Apple Installs Suicide Prevention Nets at Factory

Posted by - Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

Last year, almost a dozen workers at Apple's Foxconn factory in China killed themselves. Not exactly a ringing endorsement for working conditions...

It got so bad that the factory installed safety nets to prevent workers from leaping to their death. 

According to the New York Times, the measures have been working:

In a report on suppliers that it publishes annually, Apple said that Mr. Cook and a team of independent suicide prevention experts conducted a review of Foxconn’s factory in Shenzhen in June and made a series of recommendations for changes in August. Mr. Cook and the team also reviewed changes that Foxconn had put in place, which included “hiring a large number of psychological counselors, establishing a 24-hour care center and even attaching large nets to the factory buildings to prevent impulsive suicides,” Apple said in the report, which was released on Monday. “The investigation found that Foxconn’s response had definitely saved lives.”

The suicides at Foxconn, which also supplies companies like Hewlett Packard and Dell, sparked concerns about working conditions in China’s sprawling electronics factories. Last June, Steven P. Jobs, Apple’s chief executive, defended Foxconn during an appearance at a technology conference in California, saying it was not a sweatshop and that Apple was “over there trying to understand what is happening.”

The article neglects to identify the working conditions that may have been responsible. But aside from the safety nets, Apple has added “better training of hotline staff and care center counselors and better monitoring to ensure effectiveness.”

Read the whole story.

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