3 Dead after Foxconn Chengdu Explosion PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mike Buetow   
Friday, 20 May 2011 10:26

CHENGDU, CHINA -- Three workers are confirmed dead following a May 20 explosion at Foxconn Technology Group's Chengdu plant.

The company halted production following the explosion and subsequent fire that also left 15 workers injured. The campus builds various devices for Apple, including the iPad 2 tablet PC. The Chengdu site produces an estimated 25 to 30% of the current iPad 2 shipments, DigiTimes is reporting.

Workers flee Foxconn's Chengdu factory following the May 20 explosion.

According to a company statement Sunday night, the initial investigation has found the accident was caused by an "explosion of combustible dust in a duct" at the facility. Other reports indicate the accident occurred in the company's polishing plant.

The disaster occurred just weeks after a non-governmental organization report assailed the company for deplorable worker conditions at the 100,000-employee site.

Foxconn's Chengdu campus; photo taken prior to deadly May 20 explosion. (Photo credit: SACOM)

In a 20-page report, Hong-Kong based The Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior reported workers "in the polishing department complain that the department is full of aluminum dust. Even though they have worn gloves, their hands are still covered by dust and so (is) their face and clothes. Some workers comment that ventilation on shop floor should be improved." The SACOM report also echoed assertions by other NGOs and press reports that workers "routinely" put in 80 to 100 hours of overtime a month, well beyond the China laws governing overtime. (Foxconn denied the charges, staying in a statement "we are far from the company portrayed by SACOM.")

Apple, which has taken substantial heat from NGOs and others concerned with worker conditions environment at its largest supplier, issued a non-judgmental corporate statement: "We are deeply saddened by the tragedy at Foxconn's plant in Chengdu, and our hearts go out to the victims and their families. We are working closely with Foxconn to understand what caused this terrible event."

It is the latest in a series of disasters for Foxconn, which came under media scrutiny last year following a string of suicides that left at least 14 workers dead and forced the company to install netting around the perimeter of its Shenzhen buildings to prevent jumpers.

Ed.: Updates earlier report.


Last Updated on Monday, 23 May 2011 09:24


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