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Foxconn confirms third death from explosion, earlier watchdog report points at aluminum dust (updated)

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Following the tragic explosion at Foxconn's Chengdu plant on Friday, the company has now confirmed to All Things Digital the death of a third employee, with nine remaining in hospital. While investigation is still ongoing, initial findings are pointing at "an explosion of combustible dust in a duct" at one of the polishing workshops, which supports earlier rumors of dust explosion; though there's no confirmation on what caused the ignition just yet.

In related news: two weeks before the fatal accident, watchdog group SACOM released a report on the welfare of workers at the new Chengdu plant. Amongst the uncovering of management issues, excessive working hours, and hazardous environment, PC World highlights complaints from workers about the large amount of aluminum dust -- which is highly explosive -- floating around the polishing department, thus suggesting a lack of proper dust extraction methods within the facility. Foxconn has previously slammed this report, but the outcome of this explosion's investigation should once and for all prove who's telling the truth. For now, though, the priority is to make sure the victims and their families are taken care of.

Full statement from Foxconn after the break.

Update: According to China Times' industry sources, the explosion has only affected some storage facilities and chemical coating lines, though Foxconn president Terry Gou is said to be reallocating some production to his Shenzhen plant as a just-in-case measure.

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Statement from Foxconn Technology Group

Update on the Tragic Accident at Foxconn Technology Group's Hongfujin Precision Electronics (Chengdu) Co. Facility

Foxconn can confirm that, sadly, a third employee has died from injuries from the May 20 explosion at one of the polishing workshops at our company's Hongfujin Precision Electronics (Chengdu) Co. Ltd. facility in Chengdu.

Fifteen other employees were injured in that accident and six of those employees have been treated and released from the hospital. Foxconn is working with medical professionals and the local government to ensure that all of the injured employees receive the highest quality medical treatment. Our condolences go out to the families of the deceased employees and they are being given the full support of the company. Our thoughts are also with the injured employees and their families who are also being given the full support of our company at this very difficult time.

The cause of this tragic accident is still being investigated by a joint investigation task force led by government officials and law enforcement authorities, but that task force has communicated initial findings that the accident was caused by an explosion of combustible dust in a duct. Foxconn is cooperating fully with all relevant government bodies to carry out a full investigation into the specific root cause of the accident and the company is taking all necessary actions to ensure the safety of employees at this and all other production facilities.

All operations at the affected workshop remain suspended and production at all other workshops that carry out similar processing functions have also been halted pending the results of the investigation into the cause of the Chengdu accident. All other production operations in our facilities in China continue operating normally.

Foxconn Technology Group will provide updates on this tragic accident as information becomes available.

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