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Audit of Samsung suppliers in China finds that dozens fail to provide safety gear

SEOUL, South Korea - Samsung said Tuesday an external audit found labour violations at dozens of its suppliers in China including failure to provide safety gear and excessive working hours.

Samsung Electronics Co. released the findings covering 100 of the company's Chinese suppliers in its annual social responsibility report. It has at least 200 suppliers in China.

Samsung, the world's largest smartphone maker, faced allegations in 2012 of child labour and other violations in China. New York-based labour rights group, China Labor Watch, said working conditions at Samsung suppliers were "inhumane" and the company vowed to eliminate illegal overtime by the end of 2014.

The audit conducted last year found 59 Chinese suppliers did not provide sufficient protective goggles, masks and other safety equipment to workers while 48 let minors, which were classified as employees aged 16-18, handle chemicals. Most of the audited factories did not comply with legally permitted overtime hours.

Other violations included lack of evacuation drills or exclusion of night shift workers from the drills at 40 suppliers. Part-time workers were not compensated for overtime working hours at 39 suppliers.

The South Korean company said it had subsequently demanded suppliers comply with legal hours and reduce overtime. It said it asked suppliers to provide protective gear and conduct regular training. Suppliers that get low marks would face penalties.

Samsung conducted its own audit of Chinese suppliers in 2012 and said it found instances of Chinese workers working beyond legal hours.

It said no instance of child labour was found in the latest audit, which was carried out by a third party auditor certified by the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition, an electronics industry group.

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