A Catcher Technology has suffered an attack from an unidentified gas | Investigation is still ongoing

A Catcher Technology has suffered an attack from an unidentified gas | Investigation is still ongoing  May 25, 2017 Source: http://wap.china.com/act/toutiao/13000654/20170525/30570235.html / Translated by China Labor Watch

The Jiangsu’s public news channel, News 360, reported: Today, at around 4 AM, an acute poisoning caused by an unidentified gas took place at Suqian Catcher Technology Ltd. Co., resulting in over 80 workers who were on duty being sent to the emergency room. This afternoon a reporter from Jiangsu Radio and Television Media News Center rushed over to Suqian Workers’ Hospital, where there were Catcher Technology workers on the 9th, 10th, 12th, 17th floors and other patient areas. After undergoing an afternoon of IV treatment, most of the workers’ conditions had markedly improved. One worker told the reporter they still felt dizzy and, for the time being, could not yet leave the hospital. The reporter learned that the workers who were sent to the hospital for treatment were primarily from Catcher Technology’s A5 and A6 work areas. These two work areas mainly manufacture accessories for cell phones and keyboards for computers. They revealed that the poisoning had occurred earlier today at around 4 AM. The worker explained that there were many employees in these two manufacturing workshops. Many of the workers wanted to leave when they first smelled the unidentified gas but the strict company management structure delayed their evacuation. One worker said that because the workshop involved is a confidential workshop, workers were still required to follow procedure and sign out even though they were trying to promptly leave. Additionally, due to the varying accesses workers have, workers were unable to leave from the same doors, delaying their evacuation. According to the statistics, there is currently more than 80 poisoned workers. Workers who had relatively light reactions have already checked out of the hospital. Presently, there are still over 60 workers who are receiving treatment at the hospital. As for what kind of gas caused the poisoning, the hospital stated they were uncertain and only wrote “acute gas poisoning” on workers’ medical records. A doctor at Suqian Workers’ Hospital explained that experts from a high-level department have already arrived to direct treatment. At the hospital, the reporter encountered a supervisor from Catcher Technology who explained that the lubricant found inside the machines had been exposed to high temperatures and volatilized, producing a gas that resulted in workers vomiting and feeling dizzy. The supervisor also stated that the gas produced by the lubricant volatizing does not cause cancer and only results in minor burns to the respiratory airway. The reporter learned that Suqian Catcher Technology was established in 2008 by Taiwan Catcher Technology Co. Ltd. The company’s regular production was not affected by the hospitalization of the 80 plus poisoned workers. Presently, Suqian’s Public Safety, Safety Inspection, Health Planning Commission and other departments are still currently investigating whether or not it was the volatilization of the machine lubricant that caused workers to become acutely poisoned. The reporter will also continue to monitor any developments in the investigation.

The Number of Workers Poisoned at a Suqian Company Has Increased Again | Reporter was obstructed by company employee when interviewing workers May 26, 2017

Source: https://item.btime.com/039pp86h0kr124mgae8ec47ji5m Translated by China Labor Watch

Suqian's official safety supervision department issued Catcher an order to cease manufacturing. However, when Catcher received this order, they forced workers to continue working in the affected workshop, resulting in the poisoning and hospitalization of an additional 30 workers.
Suqian’s official safety supervision department issued Catcher an order to cease manufacturing. However, when Catcher received this order, they forced workers to continue working in the affected workshop, resulting in the poisoning and hospitalization of an additional 30 workers. Source: https://item.btime.com/039pp86h0kr124mgae8ec47ji5m

Source: https://item.btime.com/039pp86h0kr124mgae8ec47ji5m 

Yesterday, Jiangsu Public News channel reported that more than 80 workers at Suqian Catcher Technology Co. inhaled an unidentified gas, resulting in an acute poisoning. Yesterday, at the time of publishing the report, there were still 63 workers at the hospital receiving treatment. The reporter discovered that this morning the number of workers who are hospitalized have increased once again. What is the reason for this? The reporter began a follow up report.
Today, at around 9 AM, the reporter visited the Suqian Workers’ Hospital again. Even though they had already been treated for one day and one night, the workers still expressed feeling unwell. One worker said they now felt a floating sensation when they walked.

The reporter’s understanding was that there was a total of 63 workers who stayed overnight at the hospital for further observation. This morning the number of workers increased to over 90. More workers were sent to the hospital for treatment yesterday night and this morning. The worker explained that the A6 workshop has a total of 700-800 workers and the workshop has a rotating shift system. After the poisoning incident occurred, the workshop did not cease operations. As the work environment is sealed off, workers working the night shift were also poisoned.

As the investigator conducted interviews, a supervisor from Suqian Catcher Technology visited the patients’ rooms. The reporter wanted to find out why the workshop involved was still operating but the supervisor refused to answer and even attempted to forcibly take away the reporter’s camera.

Afterwards, the reporter went to the Suqian Sushe Industrial Park Administrative Committee. A staff member of the safety inspection department said after the poisoning occurred, the park immediately sent staff to investigate. They were currently in the beginning stages of determining if the cause for the poisoning is due to a malfunction of an air compressor, leading to the lubricant on the gears to become exposed to high temperatures and volatizing into a gas.

The director of Suqian Sushe Industrial Park Administrative Committee Production Safety, Supervision and Management Office, Zhang Zhen, said given that the manual work areas were located very close to the machinery and that the gas was continuously drifting over, the workers would no doubt suffer adverse reactions in such a short timeframe. Additionally, these workers had already worked a night shift the night prior.

Director Zhang Zhen explained that after the poisoning occurred, they had issued a notification requesting Catcher Technology to immediately stop using the A6 workshop. However, the company unexpectedly ignored this law and did not implement a halt in operations, which resulted in more workers becoming poisoned.

In response to the company’s actions, the safety supervision department has once again requested the company to stop operations in the A6 workshop as well as arranging for experts from an inspection company and the disease control center to visit the company and complete thorough investigations.

When faced with the safety inspection department’s notice to cease manufacturing, Suqian Catcher Technology surprisingly failed to implement the order and asked workers to continue working in the dangerous workshop, entirely ignoring the health and safety of workers. As for this black hearted company, it is not only necessary for the media to expose them but also for the judicial department to act as an administrator and for the law to punish them. As for Suqian Catcher Technology workers being poisoned by an unidentified gas, the reporter will continue to monitor the situation.

Another Follow Up on the Suqian Catcher Technology Unidentified Gas Poisoning Incident May 27, 2017 Source: http://news.jstv.com/a/20170527/148730.shtml  Translated by China Labor Watch These past two days we have been continuously monitoring the unidentified gas poisoning incident at Suqian Catcher Technology Company. Have the workers’ conditions since improved? Are there other reasons behind the cause of this poisoning?

Most of the poisoned workers’ conditions have improved and they have been released from the hospital

This morning the reporter visited Suqian Workers’ Hospital for the third time. After undergoing two days of treatment, most of the workers’ conditions have visibly improved and they are in good mental states. Some of the workers have already removed their medical gowns and are preparing to check out of the hospital. The reporter learned that due to this incident, Suqian Workers’ Hospital have treated over 90 poisoned workers. As of this morning 50 people have been released from the hospital. The director’s assistant of Suqian Workers’ Hospital, Yang Peng, says that currently patients’ conditions are not deteriorating. Labor intensity at the company is high and may be one of the causes for the poisoning Yang Peng explains: Catcher Technology workers have been vomiting, experiencing dizziness and other symptoms indicative of poisoning. Excluding the unidentified gas, the high labor intensity is another cause for the symptoms. Yang Peng says: The labor intensity at Catcher Technology’s factories is very high and workers often go to the hospital to request sick leave notes. The reporter randomly interviewed a few of the poisoned workers and everyone said that they work around 11 hours a day at Catcher Technology. Hanging from the walls of the Catcher Technology is a banner that says, “Catcher Technology’s wages have increased again”. It is because wages are high that this company has attracted so many young people to come and apply. Everyone is well aware about the reality of overtime work. A new employee said that work hours at Catcher Technology are from 8:30 AM to 8:30 PM and wages are around 3,700 RMB ($588 USD). However, outside of the factory entrance, the reporter encountered a worker who had just resigned. This worker said they were resigning because labor intensity was high, the work environment was subpar, and there was lots of excess noise and pollution. How exactly should workers’ rights be protected? According to labor law regulations, Catcher Technology’s working hours clearly indicate a problem. At the Suqian Industrial Park Administrative Committee, the labor protection department expressed they had received multiple complaints from workers but resolving the problem would be difficult. Hu, the director of Suqian Industrial Park Administrative Committee Labor Security and Social Development Bureau, said that this problem contained many complicated elements. If you were to approach this from a company’s point of view, working hours of 10 to 12 hours a day is extremely common place. Secondly, from an employee’s perspective, if you were to ask him to work eight hours a day and earn 2,000 RMB ($318 USD) a month, he wouldn’t be willing to do that. If he works overtime, it means he can earn 3,500 RMB ($556.50 USD) and many workers, in order to earn more money, request overtime. Director Hu explains that Catcher Technology is a supplier factory for Apple. They have over 31,000 workers and have the highest return on investment in Suqian. Furthermore, they employ many of the local residents. Serving as a labor security department, they cannot immediately put an end to the company. Currently, they are looking for a compromise that can not only ensure the rights of employees but also satisfy the production demands of the company. Suqian Industrial Park Administrative Committee Labor Security and Social Development Director Hu says, companies must go through a definite process and adopt a methodology. For example, the company should negotiate with an employee representative instead of rigidly regulating which workshops must work overtime. Secondly, companies should only ask their employees to work overtime after they have negotiated with them. Serving as a labor department, they are looking for a middle ground on these issues. The involved workshop has already completely halted production Currently, the A6 workshop that was involved in the incident at Suqian Catcher Technology has already halted production. The surrounding area has been cordoned off with caution tape. The experts at Suqian’s Safety Inspection, Disease Control and other departments are still in the process of investigating whether or not it was the volatilization of the lubricant that resulted in workers developing symptoms of having been poisoned. Employees are the heart of companies. They are the creators of a company’s wealth. The life and safety of an employee is one of the most vital components of managing the operations of a company, on top of serving as the basic foundation of labor protection. We also hope that the relevant departments in Suqian can increase monitoring, strengthen the intensity of investigations. While Catcher Technology has a high ROI, this should not mean it can use that as a protective umbrella, shielding itself from any punishments that arise from violations of relevant laws and regulations.

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