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Explosion At Foxconn Factory Kills 2, Injures 16 199

Posted by Soulskill
from the don't-kill-yourself,-we'll-do-it-for-you dept.
arielCo writes "There are several reports in the news about an explosion in a Foxconn factory in Chengdu that manufactures the iPad 2, killing two workers and injuring another 16. 'The Chengdu Municipal government said the explosion occurred in Foxconn's "polishing plant" at around 7 p.m. Experts say it is likely a cleaning stage at the end of the production process after devices are assembled.' There's a short amateur video of the ensuing fire, taken during the evacuation. Apple said they are working with Foxconn to investigate."
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Explosion At Foxconn Factory Kills 2, Injures 16

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  • Backfire? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pecosdave (536896) * on Saturday May 21, 2011 @10:45AM (#36201712) Homepage Journal

    Is this what happens when you make everyone sign no suicide contracts?

  • Kind of sad (Score:5, Funny)

    by Nidi62 (1525137) on Saturday May 21, 2011 @10:47AM (#36201728)
    Even the Foxconn buildings are trying to commit suicide now.
  • by Morphine007 (207082) on Saturday May 21, 2011 @10:50AM (#36201764)
    ... the rapture.
  • by Pollux (102520) <speter AT tedata DOT net DOT eg> on Saturday May 21, 2011 @10:55AM (#36201788) Journal

    I suppose, if Apple is that much of a religion [slashdot.org] to Apple fans, then does that make these lost plant workers martyrs?

    • by Dunbal (464142) * on Saturday May 21, 2011 @11:09AM (#36201876)
      And more importantly, do these martyrs get 72 free downloads from the App Store(tm)...
  • by improfane (855034) * on Saturday May 21, 2011 @11:04AM (#36201840) Journal

    This probably wouldn't happen in the western world because we have some expectation of safety and working conditions. In a ideal world, we'd be manufacturing this sort of thing at home. Any form of economic prosperity in one area is balanced by a social or economic cost in another.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by spire3661 (1038968)
      Your 'in an ideal world' makes no sense. In an ideal world we wouldnt have to worry about petty nationalism. These things are made where they are because cost of labor is cheap there. If the ipad was made in America it would cost almost 25-50% more what it does now. That makes sense how?
      • by improfane (855034) *

        Why is it cheap there? Should it be? It's exploitation. Lack of safety makes it cheaper. Do you really think Apple cares?

        If that's not broken then I'm afraid to tell you what happens in the world because it won't make sense to you because cheaper is better, right?~

        • by Sir_Sri (199544)

          How is it exploitation? Cost of labour in india and china is cheap because they have huge, relatively under educated labour pools, poor access to jobs, etc. In short: they're poor. Labour is cheap, and they only way they will stop being less poor is if they get jobs and foreign investment, and frankly foreign ideas on how to actually be productive.

          Sure, china has less up to date (enforced) labour and safety standards than in the west. But 1: bad shit still happens here. And 2: they're 100 years behind

          • by hairyfeet (841228)

            Uhhh...because the corps can dump the toxic sludge that is created manufacturing electronics out the back door? For all the libertarian and right wing talk of globalization and free markets the ugly truth is the multinationals are creating toxic sites that will make the American superfund sites (which We, The People got stuck with the bill for after the corps walked away) look like a park your kids can play in.

            Look up "India river toxic" to see how big pharma is dumping so many bad batches of drugs into

            • by Sir_Sri (199544)

              Except pouring toxic sludge into the river isn't the only reason why they're there. No one sane manufactures anything in india (labour laws there are nuts, you'd have a hard time making any money). It's not like dell phone support is pouring toxic sludge into the ganges. My family in india make between 1/10th and 1/2 of what an equivalent worker in canada would. Labour *is* cheaper there. And I might note someone getting half of a canadian salary in india is doing pretty damn well*

              The truth, insofar as

      • Re:Broken society (Score:5, Informative)

        by h4rr4r (612664) on Saturday May 21, 2011 @11:27AM (#36201990)

        It would not cost anywhere near that much extra. Germans still make cars, reasonable priced ones. They have much higher labor rates than even Americans. Paying line workers is just not that big a cost in such an operation. I bet they save more than the labor savings just on being able to dump whatever they want into the environment.

        Either way, there is no reason why these products could not be built in China by 40 hour per week, well paid workers in safe working conditions. The ipad 3 might cost a whole $10 extra of you did that.

        • Nah, it really depends on how much labor is involved. Most of the actual work involved in building a car is done by robots, not by humans. That's why you can afford to do it in Germany, or America.

          Other industries, like textiles, are so labor intensive that even China is having trouble competing with their 'high' labor costs. A lot of textile manufacturers have moved to Cambodia, for example. So now Chinese can complain about outsourcing, too.
      • by mjwalshe (1680392)
        because heath and safety would inspect the plant to make sure dust wasn't building up - and make sure they arn't locking employees in the building which has cased fatalities before in china
    • dude that happened like last year, more than 20 people got killed

    • This probably wouldn't happen in the western world because we have some expectation of safety and working conditions. In a ideal world, we'd be manufacturing this sort of thing at home. Any form of economic prosperity in one area is balanced by a social or economic cost in another.

      People dying in accidents at work happens in the USA about 4000 times per year. So things do happen. They don't just happen, they happen every day. Quite likely that ten or more people died in work accidents in the USA on the same die.

      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        Yes, accidents do happen, but conditions change the rates quite dramatically. More than 100,000 Chinese people died in work related accidents every year.
        http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/7201875.stm [bbc.co.uk]

        Even if we say China has 4 times as many people, that only accounts for 16k deaths a year. Not even a quarter of the total.

        You are either being disingenuous intentionally, or are a complete moron, which is it?

        • by improfane (855034) *

          Were you replying to me? I like neither option of being disingenuous or being a moron...

          • by h4rr4r (612664)

            I was replying to gnasher719 who was suggesting that since we have 4000 accidental work related deaths in the USA clearly the Chinese are doing just fine when it comes to worker safety.

            He is either being disingenuous or is a moron.

            It is possible that while I appear to have replied to the correct post slashdot is once again broken. I am using the classic view though.

            • by fnj (64210)

              Your post looks like its replying to gnasher719 to me. Also the "parent" link leads to gnasher719. I agree slashdot's view can get squirelly.

        • by canajin56 (660655)
          Apples to oranges. The USA is about 10% construction, manufacturing, farming, and mining jobs. In China it is not nearly so low. Although working at Walmart or McDonalds or wherever, people are occasionally get shot, fall off ladders, get hit by delivery vehicles, or get crushed by falling prices/boxes, construction and manufacturing jobs nevertheless maintain a much higher fatality rate, not just per employee, but overall (One in four workplace deaths is by a construction worker, but they are nowhere n
      • by improfane (855034) *

        The question is whether it was an accident committed by human error or was it the factory itself where the plant was not safe to work in. Human error is probably pretty close between different nations.

        Working conditions here have steadily improved. If there were not laws to prevent it, managers would happily risk your life, give you lifelong debilitating conditions in the name of profit. My assumption was this was caused by the factory, perhaps negligence from maintaining it. In western countries you would

    • Any form of economic prosperity in one area is balanced by a social or economic cost in another.

      ?? Really? You believe in zero-sum? You can't have prosperity and freedom on all sides through cooperation and fair trade? I think we can.. if we want it...

      • by improfane (855034) *

        I believe in zero-sum because it's human nature to exploit rather than co-operate in large populations. Co-operation and alturism works in small groups and has a synergistic effect and is better than zero-sum. When you expand the numbers to huge disparate groups like countries and institutions (like business or government) it's back to biological zero-sum survival.

        It's like I see these adverts for investment management and types of trading all the time. Don't these people watching these graphs that constant

    • So the BP oil platform explosion didn't happen and killed nobody. It must be a conspiracy theory by the anti-Western propagandists. Thank you for telling us about that.

    • economics is not a zero sum game, where someone must lose so that someone else must win. economics is a more-for-everyone game. the chinese are enjoying more prosperity than they had before. you are assuming if they weren't manufacturing iPads their life would be better. compared to the usa, indeed, their life is worse, right now. but it would be even more worse without this plant

      the chinese are where the usa and great britain were in the 1800s. and they are already fighting for their rights, like workers i

      • by improfane (855034) *

        Economics in our modern society is zero sum because an exchange of goods does not actual reflect the value of labour added on either side. Its not a proper market, it's a market that has been constrained by vested interests.

        Globalisation would be nice if we were on the same side. Right now it's ruining the lives of many peple. I am sure there are plenty of countries that would appreciate no vested US interest that corrupts their governments and makes natural competition an impossibility.

        In an idealistic wor

        • the reason country (X) is not as rich as country (Y) is because country (X) has a value system and/ or government that is ineffective. part of the reason why things remain this way is that country (X) will invent imaginary stories about the evils of country (Y) rather than getting their fucking act together and taking some fucking responsibility for their sorry fucking attitude

    • by joh (27088)

      Right around the corner where I live yesterday two people died on a building site when a wall fell. Didn't get much news, though.

      • by improfane (855034) *

        Maybe the families could claim some kind of compensation, especially if it was negligence of the company maintaining the wall and not a personal mistake. :-(

    • by toby (759)

      This probably wouldn't happen in the western world because we have some expectation of safety and working conditions

      No longer true, after decades of deregularisation pushed by those who profit most from unsafe labour conditions, heedless environmental emissions, unsafe and toxic products, etc.

    • Workplace deaths happen in every country. Over three year period one large steelworks I worked in lost four people to forklifts, three to carbon monoxide and two to a steam explosion in a great big container full of molten steel and scrap. Bad as that is the construction and mining industries have much higher death tolls.
  • We demand that our toys be delivered quickly and at the lowest possible cost. We are not willing to pay a fair price for a product built by happy people earning a decent wage. You can blame Apple, Microsoft, Google or whichever company you choose but the blame rests squarely on our shoulders. Flame suit on.
    • No flame, you're right. Consumers want cheap everything, where it comes from be damned. Likewise shareholders want to see short term results, long term be damned.

    • Aren't Apple products always higher priced than their competitors products with nearly identical features? I look at most Apple product consumers as people that are willing to pay far more for less features than other similar products.

      • by jonnythan (79727)

        No, they're actually not. iPhone is priced the same as other premium cell phones. iPads are generally cheaper than roughly-equivalent pads from other manufacturers. Macbook Pros are about the same price as other high-end laptops from Lenovo and others for the same specs/form factor/battery life.

        • No, they're actually not. iPhone is priced the same as other premium cell phones. iPads are generally cheaper than roughly-equivalent pads from other manufacturers. Macbook Pros are about the same price as other high-end laptops from Lenovo and others for the same specs/form factor/battery life.

          I'm not sure where you get your pricing from, but the Apple prices I find always seem to be at least 25% higher than equivalent products. Apple should be able to provide their suppliers with more money to better take care of their workers and workers at their contractors factories. This should be obvious by looking at Apple's earnings the last few quarters. Maybe this is how Apple thinks differently now?

    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      I would be more than willing to pay 20% more, which is what one would be expecting based on other goods. I would even guess that at that point more automation would be used. Taco bell at least at one point was paying 1 cent per pound extra on tomatoes which resulted in farm workers nearly doubling their take home pay.

      Please tell me where I can spend my money to ensure I get "fair trade" computer components. I already buy first world made clothes, food made with the least amount of animal cruelty (I even hav

      • by tepples (727027)
        Perhaps the reason there are few to no sellers is that there aren't enough other people like you willing to buy such.
        • by h4rr4r (612664)

          So in every other market there are buying like me, but not in electronics?

          By the way, if you have never had pork that was raised the old fashioned way it is really great. Even better if they use a heritage breed. I highly suggest everyone seek out a farmer and buy a whole hog or split one with a neighbor.

      • Where do you get the first world clothes? Local farms are easy enough to find, at least part of the year.

    • " We are not willing to pay a fair price for a product built by happy people earning a decent wage. You can blame Apple, Microsoft, Google or whichever company you choose but the blame rests squarely on our shoulders. Flame suit on."

      The opposite is true, in a capitalist society, capitalism is a race to the bottom. If you're not exploiting someone some other company will move in and do everything you are not to squeeze out every last cent. The competition between companies ensures that good companies are p

    • by syousef (465911)

      We demand that our toys be delivered quickly and at the lowest possible cost. We are not willing to pay a fair price for a product built by happy people earning a decent wage. You can blame Apple, Microsoft, Google or whichever company you choose but the blame rests squarely on our shoulders. Flame suit on.

      What a bunch of horseshit!!!

      Please point me to the toys made by "happy people earning a decent wage". Where's the iPad-highWageEdition or the Android-WageFriendly phone?

      I don't get to choose what companies charge for their product, or how they treat their staff, or dictate other terms. I only get to choose which company i buy a product from and shop around for price. Sure, I can go without, but a large majority would need to do that, AND explain why AND be willing to buy more expensive gadgets before anythi

  • Just because (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mrcvp (1130257) on Saturday May 21, 2011 @11:14AM (#36201908)
    The worst thing about this story it that it would probably be unnoticed if it happened at any other factory in china. But now it's Foxconn and iPad 2 so now it's interesting.
    • The worst thing about this story it that it would probably be unnoticed if it happened at any other factory in china. But now it's Foxconn and iPad 2 so now it's interesting.

      On averge, Apple stories on Slashdot generate about 300 comments. Just for fun, take a look at the comment count on the non-Apple threads on the home page. Slashdot makes money from serving ads. What gets me is people actually take the summaries at face value and consider themselves 'informed', then they call for an iPad boycott to help FoxConn workers.

  • I think the interest in publishing these stories stems from the contrast between the death and hardship suffered on the workers' side, as opposed to the blatant enjoyment and consumerism of using non-essential things like iPads, portraying a sort of class gap intending to elicit feelings of guilt. I have a rooted Android tablet (nook color); therefore I am entitled to feel good, twice!
    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      How about instead of feeling useless guilt, you just be willing to pay a couple bucks more. Now point in feeling bad, just agree that you will be willing to toss in $5 extra for the Nook2 so these folks don't have to live like this.

      • How about instead of feeling useless guilt, you just be willing to pay a couple bucks more. Now point in feeling bad, just agree that you will be willing to toss in $5 extra for the Nook2 so these folks don't have to live like this.

        How is that supposed to work? Pay the extra $5 and they'll just put it in their pocket and keep using exploited labor.

    • No the interest in publishing these stories is Apple bashing. You hadn't noticed the 5-10 articles a day like this on /.? It's worse than the MS heyday.

  • Wait, didn't you mean "EXPLODEY at APPLE factory that only builds APPLE stuff and APPLE totally controls and really, really does not build stuff for anyone else and we're totally not just tying it to APPLE for page hits!"

  • by Anonymous Coward

    People died. It's not funny,

  • Who gives a darn? How many baby iPads were damaged? Will they survive? How are they doing and what are their prospects for recovery?

Take care of the luxuries and the necessities will take care of themselves. -- Lazarus Long

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