Workers in a Shanghai factory that builds iPads claim that Apple came and inspected the plant just hours before an explosion rocked the factory and injured 61 people. Reportedly, the employees were asked to clean up any dust before Apple’s white-gloved inspectors came through the plant. Oddly enough, it was that dust — the aluminum shavings that are created during the iPad’s polishing process — that led to an explosion just a few hours later.
According to NPR, which interviewed 25 employees of the Pegatron-owned plant, workers were asked not to speak to inspectors. Factory workers told NPR that the inspectors spent just 10 minutes in the area where the explosion occurred later.
“I lost consciousness for a few seconds,” He Wenwen, an iPad machine calibrator, told NPR. “Later, when I opened my eyes, I saw dense smoke and fire everywhere. I felt scared, really scared. I could hear people crying and screaming.” Reportedly, dust is such a problem in the factory that workers have to wear face masks and the air can become so contaminated by the aluminum dust that it begins to look like fog, despite the factory’s vacuum systems at each work station.
Apple reportedly paid each injured worker $800 in compensation and visited to check on each worker’s injuries. A second explosion also occurred in one of Foxconn’s iPad manufacturing plants. 18 workers were injured and four died in that incident.