Every worker has the right to a safe and healthy workspace.

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A worker in a glass lab wears protective gear while using an ion exchange furnace in Kentucky, USA.

We don’t let anyone cut corners on safety. We constantly find ways to make production processes and facilities safer. We also provide leading education opportunities to increase health and safety management in our supply chain.

Highlights from our 2014 Report

Launched the Apple Supplier Environment, Health and Safety (EHS) Academy.

Enrolled 240 supplier participants covering over 270,000 workers in the EHS Academy.

Strengthened ergonomic standards for managing workstation design changes.

View all 2014 highlights

Improving health and safety through education

Worker health and safety have long been priorities at Apple, and we have been driving improvements through our audit and corrective action process. It’s important to go beyond this foundation, and experienced EHS managers are critical to taking this next step. But there’s a problem: there’s a shortage of people with advanced EHS skills. So in too many cases, factory supervisors have had no alternative but to assign underqualified personnel to EHS leadership roles. These people can fix problems after the fact, but they lack the education and knowledge to proactively find and resolve issues before they become problems.

To address this education gap and expand the pool of qualified EHS managers, we launched the Apple Supplier EHS Academy — a formal, 18-month program we believe to be one of the most comprehensive EHS training and education programs in any supply chain. To develop the Academy, we worked in partnership with Nanjing University; Sun Yat-sen University; and the Institute for Sustainable Communities, a nonprofit organization focused on community-based solutions to reduce climate pollution in the United States and China. Leveraging existing curricula, we created a unique program that aims to build strong EHS personnel. We share the cost of the program with our suppliers, who pay only half the Academy fees for their participants. In 2013, more than 240 factory personnel from over 60 supplier facilities covering 270,000 workers enrolled in the EHS Academy. We plan to expand the program in 2014.

The Academy offers 25 courses for environment, health and safety. It includes general and customized classes in subjects such as hazards risk identification and assessment, fire safety, ergonomics, industrial hygiene, water management and air pollution control. The Academy focuses on foundation setting, skill building, management and leadership. Participants must choose and complete 19 courses. At the end of the program, participants receive a certificate of completion from the universities. Participants are also required to apply their knowledge to create and implement real-time projects at their facilities. Furthermore, they can use their new skills wherever their careers take them — at Apple suppliers or elsewhere. Which means the Apple Supplier EHS Academy has the power to raise standards for EHS management far beyond our own supply chain.

It’s not just factory personnel who are required to get involved in the Academy. Decision makers at the senior leadership level learn about the program at a mandatory one-day seminar that’s co-led by our Supplier Responsibility and Operations teams. Through their attendance at this seminar, factory managers personally commit to supporting their EHS managers throughout the course of the Academy.

EHS Academy
in 2013

240

participants

60

supplier facilities

270,000

workers represented

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An EHS expert talks to supplier leadership about the importance of the Apple Supplier EHS Academy in Suzhou, China.

Identifying and reducing risk.

We supplement the Apple Supplier EHS Academy with specialized training on EHS topics that require deeper technical attention. This additional training helps prepare both suppliers and Apple employees to address hazards while working in a supplier facility. In 2013, we trained over 320 supplier personnel on topics such as lasers, non-ionizing and ionizing radiation, and accident prevention. Over 100 supplier personnel — including 100 percent of our anodizing suppliers — were trained on chemical hazards management, and we completed chemical hazards assessments and industrial hygiene monitoring at nearly 20 facilities. More than 1200 Apple employees working in our supply chain participated in training courses on topics such as first aid, ergonomics, supplier site safety and environment, health and safety. Pairing specialized assessments and training allows our employees to identify hazards, educate suppliers and empower suppliers to make changes to improve safety at their manufacturing facilities.

420

A total of 420 supplier personnel were trained on health and safety topics in 2013.

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An auditor inspects fire extinguishers at a facility in Shenzhen, China.

Emergency preparedness.

When a disaster occurs, it’s critical that suppliers are prepared to protect their workers and respond to any situation. To help our suppliers prepare for and respond to emergencies, we created checklists for suppliers to use during self-inspection and for our team to use during onsite review and validation. These checklists also act as a practical guide for suppliers to create a safe and secure workplace that is equipped to handle emergencies. The checklists cover important topics like proper fire equipment, permits, emergency lighting, first aid kits, aisle width, maps and signs for exit routes, emergency response plan/team/drill, and specific safety precautions involving hot work. We will continue conducting assessments and implementing standards and procedures at high-risk facilities in China to help our suppliers keep their workers safe in the event of an emergency.

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Workers eat lunch in a factory canteen in Shanghai, China.

Worker well-being and ergonomics.

In 2013, we trained human resources managers, line supervisors and other supplier personnel on worker well-being topics such as communication skills, trust building and mental health assessments. And to help create healthier work environments, we set high standards and requirements for dormitory and dining quality and ergonomic hazards prevention.

Through a partnership between outside ergonomic experts and Apple’s ergonomics department, we conducted research and analysis on approximately 75 common jobs within our supply chain to identify ergonomic risks. Based on our findings, we strengthened our standards for managing workstation design changes. We require suppliers to screen workstations, evaluate risks, create and implement controls, and monitor for effectiveness. And we’re providing further education on ergonomics through our EHS Academy courses.