Asia-Pacific

Another worker death at iPhone firm Foxconn

Foxconn factory in Shenzhen, China (25 May 2010)
Image caption The Shenzhen factory employs more than 400,000 workers

In China a factory worker has died after falling from a high building, the latest in a string of such deaths at the same plant.

The man, who was 19, was employed by Foxconn, a Taiwanese firm also known as Honhai.

The firm makes mobile phones, games consoles and computers for companies like Apple, Hewlett Packard and Sony.

Nine people have died after falling off buildings at the factory this year. Two others were seriously injured.

Police are not saying yet whether this was a suicide attempt, a suspicious death or an accident.

It happened just one day after Foxconn started playing music to workers on the assembly line to try to ease the pressure on them.

Before this latest incident the company's founder had denied he worked his staff too hard.

But he had promised a plan to improve working conditions within a month.

Some analysts believe the factory is dealing with a suicide cluster - once the notion of suicide spreads among a group of young people it is hard to reverse.

Others point out that the plant is huge; 420,000 people are employed there.

In a population that size the number of apparent suicides seen so far this year is in line with what might be expected.

But the company has admitted it stopped a further 30 people trying to throw themselves off high buildings in a three-week period earlier this year.

That is why one reason it is started to recruit singers, dancers and gym trainers to help off duty staff relax and it says it will employ more psychiatrists too.

It has brought in Buddhist monks to try to rid the plant of evil spirits and it is also building 3m-high fences to try to stop people jumping off the dormitories.

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