In addition to having little
in the way of enforcement, the very real fact is that foreign auditors' visits
are unlikely to find anything significant in the way of violations. The reasons
are simple, as I've learned over many years as an inspecting officer during my
time in the U.S. Navy. The reason is that during the visit by the inspectors,
the factory managers will clean up their respective acts, and will follow
specified safety and workplace rules.
During the inspections and
audits, workers will follow the rules in regards to workplace safetyfor
example, exposure to dangerous materials will be limited, managers will enforce
age requirements and work-hour requirements, and they will coach the employees
on exactly what to say when they're interviewed by the inspectors, and where
possible, managers will be present when the interviews take place. Workers will
comply with the coaching because they don't want to lose their jobs.
When the report comes out,
it will show a number of minor violations, and Foxconn will promise to fix
those. The inspectors will find those minor violations because Foxconn's
managers will make sure they do. They're smart enough to know that the
inspectors will keep looking until they find something, so Foxconn's managers
will make sure it's something minor. If you think I'm being cynical, be aware
that I've performed a lot of inspections over the years, and unless you're
willing to divert from the normal inspection process, this is how inspections proceed.
Wayne Rash is a Senior Analyst for eWEEK Labs and runs the magazine's Washington Bureau. Prior to joining eWEEK as a Senior Writer on wireless technology, he was a Senior Contributing Editor and previously a Senior Analyst in the InfoWorld Test Center. He was also a reviewer for Federal Computer Week and Information Security Magazine. Previously, he ran the reviews and events departments at CMP's InternetWeek.
He is a retired naval officer, a former principal at American Management Systems and a long-time columnist for Byte Magazine. He is a regular contributor to Plane & Pilot Magazine and The Washington Post.