QLD unveils new blasting guidelines

Queensland has developed a series of blasting guidelines following a number of blast fume events.

t follows the establishment of a tri-partite steering group to create the new guidelines after miners were exposed to toxic blast fume gases at BMA’s coal mines.

The group was made up of government, industry and union representatives.

Mines minister Stirling Hinchliffe said that the improved health and safety procedures will assist in minimising fume events.

“While all explosions generate gases and it’s accepted that post-blast fume events will never be fully eliminated, the new shot-firing guidelines will aid in better management of the events during blasting operations,” he said.

The steering group’s recommendations for the new guidelines included: new guidance for the preparation of blasting operations and exclusion zones with a focus on weather conditions; the use of improved nationally approved blast management competencies by operators; standardised investigations protocols for more consistent recording of data from fume events; and a series of fume event awareness seminars over the coming months.

The Queensland Government’ Safety in Mines Testing and Research Station (Sitmars) will also play a role.

“Sitmars is seeking a grant under the ACARP to study the use of ‘differential optical absorption spectroscopy’ for the analysis of blast plumes,” Hinchliffe said.

“This technique uses natural light to measure mine gas plumes remotely and measure moving target plumes.”

Hinchliffe went on to say that the steering group will continue to monitor and analyse fume event data until March 2012.

“There will also be ongoing discussions with mining companies and explosives manufacturers to ensure best practice in the use of explosives in mining.”

The guidelines will be implemented from 1 July.

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