Apple Investigating Death of Two Foxconn Workers

The Wall Street Journal reports that two Foxconn workers have died in the northern Chinese city of Zhengzhou, where the Apple supplier assembles iPhones. The two deaths occurred under different circumstances, but Apple said it will look into the matter and also reinstated its commitment to the well-being of assembly workers.

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“Facilities in Zhengzhou and throughout our supply chain offer employee assistance programs, designed in conjunction with Apple and available to every worker, to provide access to social services and counselors whenever needed,” the Cupertino, Calif.-based company said in a statement.

“We constantly monitor working conditions to ensure that they meet our strict standards, and we will investigate the incidents in Zhengzhou,” it said.

As reported by the WSJ, the first person committed suicide earlier last week (on August 18) after finishing his night shift on an iPhone assembly line and walking up to the top floor of Foxconn’s production building. The second person was struck by a train.

Suicide is a sensitive matter, especially at Foxconn, which came under scrutiny in 2010 after more than a dozen worker suicides. Since then, Foxconn has taken steps to ease the pressure on assembly workers, which is always high ahead of major product releases, but apparently it has failed, as the recent deaths show.

Apple responded to the deaths reported in 2010 by implementing measures that included curbing excessive overtime, a major cause of suicides, and setting up a group to audit Foxconn factory conditions.