A Walmart supplier at the center of a row over industrial accidents has issued a press statement saying it is planning actions to improve safety measures.
Household products company Elec-Tech International (ETI) (Shenzhen: 002500) was accused by Hong Kong-based workers' rights group, Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior (SACOM), of neglecting safety following a series of accidents in which workers lost hands or fingers.
ETI is currently involved in a court case brought by Ruan Libing, a 22-year-old former employee who lost a forearm in an accident at an Elec-Tech plant in the south China coastal city of Zhuhai.
SACOM published a highly critical report on working conditions at the Zhuhai plant after carrying out in-depth interviews with seven workers who were seriously injured there. The report claimed 60 workers had gone through disability assessments as a result of accidents at the plant over the past 12 months.
The company statement, released on August 21, says "injuries at the workplace have caused ETI company's management and staff great sorrow."
"ETI's Board of Directors and top management are fully aware of the media reports and have set up a committee immediately to investigate cases. Meanwhile the company has also appointed an independent consultant to perform a safety audit and come up with recommendations to further enhance the safety measures at workplace."
"We will take every action to reduce the occurrence of accidents in future."
Sources said that ETI Chairman Wang Donglei carried out an inspection of the Zhuhai factory on the morning of Tuesday August 24.
SACOM has since written an open letter to the company demanding that it informs workers of the details of the corrective action plan, and enters into collective negotiations with the injured workers in the presence of lawyers and SACOM representatives.
Despite government efforts to cut industrial accidents in recent years, China's workplaces remain extremely dangerous. A blast in a northeast China fireworks factory on August 16 killed 19 workers, and 2,631 miners were killed in the country's notoriously dangerous coal industry during 2009.