Beijing calls for safety orders after Foxconn explosion

The recent Foxconn explosion has kick started a probe into safety measures from Beijing.

The Chinese government has said that Hon Hai, along with other Taiwanese companies, must pay more attention to safety.

The proposals have been introduced following the explosion at a workshop at Hon Hai’s Chengdu factory, which lead to the death of three workers and injuries of 15.

According to the WSJ Fan Liqing, spokeswoman for the State Council’s Taiwan Affairs Office has said Beijing hoped the company will “draw lessons from the accident.”

She hopes that as a result, the company will strengthen internal monitoring and take precautions to ensure safe production.

The opening of the can of worms will no doubt be welcome news to campaigners who have long expressed anxiety about the working conditions in many of the company’s plants. It does raise questions about what China is doing itself.

The war on poor working conditions at the factories, which makes products for Apple as well as HP and Sony has been raging for a while now.

Earlier this month campaigners held a candlelit vigil in Taipei, honouring Foxconn’s Shenzhen dead and calling for Cupertino get up to date with corporate responsibility.

The vigil, ignited by the Cold-Tech grassroots labour action group, was held to highlight the harsh treatment and poor conditions that workers at Foxconn endure, as well as to remember those who had committed suicide at the factory in Shenzhen.

Around the same time the Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour (SACOM) group also released a report claiming that Foxconn treated its workers like “machines”.

Of course, this was denied. But an interview with Foxconn boss Terry Gou last year showed otherwise when he was quoted as saying that a “a harsh environment is a good thing”, “hungry people have especially clear minds”, and “work itself is a type of joy.”

He has suspended production at polishing workshops such as where the accident occurred has released a statement claiming Hon Hai “shared commitment with the government to doing everything possible to ensure the health and safety of all Foxconn workers.”