Apple has published a new annual report on its manufacturers that reveals 91 children worked at its supplier in 2010, and 137 workers were poisoned by n-hexane, a chemical used to clean components including touchscreens. Additionally, Apple also found that only 32 percent of the facilities it audited were complying with its code on working hours, compared to 46 percent in 2009. On the bright side, compliance on wages and benefits improved from 65 percent in 2009 to 70 percent.
The report says Apple found 91 children working at 10 facilities. The previous year it found 11 at three workplaces.
It ordered most to pay the children's education costs but fired one contractor which was using 42 minors and had "chosen to overlook the issue", the company said. It also reported the vocational school that had arranged the employment to the authorities for falsifying student IDs and threatening retaliation against pupils who revealed their ages.
Apple said it had strengthened its checks on age because of concerns about the falsification of ages by such schools and labour agencies. It also audited 127 facilities last year, mostly for the first time, compared with 102 in 2009.
The report shows a marked decrease in compliance on working hour requirements of a maximum 60-hour week with one day off. In 2009, only 46% met the standard; last year that fell to 32%.