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back to article Apple's iPhone plant didn't kill UNDERAGE TEEN factory worker

Apple's medical experts have concluded that conditions in a Pegatron factory were not to blame for a teenage boy's death from pneumonia. Cupertino sent a team to investigate its contractors' premises, where iPads and iPhones are manufactured. The teen had managed to get a job at one of these facilities even though he was …

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Trollface

"Apple's iPhone Plant"

What the hell is that? A TRIFFID with app's?

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Re: "Apple's iPhone Plant"

I'm thumbs upping you, just because I just got done watching Day of the Triffids last week.

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Re: "Apple's iPhone Plant"

I read it as Apple had someone on the inside and Apple was just letting us know that thier guy didn't do the killing. I think work is getting to me...

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Trollface

Re: "Apple's iPhone Plant"

thanx 4 clring tha up fore me innit.

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DJV

@Oninoshiko

Well, I hope that was the mostly decent 1981 BBC TV version and not the awful 1960s film or the dire 2009 TV remake.

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Unhappy

Re: @Oninoshiko

I tried to burn the 2009 remake out of my memory

I failed.....

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "Apple's iPhone Plant"

And I'm thumb-downing you because of feral apostrophe use.

Bah humbug.

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@DJV

You can set your mind at ease, it was the 1981 version.

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I think the problem is the working culture

To be honest I think the problem lies with the working culture in China. The poor guy probably worked till he literally dropped even though he would have been showing symptoms simply because that's the culture there. If you can walk you can work.

I actually believe Apple, in that they are going further than pretty much any other company with manufacturing interests in china in trying to improve the safety and working conditions of the workers, but I can imagine even Apple are probably hitting their collective heads against a brick wall when it comes to the ingrained culture of the Chinese.

I also suspect that Apple are going further in this mostly as a result of the negative press they receive whenever one of these unfortunate incidences happens.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I think the problem is the working culture

How many people die in the UK workplace? unless you're making products for Apple it seems to go unnoticed.

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Re: I think the problem is the working culture

Shouldn't be hard to look up.

The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration says 4,383 workers were killed on the job in the US during 2012, 3.2 per 100 thousand full-time equivalent workers. Now, whether dying of a disease not necessarily related to the job would count in that number, I don't know.

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Re: I think the problem is the working culture

And it was shown by Tim Worstall that the rate of death at FoxConn is lower than the US national rate. I know it's not quite fair to compare a single company with a country, but FoxConn is doing more than many other companies in China to look after their worker's health.

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Re: I think the problem is the working culture

The US national rate includes construction, mining, truck driving, etc., all which tend to have relatively higher rates of injury or death. Construction accounts for about 20% of US workplace fatalities.

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Re: I think the problem is the working culture

All companies at best follow the law of the land they operate in and 15 is the legal working age in China btw. In which language is "underage" translated from?

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Re: I think the problem is the working culture

How many KIDS die in the UK workplace ? That is the hint, it was a KID.

Whatever you buy these days, if it says "Made in China", you can add the suffix ", most possibly by kids"

And to get all this straight: <brand> buyz a load of jeans at 25cents each and sells that on London hightstreets for 150 quid. They search for the cheapest factory they can get because every little cent counts - that means the Chinese factories have to employ kids to stay competitive and no "Western controls" is gonna change that. At 70-100 quid, I can get a pair manufactured in France with organic cotton, without the hazard of toxic substances in the fiber - as usual, sometimes, I do not understand ... ppl wearing GAP/Kaproal5/etc are ...., you guessed it.

Now, when it comes to electronics there is actually not much choice, sadly. We just have to wait for the Chinese revolution which, believe me, is coming quicker than most ppl think.

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Vaccination?

Footnote mentions what the usual cause of pneumonia is. Would also be nice to mention there's a vaccine against 23 different strains of that bacterium. SO had pneumonia 3 times in 10-some years. Got the shot, and not an incidence since (more than 10 years).

Come to think of it, maybe Apple could ask their contracting companies to offer vaccinations as a free benefit of employment? Paternalism and all that. (and self-interest, yes?)

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Megaphone

Re: Vaccination?

I don't think that Apple should be insisting on the prescription of medicines or vaccines as Public Health issues are none of their concern. All they have to do, and are doing as far as i can tell, is take steps to ensure that the workforce are working in the SAFEST of conditions. Wages, Health Benefits, pensions, Hours etc, are things to be negotiated between the Employee and the Employer. There's also the possibility of "side-effects" with any form of medication and knowing Apple's luck someone would probably get ill or die from the vaccine, which would give them more grief. The problem is the Chinese. As soon as these "Western" companies backs are turned Health & Safety goes out of the fucking window. What can Apple or any other company do about the Chinese mentality where they see themselves and everyone else as a disposable resource....What they need is a Bloody Good General Strike.

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Apple et al could always move their manufacturing facilities to a country with even the slightest hint of human rights legislation. But that would mean either taking a hit on their miniscule profit margin (cough) or hiking up their prices so that ain't gonna happen any time soon.

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Anonymous Coward

@returnmyjedi

So what mythical country would that be then?

The USA is out, since they are constant violators of human rights... (Guantanamo bay is all I need say)

Pretty much all of Asia is excluded, as is Africa and the middle east...

Much of europe has human rights issues of one form or another, even though we have legislation to stop it...

The UK MIGHT qualify, but I am sure that with a little digging violations would be found..

Canada maybe?

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Re: @returnmyjedi

While human rights are not perfect in Europe/US there is a huge difference with many African/Asian countries and really inappropriate to lump out problems in the same band as those elsewhere. Are you or your family likely:

to murdered if they go to school,

raped without consequence on the perpetrator because you are a lower caste,

...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @returnmyjedi

That is true, there are grades of violation, and I wish there was a way to help those countries.

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WTF?

What I find shameful is that in amongst all of these comments about how Apple get much worse press than anyone else, and how it is not unknown for people to die at work, no one is mentioning the fact that this poor child was underage.

Not for the first time has Apple been linked with underage workers, however that fact appears conveniently lost in these posts!

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Not Apple's fault underage kid lied to get job

No one is mentioning the underage aspect because the kid used a fake ID to get the job. So the company did all the right things in checking, but if someone lies, then all bets are off. There is a limit to what you can check for.

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Re: Not Apple's fault underage kid lied to get job

I don't agree.

If I employ someone in the UK and they have used false ID to pretend that they have the right to work in the UK, I'm sure that the UKBA wouldn't say "It's OK, all bets are off!"

I trade with lot's of Chinese companies, and if I ever find that they are doing something that they shouldn't, I have a zero tolerance policy and never trade with them again.

This has meant that I now have a group of extremely professional suppliers who ensure that the standards I expect across the board are adhered to, because they know that if they slip up and I find out, they will lose significant business. I have been caught out by unscrupulous suppliers in the past, and they are not now trading with me. Obviously I tell them before I agree a contract of supply what I expect, and they know that they only get 1 chance.

Unfortunately, when dealing with Chinese companies, (and I know that this is going to sound terrible) there does seem to be more than the average amount of chancers. When buying from China, in my experience you cannot be too careful. For example, I insist on CE certification through a recognised testing lab, and I personally check every CE certificate, with the test documentation, to confirm that the certification is correct. It is amazing how often Chinese companies will send you doctored documentation. So, if as a foreigner I know that fake documentation is rife, and I have quickly learned what to look for and how to establish if it is correct or not, I do not think that there can be any excuses from an organisation based in China to say "Well they had the correct ID!".

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Re: Not Apple's fault underage kid lied to get job

A commendable method of works that should be the norm. An upvote from me and I hope i can strive to do business in such a way.

I suspect that it grows more of a problem as a firm grows bigger though and that one guy (who isnt open to bribery or personal interest) becomes a number of employees checking new prospective employees and suppliers. The one man who initiated it may very well still hold those beliefs close to heart but checking the checkers.. who check the checkers.. etc ad infinitum.. it all gets a bit watered down.. and expensive.. and time consuming..

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