a text in the crafting window. Standing in the vicinity of one will grant the "Workbench 1" buff, which decreased crafting times of all items by 66%.
It took about 15 hits with a Hatchet to be destroyed.
The following items 'required' a Workbench to craft:
Classification : Survival