According to The Wall Street Journal, “A Chinese auto-parts factory where at least  workers were killed in a weekend explosion was known for high levels of dust and excess overtime, according to current and former workers, who described intense pressure to supply parts for a fast-growing industry.”Along with the 75 deceased workers, an estimated 186 were injured. The combustible dust that caused the incident was a byproduct of the metallic parts produced at the facility. Although the dust is a standard aspect of metal parts production, a buildup of the dust signals pollution related to unsafe factory conditions.
Potentially toxic dust can ignite. An unexpected catch in the metal dust is believed to be the reason for the Aug. 3 explosion.
The incident has prompted Chinese officials to look closely at other manufacturing facilities. Most production plants that deal with metal — especially those producing aluminum and magnesium — will be flagged for temporary closing.
Reuters adds, currently, “China has suspended work at more than 200 factories in an eastern province for safety checks as part of a nationwide review following an explosion at an auto parts plant that killed 75 people, government officials and state media said.”
It is unclear how, if at all, this temporary shutdown will impact the global auto industry; currently, the downtime is scheduled to last at least two weeks as inspectors look into potential hazards at auto-related plants and metal factories.
China plays a major role as a supplier and manufacturer to car companies around the world.
Huffington Post notes, “The factory involved in Saturday’s blast is operated by the Kunshan Zhongrong Metal Products Company, which according to its website was set up in 1998 and has registered capital of $8.8 million. Its core business is electroplating aluminum alloy wheel hubs, and it supplies General Motors and other companies.”