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‘Ineffective’ blasting procedure ‘shakes’ underground employees

Kidston project
Kidston project

A subterranean explosion occurred without taking all reasonable safety precautions.

Authorities are trying to determine why explosives were detonated while three night shift workers were still underground at Genex Power’s Kidston Pumped Storage Hydro Project, 270km northwest of Townsville.

Workplace Health and Safety Queensland (WHSQ) launched an investigation into the 23 February 2024 incident, after an employee made an anonymous complaint three days after. WSHQ referred the matter to Resources Safety and Health Queensland (RSHQ).

“Stakeholders have also separately raised concerns with WHSQ about the psychosocial impact of the incident on workers,” a WHSQ spokesperson said according to the Australian Associated Press.

“The site suspended blasting operations for two days until interim controls were in place, under the guidance of RSHQ. Initial investigations show the clearance procedure that was undertaken to ensure all workers were clear in the tunnelling operations prior to blasting was not effective,” an RSHQ spokesperson added.

The Construction Forestry and Mining Employees Union revealed the three affected individuals were 300 metres beneath the surface when the blast occurred at just 30 metres underground.

“[They] felt rumblings … [and were] mentally shaken up,” regional workplace health and safety coordinator Mick Robinson said according to the newswire agency.

No deaths or injuries were reported at the time of publication.

Inspectors will visit the site for further investigations.

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  • Safety of personnel is paramount.

    In UK we experienced an unplanned detonation on a night shift in the power house cavern at Glendoe Hydro Scheme, when the cat 330 operator with the breaker, came in contact with an undetonated base charge of around 7.5 kg, went off, ?scattering rock all around the cavern.

    2 joiners working at the crane level fell off the scaffold in shock

    Fortunately no one was seriously injured.

    Always check for misfires

    The time is well spent.