Lightning strike sparks tyre explosion

Mining companies have been urged to review their severe weather and lightning triggered action response plans (TARPS) after a tyre explosion occurred at a Queensland coal mine.

The Queensland Mines Inspectorate was unable to release more details about the mine as investigating was still ongoing.

It was alerted to the explosion that occurred during stormy conditions on December 23.

The position 5 tyre of a truck in the mine’s park-up was struck by lightning during the thunderstorm, causing it to explode, as observed by one of the site’s workers.

Two workers received injuries requiring first aid treatment as they were taking refuge in crib huts, a place of safety during severe storm conditions.

The explosion also caused damage, with concussion and tyre fragments from the blast shattering crib hut windows and dislodging air conditioners, lights and water tanks from their fixtures.

The Queensland Mines Inspectorate recommended that mining companies assess the most appropriate methods of protecting workers from tyre explosions and measures to prevent lightning strikes to equipment at park-up locations.

“Mines should review their severe weather or lightning TARPS that manage the risk to coal mine workers from rubber tyred mobile plant during lightning storms,” the Queensland Mines Inspectorate stated.

“Rubber tyred mobile plant cannot be considered as a place of safety during a lightning storm. Care must be taken where these vehicles are parked during a lightning storm so as not to create a hazard for coal mine workers, buildings or structures.”

Tyre explosions have injured and killed mine workers in the past, with an explosion at another Queensland site claiming a worker’s life in 2017.

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