Mining Publication: Blasting Safety - Revisiting Site Security
Significant progress has been made in reducing serious injuries and fatalities at mine blasting operations. Despite the progress, injuries and fatalities continue to occur. A leading cause of injuries and fatalities from blasting continues to be inadequate blast area security. Even though significant improvements in technology have been made, ensuring adequate blast area security remains a challenge and requires constant vigilance. The advances in technology have created safer blasting products and have improved productivity and economics by enabling large, more efficient and effective blasts. However, as blasts grow larger, the complexity of adequately securing the blast area increases even more. The fundamentals involved in blasting safety should be reviewed periodically, particularly for securing a blast site regardless of the size of the planned blast. Factors such as flyrock and toxic fumes must be taken into account to ensure the safety of persons and property from the results of a blast. This paper examines the factors related to injuries due to inadequate blasting shelters and blast area security and identifies mitigation techniques. The key concepts are (1) accurate determination of the bounds of the blast area, (2) clearing employees from the blast area, (3) effective access control, (4) use of adequate blasting shelters, (5) efficient communications, and (6) training. Fundamentals are reviewed with an emphasis on analyzing task elements and identifying root causes for selected blasting accidents. Mitigating techniques are presented along with discussions and examples.