The accident happened at a quarry operated by the Longshan Cement Company in Yingde, a city in Guangdong Province, as workers were unloading explosives from the last of three trucks.
Together the trucks were carrying a total 13 tonnes of explosives. Workers had already unloaded six tonnes of explosives when the blast occurred.
The powerful explosion shattered dozens of windows in a nearby township across the river, causing minor injuries to nine villagers, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
Eight company workers, the driver of the truck and a security guard were killed in the incident. The 18 injured people comprised of nine Langshan employees and the remaining were residents of the nearby town.
The city set up an emergency response team and asked experts to remove the unexploded explosives.
The cause of the explosion was not immediately known but it has been speculated that China?s rapid economic growth, in combination with poor safety measures, frequently results in deadly industrial accidents.
Safety standards are regularly flouted in China and workplace accidents remain common, despite repeated pledges by the local government to improve regulations.
In early August, an explosion ripped through a family-owned lock workshop operating illegally in eastern Zhejiang province, killing 13 people and injuring 14.
In June, explosions ripped through two fireworks factories – at least one operating illegally – killing 14 people and injuring 13.
Source: Aggregates Research, Eastday, MI News, Hindustan Times, Agence France-Presse