Lifestyle & Belief

Explosion strikes iPad 2 factory in China


Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduces Apple's iPad 2 in San Francisco on March 2, 2011.


Kimihiro Hoshino

An explosion Friday night at Foxconn’s newest China mega-factory – the plant in Chengdu that manufacturers the iPad 2 – has killed two workers, injured 16 others  and raised more questions about the company’s safety practices. As yet, the company has not disclosed the cause of the explosion but said it is investigating.

The Chengdu plant, which opened last year and eventually plans to employ hundreds of thousands of workers, came under criticism in a report May 5 by the watchdog group Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior.

“While Apple commends the measures taken by Foxconn to improve working conditions, SACOM finds predicaments of workers remain,” the Hong Kong-based group said. Chengdu police detained then later released SACOM workers who tried to visit victims' families in a local hospital.

“Workers always have excessive and forced overtime in order to gain a higher wage. Workers are exposed to dust from construction site and shop floor without adequate protection,” the group said. “Even worse, they are threatened by potential harm of occupational diseases in various departments. Additionally, military-styled management is still in practice, characterized by “military training” for new workers.”

You can read more about Foxconn's safety record here.