Electricity a big factor in explosions

A KEY risk control in preventing explosions underground is explosion-protected electrical plant, New South Wales director of mine safety operations Rob Regan told the annual electrical engineering safety seminar last week.
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NSW chief inspector Rob Regan.

Lou Caruana

Entitled “Zero harm is no accident”, Regan’s presentation also called for purposeful planning and electrical engineering to achieve safety standards in underground mines.

“Gas and dust explosions are catastrophic risk events,” he said.

“Electricity is a significant source of ignition.”

Regan said safe work outcomes could be achieved by controlling the physical work environment in mines and workshops through competent people, fit for purpose plant and equipment, and safe systems of work.

He said the NSW Mine Safety Operations Branch assisted by overseeing and keeping up to date with engineering standards, process design and manufacture.

It also investigates problem technology and the design, manufacture and maintenance processes, and systems.

“It communicates the lessons and encourages best practice standards,” he said.

Electrical energy was the third highest contributor to underground coal incidents from 1990-2000, accounting for 1746 incidents in that time.

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