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Blast at Apple gear factory hurts 61

Workers hospitalised after Shanghai plant explosion

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An explosion at an Apple supplier's factory injured 61 workers and put 23 of them in hospital.

The blast shook a Ri Teng Computer Accessory plant in Songjiang in Shanghai at 3pm on 17 December, according to a filing with the Taiwan stock exchange by Ri Teng parent Pegatron.

"While the cause of the explosion is under investigation, employees who suffered injury on the site have been kept at the hospital for observation," the company's statement said.

Pegatron added that automation equipment had also been damaged by the incident, but "minimal impact is expected for production and business operation".

The chief financial officer for Pegatron, Charles Lin, told news wire Reuters today that the explosion had not caused a fire.

A spokeswoman for Apple told The Register that the company was "working closely with Pegatron to understand the cause of this accident".

"Our hearts go out to the people who were hurt in Songjiang," added Carolyn Wu.

The fruity firm gets many of the components for its iPhones and iPads from Chinese suppliers, many of which are never named publicly by secretive Apple. However, a string of accidents and incidents at Apple parts-makers in the country, particularly at Foxconn, have brought the unsung workers to public attention.

Accidents at Foxconn factories, as well as a string of suicides by workers, have been widely reported, revealing the labour behind the hugely successful Apple product lines.

All the attention has even drawn the eye of the Chinese government, which questioned the safety of Apple suppliers' factories in the country in terms of the pollution they cause in a report from the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs.

Apple has repeatedly insisted that it is committed to social responsibility throughout its supply chain. ®

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