Moving Towards Prevention

Before this summer, the thought of manufacturing companies never crossed my mind. I always believed that there was a plant manager and a bunch of robotic arms that completed tasks. It wasn’t until I had an internship with a manufacturer of rubber flooring that I realized how many different working parts human resources complete in this setting. During my orientation, I spoke with a safety consultant that they have on the premises. He spoke to me about the operations of the plant and his long terms goals for the company in order to create safe working conditions and motivate the plant workers. This plant has improved significantly over the last five years and complies/exceeds the labor laws. Even with the improvements I still had a difficult time understanding how some of the actions performed are safe for the workers in the heat of the summer.

One of the words the safety consultant continuously stressed was prevention. After listening to the podcast, I couldn’t believe the countless  situations that could have easily been prevented. One that stands out to me is the worker who died after working a 34-hour shift. While listening to the podcast, I looked around my room at all the “stuff” and probably everything was made in China in plants similar to what Daisey described. Companies that send their labor overseas typically stress corporate social responsibility in the United States. Instead of putting their effort into “hiding” what is happening overseas, they should put it into making a change. If companies take the initiative to send the necessary protections with the jobs they export they can prevent future negative press and promote a more ethical industry.

At the end of the podcast, they spoke about Apple having a code of conduct for suppliers. Though they perform many audits and monitor their suppliers working conditions, it still does not make large changes in the life of the employees of these mega-factories. In the report, the names of the companies audited are not presented making it impossible for a third party to verify these facts. Industry leading companies, such as Apple, should have a transparent supply chain encouraging other companies to do the same.

6 thoughts on “Moving Towards Prevention

  1. Your background in interning at a manufacturing firm is a very interesting comparison to the podcast. Even in an American manufacturing plant that “compiles/exceeds the labor laws,” you still note that some of the tasks performed may not be one hundred percent safe in the heat of summer. If we have concerns about a manufacturing plant like this, I can only imagine how truly horrible a plant like Foxconn must be!

  2. I couldn’t agree more! The shock of Daisy’s podcast had me looking around my room at all of the stuff that I have, too. It’s just so disappointing that such a powerhouse like Apple isn’t looking out for the best interests of its employees. Like you mentioned, Apple could have a huge impact in changing this corrupt industry trend for the better.

  3. I definitely agree with your comment about being unaware of the amount of human labor that goes into manufacturing many of the products we use. I too assumed that it was mostly machinery that made up these factories and did most of the work. Your comments about prevention were also interesting. What do you think Apple could have done to prevent the death of the worker with the 34 hour shift?

    • If Apple, as an industry leader, was more publicly concerned with what was happening overseas and possibly threatened to stop using these large manufacturers such as FoxConn maybe the suppliers would put in place working conditions that were more similar to those in the United State. I am not sure that suppliers would actually adhere to a threat, but you could only imagine how much profit these large American corporations are making for the manufacturers.

  4. I think it is great how you got to intern at a place “that makes real stuff.” I think our management education in the USA has forgotten how important they are.

  5. Pingback: Reactions to Blog Post 2 | BGS 8- Thursday Section

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