Mining Publication: Fatal Accidents Due to Flyrock and Lack of Blast Area Security and Working Practices in Mining
Coal and nonmetal mining used about 4.3 billion lb of explosives and blasting agents during 2001 in the United States. A major part of this consumption was related to surface mining. Accident data from the Mine Safety and Health Administration indicate that flyrock and lack of blast area security were the main causes of blasting-related injuries in surface mining. Fatal injuries due to lack of blast area security were caused mainly by failure to clear the blast area or inadequate access control to the blast area. In one instance at a coal mine, a neighbor walked into the blast area and was fatally injured. The blaster could not see the victim entering the blast area from the firing station. In another case, a passenger in a vehicle was fatally injured by flyrock because highway traffic was not monitored during the blast. In another example, a dozer operator entered a blast area due to lack of access control. Several deaths resulted from using inadequate or no blasting shelter. A crane operator was fatally injured while standing in the open about 120 ft from the blast site. In another instance, a helper, standing about 150 ft away from the edge of a blast, was fatally injured by flyrock. At a limestone mine, an equipment operator was fatally injured while guarding access roads in a pickup truck. This paper briefly describes six representative fatalities due to flyrock or lack of blast area security in coal and nonmetal mines. Several mines were visited to collect information relative to work practices aimed at mitigating blasting hazards. Salient information obtained through these visits is presented.