EXPLOSIONS IN MINES – SYSTEMATIC FAILURE

World Mining Congress
In some parts of the world explosions in mines are more commonplace events. Even in the more developed nations explosions have occurred in recent times. In some cases these mines have significantly lowered their lost time injury frequency rates and as such considered themselves to be “safe” operations. The consequence of these explosions has been devastating. It is not just the loss of those underground, but also to the families that have lost people in them and the broader community that has lost friends, income, business opportunities, and in many cases support and sponsorships. It begs so many questions, “What went wrong?”; “Why were the circumstances not foreseen?”; “What could have been done to prevent it?”; “How is it that no one stopped it, reported it, fixed it etc.?”. Being held accountable for negligence, should not be overlooked, however this may not aid the processes required to find all the answers. If the nature of explosions is understood, the circumstances and tools to prevent them are readily available then the occurrence and reoccurrence are due to weaknesses or inadequacies of the systems of work or in the implementation of them. This paper restates the fundamentals of gas explosions, examines the options to control the underground environment through ventilation, gas management and monitoring, education and training. Case studies have been used to examine systematic failures in ventilation management. In some of these cases it is not so much, the system that had been developed, but the interpretation and implementation of the system that resulted in the failure and subsequent loss.
Keywords: Explosion; Mines; Mine; Ventilation; mixture; Fans; failures; Failure; failures;
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