* Official news agency updates toll to 75 dead, 185 injured
* Kunshan Zhongrong chairman, local regulators responsible
* Company ignored repeated warnings about dust blast risk
(Updates number of dead and injured, adds comments from
By Clare Baldwin
HONG KONG, Aug 4 Chinese officials have blamed
the chairman of a car parts factory in eastern China and local
regulators for safety breaches that led to the most deadly
industrial accident in a year, the official Xinhua news agency
reported on Monday.
The blast at the Kunshan Zhongrong Metal Products Co Ltd
factory in the city of Kunshan on Saturday killed at least 75
people and injured 185.
A preliminary investigation suggested the blast was
triggered by a flame lit in a dust-filled room, local government
officials said. Dust can be highly explosive when it is
suspended in air in the right concentrations, and is true even
of materials such as aluminium and iron that don't typically
Kunshan Zhongrong, which polishes aluminium wheels for
automakers including General Motors Co <GM.N), failed to
properly store dangerous goods, did not have appropriate
ventilation or dust removal systems, and had a substandard
electrical system, according to the government investigation
cited by Xinhua.
The factory also ignored prior warnings about dust, did not
have appropriate fire safety equipment and did not provide
safety training for workers, according to the report.
A senior official in charge of China's work safety
administration called the situation a "very serious dereliction
of duty," Xinhua reported.
Neither Kunshan officials nor executives from Kunshan
Zhongrong could be reached for comment.
General Motors said on Sunday that it had asked its main
Chinese supplier to find an alternative source of components
after the explosion.
The Detroit automaker issued a statement saying it bought
components from a company called "Dicastal" - which Zhongrong
works with. GM went onto say it had no direct dealings with
Zhongrong, which it described as a "Tier-2" supplier.
A GM spokeswoman in Shanghai said she had no information on
whether GM conducts safety inspections of production facilities
run by lower-tier suppliers with which they do not do business
Xinhua said previously that two company representatives had
been taken into police custody and that President Xi Jinping had
demanded a full inquiry into what happened and punishment for
It said on Monday that the State Council has approved a
special task force to investigate the accident and will soon
carry out nation-wide inspections on plants and their dust
control measures. It also said that authorities will draw up
comprehensive regulations and standards on dust control at
(Additional reporting by Fiona Li in BEIJING, Fayen Wong in
SHANGHAI and the Shanghai Newsroom.; Editing by Raju