Fire erupts from QLD exploration drill rig

A fire has broken out from the compressed air system on a UDR 1000 reverse circulation drill rig during an exploration activity in Queensland.

The fire caused serious burns to a worker’s face, arm, chest and back, but his eyes were protected by safety glasses.

Early findings of the investigation suggested that the screw compressor air receiver was over-pressurised.

This caused a pressure relief valve to operate and detached the fluid return hose on the wet side of the air receiver.

The Queensland Mines Inspectorate also found that the fluid return hose fitting was located near the hot engine components.

As the compressed air and oil are released from the air receiver, a fire was ignited by the hot engine exhaust.

“OEM (original equipment manufacturer) operation and servicing manuals were not used or available on site,” the inspectorate stated.

“Plant was operated in a way that created an unacceptable level or risk.

“Plant controls (also) did not bring the plant to a safe state when the plant was operated outside of its design parameters.”

The inspectorate advised site senior executives to confirm that a competent person inspect and maintain high pressure air systems for drill rigs according to OEM recommendations.

They must also consider applying air system monitoring and protection devices, including temperature and pressure sensors, to make certain a correct operation and adequate maintenance, according to the inspectorate.

The inspectorate will publish further information in due course while an investigation is ongoing.

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