Apple hails rise in workplace inspections


Consumer electronics giant Apple claims to upped the number of workplace inspections it carries out at its production sites across the globe over the past year.

The company said it carried out 393 workplace audits in 2012, which is 72 per cent higher than the previous year, which include environmental and safety assessments of its production facilities.

In addition to this, the company claims to have bolstered the amount of education it offers to managers around local labour laws, workers rights and occupational health.

Apple made the claims in the 2013 edition of its annual Apple Supplier Responsibility Progress Report.

In the past, the company has come under fire for the working conditions at the factories it uses to manufacture parts for its gadgets across the globe.

This is something the company has been working to address over the past seven years by publishing its Supplier Responsibility Report, while CEO Tim Cook has since taking over the company reins in 2011 has taken steps to investigate.

The company states in the document that, as of last year, it achieved 92 per cent compliance with its rules banning staff from working more than an average of 60 hours a week.

It also confirmed that none of its final assembly suppliers were found to be using underage labour, but it is an issue it is determined to stamp out from other parts of its supply chain.

"While we are encouraged by these results, we will continue regular audits and go deeper into our supply chain to ensure that there are no underage workers at any Apple supplier," said the report.

"Many suppliers tell us that we are the only company performing these audits, so when we do find and correct problems, the impact goes far beyond our own suppliers."

As an example of how deeply it delves into the use of underage labour within its supply chain, Apple cited the cases of two third party labour agencies, which prompted the firm to stop dealing with them.

In both cases, the children involved were returned to their families.

Caroline Donnelly is the news and analysis editor of IT Pro and its sister site Cloud Pro, and covers general news, as well as the storage, security, public sector, cloud and Microsoft beats. Caroline has been a member of the IT Pro/Cloud Pro team since March 2012, and has previously worked as a reporter at several B2B publications, including UK channel magazine CRN, and as features writer for local weekly newspaper, The Slough and Windsor Observer. She studied Medical Biochemistry at the University of Leicester and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism at PMA Training in 2006.