Foxconn explosion kills three

An explosion at Foxconn’s Chengdu plant, which manufactures iPads for Apple, has left three people dead and 15 injured, according to local reports.

The explosion, which happened on Friday evening, took place in a polishing workshop. It started a fire which was later put out. According to the China News Service, police are confident that it wasn’t started deliberately.

But campaigning group Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior (Sacom) says it saw the disaster coming. In a report released just two weeks ago, it warned that the polishing department was ‘full of aluminium dust’ – believed to be the cause of the explosion.

In a statement on its website today, Sacom says it’s disappointed that Foxconn and labor organizations failed to attach enough importance ot its warnings. It’s demanding that both Foxconn and Apple apologise to the victims and their families, pay proper compensation and set up an independent investigation into the explosion.

The plant, which opened only last October and cost $2 billion to construct, is used to assemble the iPad 2. Production has been suspended, but reports say that Foxconn doesn’t anticipate any production delays, as the company has other, larger plants in Shenzhen.

However, parent company Hon Hai has said that it has been planning to shift production from Shenzhen – notorious for its spate of worker suicides – to cities in the interior including Chengdu, which have lower labor costs.