|Katie Collom |||May 11, 2014 09:14 AM EDT|
(Photo : scmp.com)
Eighteen people were killed and three others were injured Sunday when a factory wall collapsed in eastern China's Shandong province, state news agency Xinhua reported.
Heavy rains that battered the area over the weekend were believed to have caused the walls of the factory, located in the city of Qingdao, to collapse.
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It was not immediately known what the factory produced, but reports said the 40 workers inside at the time of the collapse were all employees of a renewable energy company.
The event raises concerns in the global community regarding China's policies for worker safety.
China is the second largest economy in the world and experts believe it would overtake the US by the end of the decade. However, in its bid to continue rapid expansion, China has often sacrificed the well-being of its people and industrial accidents in recent years have pointed a finger at the low safety standards present in the country.
Most recently, a raging fire at the Jilin Baoyuanfeng Poultry Plant in northeast China left 120 people dead last June. Reports claimed that some factory doors were kept locked in order to prevent employees from stealing, which resulted in people being trapped within the building.
Qingdao also experienced a recent industrial tragedy when an oil pipeline exploded last November killing 62 people.
Victims of past industrial accidents have released statements saying that China's government prefers to focus on GDP growth and profit as opposed to proper safety standards for employees, resulting in generally low or non-existent security measures.
Government and corporations in China are also known to restrict coverage of these types of disasters in order to prevent wide-spread reactions in China and across the globe.
No statement has been released by the company running the factory where Sunday's collapse occurred, and officials have yet to issue any remarks regarding the incident.
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