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Loader drives over blast explosives, watchdog calls for caution

blast, explosives, nsw, safety

Safe to Work takes a look at the safety incidents that occurred in the NSW mining industry in the month of April.


A heavy component was ejected from a drill rig at an underground metals mine in NSW, striking and seriously injuring a worker.

A driller’s offsider was struck in the face by an ejected component when climbing the stairs to access the drilling platform. The object is suspected to be the drill’s overshot, which is roughly 1800mm and 5–10kg in weight.

The overshot was stored in the drilling frame and made contact with the drilling head, which caused the component to fall and hit the worker.

The impact caused the worker to fall roughly 1.5m from the stairs of the drill platform. Unfortunately, the worker was left unconscious after the fall and suffered serious injuries.

The resources regulator is investigating the incident, with a report to be published at a later date.


A front-end loader operator ran over three explosive boosters while cleaning up on a shot at an open cut coal mine.

Typically made from a blend of TNT and PETN, boosters are sensitive explosive devices that act as an intermediary between a detonator and the explosive column. In other words, boosters are used to reliably trigger the main explosion in a blast hole.

The operator involved in the incident was taken through the task prior to starting by the blast supervisor and was directed to stay away from explosives on the ground.

However, the operator ended up driving over three boosters. No explosives were triggered during the incident.

“Workers have a legislative duty to care for their own health and safety and that of others,” the regulator said. “One of the duties is to cooperate with any reasonably policy or procedure.

“The traffic management plan for a shot floor should clearly identify travel routes so that trucks do not inadvertently drive along the incorrect path.

“Drivers should know the travel routes before entering the shot floor.”

The regulator also suggested using visible cues such as cones or signs to clearly identify usable tracks.

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