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Flyrock incident damages vehicles during blast

flyrock incident at NSW quarry
A blasting incident resulted in flyrock contacting light vehicles

The NSW Resources regulator has released details of a flyrock incident that occurred at a NSW quarry last year where flyrock from overburden blast struck three light vehicles in an exclusion zone during blasting at the quarry. The incident was unreported to the Regulator for several months.

There were no injuries in the flyrock incident, however, workers and members of the public who were in the exclusion zone at the time of the incident were at risk of being seriously injured.

Details of the mine

Burgess Earthmoving Pty Ltd operates Albury Quarry, 10 kilometres northeast of Albury,

flyrock from blasting at quarry
Photograph 1: Flyrock moving through the air following the blast. Photograph obtained from video footage supplied to
the NSW Resources Regulator

NSW. The quarry uses a conventional drill and blast operation to extract aggregates, rocks and road base. Hamiltons Blasting Services Pty Ltd provide blasting services at the quarry under contract. The contractor offers blasting and associated services to Victoria, New South Wales, and South Australia.

The flyrock incident

The Regulator said that a routine overburden blast was initiated at Albury Quarry on 10 April 2018. The contractor undertook the blasting preparations and conducted the blast. The contractor estimated the blast exclusion zone for personnel to be 400 to 500 metres from the blast site.

Preliminary enquiries have identified that mine workers and members of the public were between 300 and 340 metres from the blast location. Flyrock from the blast travelled through the air and damaged three light vehicles parked a short distance away from people. Seven people were at risk of being struck by flyrock. The cause of the ejection of the flyrock has not been determined at this time.

The incident was brought to the attention of the NSW Resources Regulator on 7 September 2018. This was outside the statutory reporting period required by legislation.

Flyrock incident investigation

The NSW Resources Regulator has commenced an investigation to determine the cause and circumstances of the incident.

The investigation will also examine the late reporting of the incident. An investigation report will be prepared for the Secretary of the Department of Planning and Environment.

Safety observations

Mine operators are reminded of their duty to identify hazards and manage risks to health and safety associated with explosives and shot-firing activities in accordance with the provisions of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (NSW), Work Health and Safety (Mines and Petroleum Sites) Act 2013 (NSW) and regulations.

There is specific legislation about the management of risks associated with explosives. Persons conducting a business or undertaking should be aware of clauses 26 and 31 and Schedule 2 of the Work Health and Safety (Mines and Petroleum Sites) Regulation 2014.

Mine operators must ensure that appropriate information, instruction and supervision is provided to workers and members of the public in relation to exclusion zone requirements set out in blast control plans.

Mine operators are reminded that appropriate systems must be in place to review and audit the explosives control plan and blasting work practices to ensure that exclusion zone requirements are enforced. No persons should remain within exclusion zones during blasting activities.

Dangerous incidents must be reported to the NSW Resources Regulator in accordance with section 15 of the Work Health and Safety (Mines and Petroleum Sites) Act 2013 and regulations.

Further information Please refer to the following guidance materials:

  • IIR17-08 Flyrock incident at open cut coal mine
  • Explosives Act 2003 ? Explosives Regulation 2013
  • Blasting explosives users license

The original document is available on the NSW Resources Regulator’s site

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