POSTED: Monday, February 21, 2011 - 4:58pm
UPDATED: Monday, February 21, 2011 - 5:47pm
CHINA— Apple is being spotlighted for something other than their products after a company in central China was cited for safety practices.
The Wintek company is accused of work place hazards that allegedly led to repeated exposure of harmful chemicals for at least 37 employees. The company supplies touch screens to Apple Computer for their iPad and iPod products.
The accusations were outlined in Apple's “Annual Supplier Responsibility Report.” The report cited inadequate safety provisions at the factory, including a case in 2010 where dozens of workers were poisoned by unsafe handling of the chemical N-Hexane at a factory in Suzhou, near Shanghai.
Apple said it required the supplier to stop using the chemical and asked the company repair its ventilation system. Apple will also audit the factory again later this year to ensure the company is complying with Apple's standards.
The Chinese factory, meanwhile, has admitted using chemicals used to clean screens that caused health-related problems for employees.
The company's vice president, however, denied he forced employees to quit.
Apple said 137 workers were poisoned at the Wintek Factory in eastern China last year by unsafe handling of a solvent that could cause nerve damage. Some of the workers told Chinese state television that Wintek ignored their requests for medical re-examinations and forced them to quit. Wintek said insurance and compensation regulations state affected employees can only receive compensation after they quit.
Apple released the ASRR last Tuesday and acknowledged inadequate safety provisions at some factories.