Qld explosion triggers safety concerns

AN INCIDENT in Queensland that led to three detonators inside a steel coal stacker exploding has prompted calls from state regulators to make equipment and vehicles free from explosives.

Lauren Barrett

According to a report issued by the Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation, the explosion occurred at an unidentified scrap metal yard when a steel coal stacker was being dismantled.

The operator was using oxy cutting equipment when three of the six detonators inside the coal stacker exploded.

While the operator was showered with blast fragments, the use of protective clothing prevented any serious injuries.

To avoid a repeat of the incident, the Queensland Explosives Inspectorate has recommended all plant, equipment and vehicles used in connection with explosives be certified free from explosives when being decommissioned.

The inspector also suggested the blast area and associated equipment be certified free from explosives upon disposal.

Meanwhile, concerns have been raised about the security of explosives in the state, following reports that a security access card was made available to others, providing unauthorised access to a facility of security sensitive explosives.

The inspectorate labelled the act a “serious breach of security” and recommended licence holders check their records to ensure their security access systems had not been breached.

Frequent audits and reviews of security systems were also suggested.

The inspectorate said unsupervised access to security-sensitive explosives should be managed so systems matched up to the person with the access card, which should then record the official date and time of the card’s use.