Print 31 comment(s) - last by optimuscream.. on Jul 1 at 12:39 AM

Has Foxconn installed new anti-suicide nets? The company hasn't announced officially.  (Source: Gizmodo)
Wish you would step back from that ledge my friend./ You could cut ties with all the lies / That you've been living in.

Increasing attention has been paid to the sharp increase in suicides this year at Foxconn's Shenzhen factory which manufactures iPods, iPads, and iPhones. It also fills orders from a broad list of clientele including Dell, HP, Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony.  With at least one employee dying from exhaustion as well, the pressure is on for Foxconn and its Taiwanese owner Hon Hai Precision Industry Ltd. to enact changes.

In the long term Foxconn is considering moving to Vietnam in order to lower labor costs, or replacing employees with robots at an automated facility in Taiwan.  For now, it's using other measures to try to cut the suicide rate in China in the short term.

Among these measures appear to be a set of newly installed safety nets at some of its facilities.  A tipster sent a photo of some of these nets in to 
Gizmodo.  As the site points out, the company has put out no official release about the nets, which span between the kind of residential high rises that employees have previously jumped from.  The nets may serve some other purpose, but its appears they may have at least been in part put up to cushion employees' falls.

Foxconn is also raising its employees wages.  And its brought in a host of experts including Buddhist monks to release the souls of the dead from purgatory and to flood the plant floors with soothing melodies.  It also has created "anger rooms" in which its employees can beat away their rage and frustration.

Most U.S. manufacturers turn a blind eye to these kind of issues in China.  However, after much criticism Apple has taken to conducting yearly working condition studies.  Its latest one showed a variety of problems including overworked, underpaid employees, and the use of child labor

In the wake of these problems Apple and other U.S. firms have shown some signs that they're looking to adopt firmer stances with their suppliers to reduce these kinds of problems.

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

By amanojaku on 6/29/2010 9:58:44 AM , Rating: 2
They'll stop jumping off of buildings and find other ways to die. I mean, damn...

RE: So
By MrBlastman on 6/29/2010 10:09:19 AM , Rating: 5
Foxconn, building a better Apple for tomorrow. Here at Foxconn, we care about your health. We've implemented many measures to make sure you are a stronger, more fit, and more productive employee.

We want you to be happy so to help you not have to go to the bathroom as often, we don't have adequate air conditioning. Sweating not only cools you off, but is a healthy way of expunging impurities so you can focus better.

We want you to have less stress so we have a dummies you can beat up on.

We want you to be more fit so we help you to stand up longer with less breaks--a fit body leads to a sharp mind.

We want you to feel appreciated, so we've doubled your pay!

We want you to help catch you when you fall, so we have nets to comfort you when you need us most. Don't rest too long though, it's back to the lines with a smile!

At Foxconn, we don't bring you down, we stand you up again--so you can work harder and... longer. :)

RE: So
By dice1111 on 6/29/2010 12:43:32 PM , Rating: 5
Foxconns newest product, if the nets fail...

RE: So
By Icehearted on 6/29/2010 6:54:00 PM , Rating: 2
My mind read this in GLaDOS' voice XD

RE: So
By MozeeToby on 6/29/2010 10:15:34 AM , Rating: 5
Actually research has been done that shows this kind of thing actually does lower the suicide rate. When they finally put nets under the Golden Gate Bridge, for example, they found that the suicide rate in the city dropped by more than half of the number that normally committed suicide that way. Same goes for other 'anti-suicide' devices.

It seems counter intuitive, but the explanation in the article I read was that suicide is a long drawn out process that often starts with a single thought about the specific method and moves forward from there. If they eventually come to realize that committing suicide in that specific way won't work it can often short circuit the process.

RE: So
By metaltoiletry on 6/29/2010 10:49:52 AM , Rating: 2
It would be interesting to look into whether or not the suicide rates went up at all in the surrounding areas. Like, if the people found other places to jump or not.

RE: So
By amanojaku on 6/29/2010 10:54:50 AM , Rating: 2
My point exactly. They won't jump off the roof at Foxconn, hell, they might not kill themselves at work at all. But a suicidal person will still find a means. The root cause is what needs to be addressed: the abusive management at Foxconn.

RE: So
By IcePickFreak on 6/29/2010 10:16:36 PM , Rating: 2
I thought the whole reason for the suicides was that they are always at work? (along with the meager pay for it)

RE: So
By MozeeToby on 6/29/2010 11:12:15 AM , Rating: 3
Like I said, the studies have been done.
Importantly — and contrary to conventional wisdom — the researchers did not find an increase in jumps from other buildings or bridges in the area. In other words, people didn’t just go find another bridge to jump from.
According to the paper, “Researchers found that just the presence of the net stopped people from even trying to jump off the Munster Terrace, a medieval cathedral located in the old section of Bern, from which two or three people had been leaping to their deaths every year. They also found that the net did not shift suicides to other locations.”
It appears I was thinking of a different bridge, the Golden Gate doesn't yet have suicide nets. It will be interesting to see how effective they are at reducing suicides, the Golden Gate Bridge is the most popular suicide location in the world and if they ever get the nets installed it should affect the suicide statistics of the area significantly.

RE: So
By kmmatney on 6/29/2010 3:21:55 PM , Rating: 2
They put up nets during the Golden Gate Bridges construction, which saved a lot of lives. I seem to recall that it had pretty tall railings when I walked on it years ago.

RE: So
By wolrah on 6/30/2010 12:52:49 AM , Rating: 2
One difference in this case may be that many people didn't (and still don't) know about the nets under the bridge, so they could reach the point of having a plan built up over time which they then realize won't work.

In this case, Foxconn employees obviously see these things every day, so I think they'll just plan their suicides in different ways. I don't know how much planning people tend to put in to a suicide, but unless the root causes are addressed (which it seems like they're at least kinda trying to do, though it seems half-assed from the perspective of an American) I expect to see the Foxconn suicide rate go back up in whatever time frame that is.

Of course I could be entirely talking out of my ass here.

Another thought that crossed my mind as I typed "Foxconn suicide rate" is whether this is common at other similar plants. I'd assume Foxconn isn't an anomaly and that competitors of theirs treat their employees similarly, so I wonder if we're only hearing so much about this company due to the connection with the beloved-by-the-news Apple product line. Just kinda thinking out loud there.

*Note: last line is not intended as anti-Apple in any way, have owned three generations of Mac notebook and use both an iPod and an iPhone every day. Can't deny that the media loves Apple though.

RE: So
By optimuscream on 7/1/2010 12:39:21 AM , Rating: 2
I pity the workers if they know that the product they made have receptions issues ... failing workers for failed product :((

Treating the symptom not the problem
By spread on 6/29/2010 9:59:21 AM , Rating: 3
Great. So now the factory is going to look even MORE like a prison.

RE: Treating the symptom not the problem
By Estee on 6/29/2010 10:23:06 AM , Rating: 3
You should actually go onto the facility, like I am now with my company (Foxconn is our CM). It is not remotely prison like, and actually more of a college campus feeling. There's a ton of people all around (300K+ onsite), trucks, etc. just buzzing non stop. Also a ton of little shops, restaurants, and even a movie theatre for everyone. Furthermore, Foxconn has also built apartments which house the employees for free, so while it doesn't compare to Western style standards, it is nonetheless pretty good for China.

Back to the OP, yes they have installed nets on all the buildings to dissuade employees from jumping, but management has taken other steps to identify, mitigate, and hopefully help those at-risk people (remember most of these are just kids coming from the countryside all alone). I've talked to them extensively this past week (while I'm there) and its priority #1 in the company now (even for a notoriously cheap and strict CEO).

RE: Treating the symptom not the problem
By redbone75 on 6/29/2010 11:28:28 AM , Rating: 2
It's nothing about the way the company "looks." After all, you are just visiting. How about working there in the manner that the workers do? As far as the "at-risk people" I'm pretty sure most normal people will quickly become at-risk if they worked under the conditions reported from that company. It's not about helping at-risk people, it's about preventing circumstances which are detrimental to good mental health.

By Estee on 6/30/2010 2:42:38 AM , Rating: 2
Sure, I am "just visiting" for 3 weeks now and about 2 month out of ever year. And during my "visits" i work with them day in and day out, going to breakfast, lunch, and even sometimes dinner, as well as other events. I also won't even mention that I have to interface with them on an ongoing basis for the rest of the year and consider many of them as not just mere colleagues / acquaintances, but friends as well. But hell, what do i know about them compared to you or the general media which like to sensationalize news.

RE: Treating the symptom not the problem
By EricMartello on 6/29/2010 12:07:42 PM , Rating: 2
If I had to go to a "college like" setting every day I'd probably consider playing superman for a few seconds too. What kind of douchebag would want to spend the rest of their life in a college-like setting? It's like the 45 year old who still lives with his parents.

RE: Treating the symptom not the problem
By Hare on 6/29/2010 1:00:20 PM , Rating: 2
Unfortunately not everyone can live the quality of life so many of us take for granted. What I'm saying is that a "douchebag" Foxconn employee may actually be lucky compared to many others in China. It may look like a prison/campus to us but for some chinese it's a chance for a better life. Many of the "douchebags" actually do it to support their families in rural China.

What next? You think Ethiopians are douchebags for not eating enough?

By Estee on 6/30/2010 2:36:10 AM , Rating: 2
Very well said....China is rampant with prostitution and indenture "slaves", especially for those from the country side. Would you rather go to those types of "jobs" or server at a factory that tries to look out for its employees. While it may never approach what Westerners consider "decent", it is pretty good for most Chinese.

By Visual on 6/29/2010 10:50:07 AM , Rating: 2
If I were working there, I'd immediately go jump off a building after seeing the nets. Not because I want to suicide myself, no. Just for the fun of it - it sounds like a great entertainment.

I doubt this was the effect they want however, so I'd rate this latest move as a huge WTF.

By hughlle on 6/29/2010 11:38:15 AM , Rating: 2
haha, quite.

next thing they'll be sending out new contracts docking pay for misuse of the "safety nets"

i find it a little stupid that after everything, the company figures that adding a room for workers to beat the stress and anger out, is more effective than changing the circumstances that are making them that angry in the first place. i wouldn't be happy hiring people knwoing that they will kill themselves out of hatred for the job i offer unless i offer means to fight out the anger. business model fail? :D

By Estee on 6/30/2010 2:48:03 AM , Rating: 2
As a wise man once said, "don't hate the playa, hate the game". The issue at hand isn't caused by Foxconn, it's by the Chinese themselves. While there is an economic boom happening, it is brought on the backs by the cheap labor which the government has condoned. If this didn't happen, you'd be looking at most of these kids growing up to be prostitutes, massage folks, or restaurant workers instead barely scraping a living to make ends meet. So if anyone is to blame, look at the (ironicically) socialistic ideals of China that tends to abuse its people as opposed to helping them (welfare-wtf is that there?!!).

Next step?
By carniver on 6/29/2010 12:38:59 PM , Rating: 2
What's to stop someone from jumping off the net?

RE: Next step?
By ClownPuncher on 6/29/2010 2:35:38 PM , Rating: 2
The non deadly fall below. Who wants a broken ankle?

By andylawcc on 6/29/2010 1:58:02 PM , Rating: 3
the nets are Made in China.

Nice, some Third Eye Blind
By Leper Messiah on 6/29/2010 10:59:16 AM , Rating: 2
Bringing me back to the summer of 1996!

The Apple thread
By Shadowmaster625 on 6/29/2010 4:08:39 PM , Rating: 2
Looking for a place to beat up on AAPL?

By UnauthorisedAccess on 6/29/2010 8:08:40 PM , Rating: 2
#If you fall, I will catch you, I will be waiting...time after time.

How sad
By IcePickFreak on 6/29/2010 10:10:33 PM , Rating: 2
So when the workers start complaining, is Jobs going to tell them they're jumping wrong and show them the proper way?

I can't wait!

my favorite quote
By TechIsGr8 on 6/29/10, Rating: 0
"Death Is Very Likely The Single Best Invention Of Life" -- Steve Jobs

Latest Headlines
Inspiron Laptops & 2-in-1 PCs
September 25, 2016, 9:00 AM
The Samsung Galaxy S7
September 14, 2016, 6:00 AM
Apple Watch 2 – Coming September 7th
September 3, 2016, 6:30 AM
Apple says “See you on the 7th.”
September 1, 2016, 6:30 AM

Most Popular ArticlesAre you ready for this ? HyperDrive Aircraft
September 24, 2016, 9:29 AM
Leaked – Samsung S8 is a Dream and a Dream 2
September 25, 2016, 8:00 AM
Yahoo Hacked - Change Your Passwords and Security Info ASAP!
September 23, 2016, 5:45 AM
A is for Apples
September 23, 2016, 5:32 AM
Walmart may get "Robot Shopping Carts?"
September 17, 2016, 6:01 AM

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki