25 May 2011, Hong Kong

Today, SACOM released a video which shows workers are exposed to aluminum dust in the polishing department at Foxconn plant in Chengdu. The video was taken in March 2011, 2 months prior to the explosion case. The workers have to polish the iPad cases to make them smooth and shiny. In the footage, workers are covered by dust on their face, hands and clothes. Unfortunately, the dust on workers’ forehead could not be seen clearly in order to protect the identities of them. This affirms SACOM’s criticisms that workers are working under adverse environment with poor ventilation and inadequate protective equipment for workers. The tragedy can be averted if Foxconn and Apple have strictly complied with the local laws on work safety and implemented corrective action plan afterwards.

On 6 May, SACOM published an investigative report, Foxconn and Apple Fail to Fuifill Promises: Predicaments of Workers after the Suicides, which documented a number of occupational safety issues at Foxconn.

In the milling machine department in Chengdu, some workers state they always breathe in the aluminium dust. Workers in the polishing department also complain that the department is full of aluminium dust. Even though they have worn gloves, their hands are still covered by dust and so as their face and clothes. Some workers comment that ventilation on shop floor should be improved.”

The report also highlighted that workers from the CNC metal department, where workers drill screw holes on iPad cases, have to use “cutting fluid” in the production but there is no indication about the substance of the chemical and the potential harm to workers. A number of interviewees suffered from skin allergy for removing excessive glue from iPad cases. Apparently, work safety issues at Foxconn are alarming.

In response to SACOM’s report, Foxconn has claimed that, “We are mandated by our own strict policies, Chinese government law, and our commitments to our customers to ensure that the highest level of health and safety standards are applied to our operations in all locations.” It is outrageous that Foxconn has no commitment to examine the findings of SACOM but simply denies the criticisms. Until now, Foxconn has not apologized to the victims and workers publicly.

Foxconn is one of the most influential investors in Chengdu. In the aftermath of the explosion, the victims are hospitalized in the Sichuan Provincial People’s Hospital. The wailing parents were surrounded by about 20 police and propaganda department officers. No one is allowed to approach the victims’ families for information of the tragedy.