75 Dead from China Car Parts Plant Blast, Poor Safety Measures Blamed
By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | August 4, 2014 4:36 PM EST
At least 75 people have died after a car parts plant in China exploded over the weekend. The plant located in eastern Jiangsu Province manufactured for a number of global car companies, including U.S. giant General Motors (GM).
File photo of cars made by South Korea's Hyundai Motor Group on a truck at the company's shipping yard at a port in Pyeongtaek
The explosion occurred at 7:37 am in Kunshan City, which is not far from Shanghai. National broadcaster CCTV said the city holds a number of automotive factories.
Most of the victims were young migrant workers. The day's shift had just started then at 7 am and should end at 11 pm.
Initial investigations showed the explosion was set off by the ignition of powder or dust from the production process.
The People's Daily newspaper reported that authorities have detained five company officials of Zhongrong Metal Products Co.
Still, a workers' rights group believed the death toll could have been minimised or accidents could have been prevented had the facility installed proper measures.
"Safety measures like ventilation systems should have prevented such accumulation of dust particles. This tragedy is a result of lax safety standards in the workplace," U.S.-based China Labor Watch said in a statement.
Safety experts said that dust suspended in the air in the right concentration are perfect ingredients for explosions. They even make non-explosive materials become explosive under certain conditions.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has called for severe punishment on those responsible for the explosion. He likewise ordered safety checks to prevent further disasters.
From January to June this year alone, China had already 19 serious safety incidents that killed over 200 people, Xinhua said on its microblog on Aug 2.
General Motors had confirmed that Zhongrong is an indirect supplier, manufacturing parts for Dicastal, a global supplier to the Detroit-based automaker.
"Our direct suppliers are required to source from tier-2 suppliers who must meet both in-country environment and safety standards, as well as quality standards," the AFP quoted General Motors.
The plant employs 450 people, according to the company's Web site. Its operations include plating and polishing of metal parts such as wheel hubs.
Xinhua said there were 264 people at the site at the time of the explosion.
To report problems or to leave feedback about this article, e-mail:
To contact the editor, e-mail:
Join the Conversation
- With Falling Oil Prices All Eyes On OPEC Meeting
- Plane Freezes in Russian Arctic, Passengers Push (WATCH VIDEO)
- This Is How Obesity Weighs Down Global Economy By 2 Trillion Dollars Every Year
- Consumer Alert: Retailer Simons Goes Out Of Quebec, To Open Five Stores Across Canada
- Signs That You Are A Smartphone Zombie (And The Dangers This Poses)
- Black Friday And Cyber Monday Sale 2014: AT&T's Cricket Wireless Offers Discounts On Lumia 1320, Galaxy S5, S4 And HTC Desire 510
- ISIS Kidnaps Iraqi Defence Minister’s Family, Executes Female Parliament Candidates
- '$2,000 For Sex'—Pleads Unlucky-in-Love Guy On OKCupid
- Google Joins Forces with GoPro Inc with New Google Maps Focusing on Destination
- Lumia Update Will Come Soon Confirms Microsoft