According to a report by the Wall Street Journal published late Monday, Foxconn has closed all of its workshops across China that deal with the polishing of electronic parts and products. According to a spokesman for the company, the closure could last up to two days. “The workshops could be back online as soon as they pass the test,” the WSJ reported him as saying. Foxconn produces products for many of the world’s biggest electronics companies, including Apple, Sony, Nintendo and HP.
The workshop closures come as a result of Friday’s explosion at Foxconn’s Chengdu factory, located in China’s rural interior, in which three workers were killed. Fifteen others were injured. The factory remains closed while an investigation and safety checks are carried out. The cause of the accident is thought to be related to a build-up of combustible aluminium dust inside a polishing workshop. The closure of the company’s workshops increases the likelihood of problems occurring with the global supply of many electronic goods.
As the WSJ states, with the workshops closed, a bottleneck will likely occur, disrupting the entire manufacturing and assembling process. According to DigiTimes, output of the iPad 2 could be affected by around 30 percent, though this estimation came before news that Foxconn was closing all of its polishing workshops for safety checks.
The spokesman for the Taiwan-based company promised to make public the findings of its investigation into the cause of Friday’s explosion. “Our focus now is on providing support to the families of the deceased employees and ensuring that the injured employees have all the medical care and other support that they require,” he said.
The company is rarely out of the news – the company recently got its workers to sign a “no suicide” contract following the deaths of 14 employees over the last two years. In July 2010, 250 workers at a Foxconn factory in India were taken to hospital suffering from pesticide poisoning, and in June, also last year, an employee died from exhaustion following a reported 34-hour shift for the company.