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Apr 12, 2001
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Barron's points to a research report from Stratfor Global Intelligence noting that 44 Chinese workers are preparing to file a lawsuit against LCD manufacturer Wintek after dozens of workers have been hospitalized due to poisoning from n-hexane used to clean iPhone screens.
Stratfor notes that at least 62 Wintek workers have been hospitalized since August 2009 due to n-hexane poisoning, a chemical "which can cause nerve damage and sometimes paralysis."
The note also cites media reports claiming that the factory manager had forced the company's workers to use the chemical instead of a safer alcohol product because of either faster drying times or reduced streakiness.
The Stratfor post says that according to some media reports, the factory manager in Suzhou made the workers use the chemical because it dries faster than alcohol, while other reports said it was used because it leaves fewer streaks than alcohol. The piece notes that the factory manager has since been fired.
The Stratfor article also claims that reports have suggested that the change to using n-hexane was made at Apple's request.

In addition to the iPhone, Wintek has been a primary supplier of touchscreens for the iPad. "Manufacturing bottlenecks" at the company have been blamed for tight supplies of the iPad, although a report has suggested that Apple is shifting even more production to the company as other partners have also struggled with delays.

Article Link: Workers Suing iPhone Manufacturing Partner Over Chemical Poisoning
 

theheadguy

macrumors 65816
Apr 26, 2005
1,148
1,372
california
Interesting... I wonder if Apple will weigh in on this one.

You would think they would have masks to prevent something like this, or it would be in their contracts for required safety equipment.

I believe the poisoning scare was originally reported here.
 

RoboCop001

macrumors 65816
Oct 4, 2005
1,482
357
Toronto, Canada
If Apple did ask them to use n-hexane, they'll probably just say "We asked them to use it, but it's their responsibility to take the safety precautions."
 

ftaok

macrumors 603
Jan 23, 2002
6,365
1,400
East Coast
You would think they would have masks to prevent something like this, or it would be in their contracts for required safety equipment.

Who's contract? Apple's contract with Wintek or the employee's contract with Wintek?

I would guess that Apple's contract with Wintek would include all of the required verbage stating what environmental and occupations safety standards are required. In this case, my guess is that Wintek was falling behind on schedule or they weren't meeting quality standards, so the manager switched to the n-hexane.

As for the employee's having a contract, I highly doubt it. I don't think there are Unions over in China ... but I could be wrong.
 

theheadguy

macrumors 65816
Apr 26, 2005
1,148
1,372
california
Who's contract? Apple's contract with Wintek or the employee's contract with Wintek? I would guess that Apple's contract with Wintek would include all of the required verbage stating what environmental and occupations safety standards are required. In this case, my guess is that Wintek was falling behind on schedule or they weren't meeting quality standards, so the manager switched to the n-hexane. As for the employee's having a contract, I highly doubt it. I don't think there are Unions over in China ... but I could be wrong.
Apple's contract.
 

Dr. Scott

macrumors member
Jan 15, 2010
60
27
It's not the n-hexane, it's the lead paint covered facility they work in, silly.
:)
 

Earendil

macrumors 68000
Oct 27, 2003
1,549
0
Washington
If Apple did ask them to use n-hexane, they'll probably just say "We asked them to use it, but it's their responsibility to take the safety precautions."

Or Apple said gave a mandate like "There are streaks all over the glass. Do something about that". And that was the manufacturers cheap answer.

However, the fact that it was a manager that was fired makes me think it was a relatively low level implementation of either safety precautions or choice of cleaner that brought this about. If it really was a mandate by Apple and the company couldn't have been any safer, they would be pointing their fingers loud and clear at Apple, not firing managers.
 

PeterQVenkman

macrumors 68020
Mar 4, 2005
2,023
0
Reminds me of Christopher Walken in "The Rundown" talking about the horrendous conditions his mine workers are subjected to:

Where you see Hell, I see a spellbinding sense of purpose. I see the value of keeping your eye on the ball. When a bride slips the ring on her finger, when a businessman lays his hands on a Rolex, when a rapper gets a shiny new tooth, this is that cost, Mr. Beck, my horror for their beauty, my Hell for their little slice of Heaven. Somebody's gotta keep his eye on the ball. That somebody is me, Mr. Beck. I am down here every day, keeping my eye on the ball. That's just a simple fact of life. And if you're bold enough to face that cold hard fact... you can make a lot of money.
 

benpatient

macrumors 68000
Nov 4, 2003
1,870
0
Or Apple said gave a mandate like "There are streaks all over the glass. Do something about that". And that was the manufacturers cheap answer.

However, the fact that it was a manager that was fired makes me think it was a relatively low level implementation of either safety precautions or choice of cleaner that brought this about. If it really was a mandate by Apple and the company couldn't have been any safer, they would be pointing their fingers loud and clear at Apple, not firing managers.

Yeah, because the person who makes the decision ALWAYS takes the fall when something goes wrong.

/sarcasm
 

Speedy2

macrumors 65816
Nov 19, 2008
1,161
251
Arn,

is there the possibility to create a 'Page 3' or something for all legal news?
This is actually REALLY boring to read.


Thanks,
speedy_2
 

RoboCop001

macrumors 65816
Oct 4, 2005
1,482
357
Toronto, Canada
Or Apple said gave a mandate like "There are streaks all over the glass. Do something about that". And that was the manufacturers cheap answer.

However, the fact that it was a manager that was fired makes me think it was a relatively low level implementation of either safety precautions or choice of cleaner that brought this about. If it really was a mandate by Apple and the company couldn't have been any safer, they would be pointing their fingers loud and clear at Apple, not firing managers.

Ah indeed, good point.

Yea having that manager fired pretty much shows that the company is to blame I suppose.

I just hope the people are alright. Well I mean, nerve damage and paralysis is pretty bad, but hopefully the damage was minimal at least.
 

darkplanets

macrumors 6502a
Nov 6, 2009
853
0
I use hexane all the time in the lab. It's a great non-polar solvent.

Why on earth these workers weren't wearing masks I haven't the slightest clue. While its not necessary at all on a small scale (ie lab), if they're spraying down large quantities of screens with this stuff, logic would say to wear a mask and some gloves. After all, "Extensive peripheral nervous system failure is known to occur in humans chronically exposed to levels of n-hexane ranging from 400 to 600 ppm, with occasional exposures up to 2,500 ppm."

More than likely this is Winteks fault entirely, and has nothing to do with Apple or its contract stipulations. More than likely the upper management caught wind of the delays or cost overage and wanted to cut corners, and that manager fired was just a fall guy following orders.
 

Battlefield Fan

macrumors 65816
Mar 9, 2008
1,063
0
I hope that these employes win, assumming these claims are true. Apple needs to step up and take responsibility for their actions along with the company making the screens.
 

Small White Car

macrumors G4
Aug 29, 2006
10,943
1,303
Washington DC
I hope it's obvious, but just to be clear: I voted 'positive' about the fact that they're suing, not the fact that they got poisoned.

(I'm assuming some of the 'negative' votes are people who are voting against the fact that they got poisoned, yes?)
 

alent1234

macrumors 603
Jun 19, 2009
5,688
170
I use hexane all the time in the lab. It's a great non-polar solvent.

Why on earth these workers weren't wearing masks I haven't the slightest clue. While its not necessary at all on a small scale (ie lab), if they're spraying down large quantities of screens with this stuff, logic would say to wear a mask and some gloves. After all, "Extensive peripheral nervous system failure is known to occur in humans chronically exposed to levels of n-hexane ranging from 400 to 600 ppm, with occasional exposures up to 2,500 ppm."

More than likely this is Winteks fault entirely, and has nothing to do with Apple or its contract stipulations. More than likely the upper management caught wind of the delays or cost overage and wanted to cut corners, and that manager fired was just a fall guy following orders.

masks cost money. the profit margins for a lot of these companies are in the single digits. government takes care of health care.

this is like the US until the late 1960's and the reason why there is little manufacturing here anymore except for very high end products
 

Undecided

macrumors 6502a
Mar 4, 2005
702
165
California
This is great news! The more Chinese workers sue, and get their conditions improved, the less incentive there is to move jobs from the US to China. And, their conditions improve.
 

bacaramac

macrumors 65816
Dec 29, 2007
1,421
81
I think it is complete responsibility of Wintek, but Apple I thought was pretty good at making sure the working environment was healthy for the manufacturers that provide the core products. I thought Apple was doing audits, etc on this stuff. Either way, I don't see Apple playing any legal role in this, but may step in to settle it at their expense and look like the good guy.
 

jmnikricket

macrumors member
Jun 6, 2008
92
0
If this occured in the US, safety standards and procedures are so stringent to protect companies from liability, it is almost always the workers cutting corners that results in incidents. For example, they have access to the MSDS and know that they are supposed to have a dust mask or respirator, but have you ever worn a respirator all day? It sucks.

Having said that, based on the fact that they are bringing a lawsuit makes me think that they did not have access to the proper safety gear. But to assume the company is at fault because of what I've heard about Chinese industrial work conditions isn't really fair with the limited information provided.
 

macswitcha2

macrumors 65816
Oct 18, 2008
1,255
8
Yeah, I am with the Chinese workers. I hope that they win big because without them, all it will be is scrap and metal so safety is of the up most importance.
 

Theseanything

macrumors newbie
May 14, 2010
6
0
Well sorry @speedy2 that you had to read something about people suffering illness because the were forced to work in poor conditions....... I suppose they should go bother someone else??? Just a tad bit insensitive there...
 

motoroid

macrumors newbie
Mar 30, 2009
14
0
If Apple outsourced production to Wintek, it's Wintek's responsibility and between Wintek and it's employees to resolve. Apple will only start worrying about this if iPhone customers are exposed to the substance.
 

ChazUK

macrumors 603
Feb 3, 2008
5,390
24
Essex (UK)
Arn,

is there the possibility to create a 'Page 3' or something for all legal news?
This is actually REALLY boring to read.


Thanks,
speedy_2

Are you for real? The title of the thread should have kept you away if you find legal issues boring.

Just don't click on threads based on legal issues.
 

alent1234

macrumors 603
Jun 19, 2009
5,688
170
This is great news! The more Chinese workers sue, and get their conditions improved, the less incentive there is to move jobs from the US to China. And, their conditions improve.


china has been losing manufacturing jobs for years. africa and the middle east are the next low wage frontiers
 
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