Mining Publication: A Summary of Fatal Accidents Due to Flyrock and Lack of Blast Area Security in Surface Mining, 1989 to 1999
This paper summarizes flyrock and blast area security fatalities from 1989 to 1999 and examines the causative factors. Coal and nonmetal mining used about 43 billion pounds of explosives and blasting agents between 1989 to 1999. A majority of this consumption was used at surface mines. Accident data indicate that flyrock and lack of blast area security were the primary causes of blasting related injuries in surface mining. Fatal injuries due to lack of blast area security were attributed to: failure to clear blast area; failure to follow instructions; inadequate guarding; inadequate blasting shelter; and unsafe location. Seven fatalities due to flyrock and lack of blast area security were reported in surface coal mines and six in nonmetal mines. Out of these, two fatalities (one each in coal and nonmetal mines) occurred outside the mine property. In the coal mining sector, two fatalities were attributed to flyrock, and five to lack of blast area security. In the nonmetal mining sector, three fatalities were attributed to flyrock, and three to lack of blast area security. Preventive measures include: ensuring that all personnel have evacuated the blast area. during shot firing; using adequate blasting shelters for employees whose presence is required in the blast area; controlling and monitoring all entrances to the blast area; ensuring that the blast is properly designed, drilled, and loaded; and emphasizing education and training to enhance skill levels for implementation of engineering control techniques.