The company involved, Qilu Tianhe Huishi Pharmaceuticals, had ordered maintenance work to be carried out on underground piping, which subsequently caused an explosion, according to local media reports.
It was reported that welding of the piping caused a heat-transferring substance to ignite, causing an explosion and resulted in 10 workers dying of smoke inhalation, with a further 12 suffering minor injuries.
The local city government of Jinan are investigating the causes of the accident.
Qilu Tianhe specialises in the production of generic drugs and active pharmaceutical ingredients, with the company noting on its website that all of its products have passed the Chinese GMP standard.
The company involved did not respond to a request for comment.
In 2015, a GlaxoSmithKline owned facility suffered an explosion in Tianjin, China. The situation led to the facility’s good manufacturing practice (GMP) certification being revoked by the UK’s regulatory body.
More recently, there was a national outcry after vaccines that were administered to children across the country were found to be improperly manufactured or substandard. The case led to a number of officials being dismissed.