iPad maker releases damning report of its own supply chain

Audit reveals child labour, poisoned workers at Apple suppliers

Consumer electronic giant Apple has revealed the extent of worker violations within its chain of factories, which supply parts and construction for top selling products such as the iPad and iPhone.

Probably the most shocking revelations revealed in the Apple Supplier Responsibility document involve child labour and the poisoning of workers at some plants during 2010.

91 cases of underage workers were found in ten factories. In one plant, 42 children were discovered.

Meanwhile 137 workers at the Suzhou facility of Wintek had suffered n-hexane poisoning.

Apple is, however, keen to stress it is busy addressing each and every issue, and will presumably gain some credence to these claims having revealed the state of its infrastructure in the first place.

Apple’s manufacturing supply chain has attracted negative attention recently when a spate of suicides at Chinese firm Foxconn, one of its suppliers, prompted calls for closer inspections. Founder Steve Jobs has, however, been vocal in his defence of the firm.

Other violations of law or Apple’s own code include listed in the report include:

76 facilities had workers exceeding the maximum hours of work stated in Apple’s code – which sets a cap at 60 hours per week and requires at least one day of rest per seven days of work.

47 sites did not have appropriate first aid, 78 did not have proper fire detection and suppression equipment, and 81 did not have proper emergency escape routes – for example, fire exits were found locked at some sites.

64 facilities lacked sufficient physical safety controls, while 95 sites lacked the administrative ability to run safely – such as lack of inspections and absent legal licenses. 54 facilities had workers not using the right safety equipment, or using it improperly. Overall, 34 facilities simply do not conduct ‘ergonomic’ risk assessments.

80 facilities were note storing or handling hazardous chemicals properly, while 41 were not disposing of them in accordance with the law. 37 failed to monitor or control air emissions.

54 facilities lack policies and procedures that prohibit discrimination based on results of medical tests, while 57 lacked policies to prohibit discriminations based on pregnancy.

You can read the full report here.

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