Mining Publication: Flyrock Issues in Blasting
Blasting operations are an essential element in the recovery of our Nation's mineral resources. The mining industry uses billions of pounds of explosives annually. The majority of blasting occurs in surface mining operations. Blasting results in the fragmentation and often the projection of rocks. Frequently, the rocks are thrown beyond the expected limits. Flyrock and failure to secure the blasting area dominate blasting-related accidents in mining, especially in surface mining. Blasting accidents in the mining industry tend to result in critical injuries or fatalities. Accident reports and information collected from the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) and other government agencies provide supporting evidence. According to the data collected, blasting-related accidents (in mining) were 11 times more severe than all other types of mining accidents. Blasting accidents are not unique to mining operations - the same situation exists in the construction field. In this paper the authors have compiled a list of the primary causes of flyrock and the failure to secure the blast area. In the next phase of this project, typical blasting scenarios will be reviewed which will highlight the main reasons flyrock and/or lack of blast area security occur. This will alert miners and construction workers to the current problems/hazards associated with blasting and to identify other safety measures to protect personnel.