Health & Safety

A safe and healthy workplace is a requirement, not an option.

A worker at the Mac Pro factory in Austin, Texas, in the United States.

Safety should never be subject to compromise. So we’re engaging with suppliers early and working onsite to make sure facilities and production processes are up to code. And to help build a more skilled, proactive management team, we’re enrolling more midlevel managers into our Environment, Health and Safety (EHS) Academy.

Health and Safety Highlights from Our 2015 Report

Enrolled 156 more suppliers and 392 more participants in the EHS Academy.

Launched more than 870 EHS Academy projects in 2014.

Graduated the first class of EHS Academy participants.

An Apple Supplier Responsibility team member discusses the importance of the EHS Academy with supplier senior leadership in Suzhou, China.

Case Study
Improving chemical safety procedures.

The problem. At one facility enrolled in the Apple EHS Academy, new chemical purchase requests must first be submitted to various departments for approval. While requests were required to be approved by its finance and purchasing departments, no environment, health or safety approval was required when purchasing new chemicals, making verification of proper handling, storage and separation of these chemicals more difficult.

Potential risks. Without mandatory EHS checks in place, there was a risk of environmental pollution and worker health and safety issues.

The solution. The Apple EHS Academy participant created a digital platform for purchasing and logging chemical procurement and made EHS approvals a mandatory part of the process. The participant also created an online chemical database system for easier referencing.

The outcome. The digital database created by the EHS Academy participant has significantly increased the efficiency of the chemical purchasing process and led to stricter reviews of new chemicals entering the facility.

Monitoring environment, health and safety issues.

Apple employees from departments like operations and engineering work onsite daily to support factory operations at most of our major supplier sites. They are encouraged to report any EHS issues they encounter between our audit periods. Regionally based Apple EHS professionals are able to respond quickly and get onsite when an issue is identified.

In 2014, we received over 150 investigation requests from Apple employees regarding environment, health and safety issues at our supplier facilities. These requests were either raised by employees working onsite, or by employees who needed us to conduct assessments concerning new processes. The majority of the environmental issues centred around air and water quality concerns, along with questions about how to obtain proper permits. Restricted chemical use, dust, machine guarding and emergency preparedness were the key health and safety issues raised. The Apple EHS team assists suppliers by helping them to identify an issue’s root cause, and implements corrective action as needed. All requests are logged and tracked until closure. This data is then used to improve our supplier auditing, training and awareness programs.

Apple’s commitment to worker safety, expertise and guidance allowed our teams to think innovatively about risk mitigation. We now have regular evaluation milestones and continuous monitoring in place.
Sam Ting
Site DGM, Manufacturing Owner, Wistron, Kunshan
Workers participate in a chemical spill readiness drill near Shanghai, China.

Strengthening emergency preparedness.

Our standards are strict. And we work to fully enforce them at every possible level. But accidents and natural disasters do happen. That’s why it’s critical that suppliers know how to respond to an emergency. So we work closely with them to develop emergency management systems and develop corrective actions for suppliers’ safety protocols. In 2014 we worked with 30 supplier sites, representing more than 800,000 workers, and we plan to extend our program to even more facilities next year. We’ve also provided suppliers with detailed checklists to assess their fire equipment, permits, emergency lighting and first aid kits.

Uncovering hazards. Eliminating risks.

Apple strives to identify potential issues in suppliers’ factories before they become problems. Even as assembly lines are being built, we work with engineering and operations teams to anticipate any concerns that may affect workers and the environment during production. And we help these teams — both at Apple and our suppliers’ factories — to develop better management systems and solutions so they can proactively address these concerns.

We trained nearly 1,000 supplier personnel in 2014 on topics such as ergonomics and chemical management, in addition to our EHS Academy training. And over 1,900 Apple employees were trained on identifying common hazards associated with travelling to and visiting supplier sites. In addition to our regular audits, we completed more than 30 detailed safety assessments to gauge hazards, including combustible aluminium dust, flammables, toxins and reactive materials. And we’re going to use these assessments to help implement safer factory designs and to continue addressing and eliminating risks early on.