Mining Publication: Dangers of Toxic Fumes from Blasting
This paper reviews the potential hazards posed by the toxic fumes produced by detonating explosives in surface mining and construction operations. Blasting operations produce both toxic and nontoxic gaseous products; the toxic being mainly carbon monoxide (CO) and the oxides of nitrogen (NOx). The quantity of toxic gases produced by an explosive is affected by formulation, confinement, age of the explosive, and contamination of the explosive with water or drill cuttings, among others. Techniques to protect workers and the public from the potential hazards of explosive-related toxic fumes are discussed. These include: 1. Minimizing the quantity of toxic fumes produced. 2. Determining where the fumes may go so workers and neighbors can be moved out of harm's way. 3. Preventing the fumes from moving towards workers and neighbors. 4. Monitoring the air near workers and neighbors so they can be relocated if fumes appear. 5. Ventilating structures or confined spaces until CO falls below a hazardous concentration.