As the popularity of Apple products continues to soar world-wide, safety concerns grow for the vast labour force behind the manufacturing of the product that has become essential to modern life; the iPhone. Last year, concerns were raised over worker conditions at Apple factories in China, following an investigation by China Labor Watch. As reported by The New York Times, the workers’ rights group accused the company of not enforcing compliance with occupational health and safety regulations at Apple supplier factories across China. Locked fire exits, absence of safety training, significant overtime, and flammable substances found on the floors of factories were some of the hazards identified through China Labor Watch’s inquiry.
In response to allegations of “serious health and safety and human rights violations”, Apple had released a statement to show their commitment to a “corrective action plan” to address working conditions at supplier factories identified.
However, as The Sydney Morning Herald reported, non-conformance over the last year has risen, with a 60-hour week standard across manufacturing and supplier factories. With sales figures of iPhones, iPads and associated gadgets increasing annually, there has been a heavy demand on Apple’s global network of suppliers to keep up with production.
According to a statement from Apple, monitoring its hundreds of multinational factories that comprise one of the “biggest supply chains on the planet” is essential for compliance with Apple’s Supplier Responsibility Code of Conduct. We hope that any issues relating to human rights and work health and safety are corrected for the sake of the millions of workers involved in creating the product so many of us rely on.