The use of explosives in routine development blasting produces noxious gases, namely carbon monoxide, nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide. All gases are potentially harmful to workers, with inspectorates reporting several cases of ‘fuming’ per year. In order to mitigate the risk of workers being over come by fumes, acceptable safeguards and process should be put in place. Assisting mine workers in taking a diligent approach to the management of risks associated with blasting fumes.
Despite that fact that after blast re-entry times have been identified as one of the potential safety and health problems introduced by the advancement of mining technology (Fisher, 1995), insufficient research has been undertaken to establishing suitable productive after blast re-entry times in order to prevent worker exposure to potentially harmful blasting fumes. This apparent lack of scientifically based and repeatable means of determining re-entry times following blasting is a matter of serious concern.
The objective of this thesis is to further investigate the dilution characteristics these noxious gases produced in one or two discrete development headings, which are ventilated via auxiliary ventilation fans and face ducting, and determine suitable re-entry times. Additionally, monitoring and logging of fumes will continue during the course of mucking in an attempt to further understand fume behaviour during this process.
Through the use of portable gas monitoring equipment, auxiliary equipment and an established testing procedure a two week testing regime was conducted at Bhpbilliton’s Cannington Mine. During this time seven development firing tests and two mucking tests were completed.