Apple Supplier Blasted for Dangerous Working Conditions in China
A new report reveals unsafe working conditions and grueling hours at a factory that produces parts for the iPhone and iPad. Did Apple turn a blind eye?Apple is once again under fire for poor working conditions at one of its parts suppliers' factories in China. Arriving just days before the iPhone 6 launch, which is rumored to include an appearance by the long-awaited iWatch, a report (PDF) from two nonprofit organizations, China Labor Watch (CLW) and Green America, alleges that a factory in Suqian, China, run by Catcher Technology is subjecting its employees to a dangerous work environment. An undercover investigation conducted last month revealed "health and safety, environmental, and human rights violations," said the nonprofits in a Sept. 4 statement. Catcher is accused of causing several life-threatening health hazards, including one with the potential to affect neighboring areas. Violations range from locked safety exits that can prevent a worker's escape from a fire or explosion to a lack of protective equipment. In the past year, there have been no fire drills. The lack of drills and locked exits are "inexcusable in a work environment that requires the handling of flammable materials," said Elizabeth O'Connell, campaigns director at Green America, in a statement. "Additionally, the lack of safety training in this facility and improper handling of hazardous materials contributes to the risk of life-threatening emergencies."
Some workers were directly exposed to toxic metal-cutting fluids used in the production of iPad casings and Apple keyboards. "After a period of time, this causes workers' skin to itch, swell, and peel. CLW's investigator himself suffered these side effects," stated the report.