The Explosives Regulations 2015

The Explosives Regulations were published in 2015 in Government Gazette 38970 (see a post on Explosives Regulations Amendment 2016).

These regulations come into effect on 10 October 2015, 3 months after its publication.

You can download a copy of the Explosives Regulations here.

Changes to the Explosives Regulations

There have been numerous additions made to the Explosives regulations. The old content has not been eliminated, but rather drastically updated in order to place more emphasis on the dangers associated with doing explosives-related work.

Definitions

The following definitions have been added to the Explosives Regulations:

  • Blasting holes;
  • Hot holes;
  • Old explosives;
  • Permitted explosives;
  • Ore-body;
  • Primer;
  • Pumpable explosives;
  • Sleep-over blast;
  • Stemming;
  • Tamping.

The following definitions have been amended to read slightly simpler:

  • Initiate;
  • Manufacture;
  • Primary blasting;
  • Secondary blasting.

No definitions have been removed at this stage.

Additions to the Explosives Regulations

There have been some additions to the regulation that are explained below:
Regulation 4.9 deals with precautions that the employer must take after charges have been initiated. There is 30 minute minimum time period that is imposed before any person may approach within the range of exploding charges. In this clause, the employer must ensure that the designated competent person performs his/her duties correctly.

Regulation 4.10 is a new regulation that details the precautions that an employer must take when initiating by means of electricity. Again, the employer must ensure that the designated competent person performs his/her duties correctly, which are expressed in detail throughout 4.10. The employer must also ensure that the correct measures are taken where a thunderstorm or lightning could pose a threat.

Regulation 4.11 is a new regulation that deals with the precautions that an employer must take for misfires, sockets and old explosives. It provides a requirement for certain sketches to be made and kept for at least 7 days. Provision is also made for consultation with the explosives manufacturer before certain actions are taken.

Regulation 4.15 is a new regulation that specifies that the employer must take measures to ensure that the mass or amount of explosives used per shot hole is according to the manufacturer’s or supplier’s recommendations.

Regulation 4.16 is a new regulation that contains general precautions that an employer must take. It also details specific precautions that must be taken with different types of mines. Written procedures are required in certain situations.

Regulation 4.17 is a new regulation that, among other things, requires that risk assessments are done when drilling or blasting a shot hole into any subterranean tunnel. A copy of this risk assessment must be provided to and approved by the Principal Inspector of Mines.

Regulation 4.18 is a new regulation that prescribes that any case of gassing receives prompt medical attention.

Competent Person

Regulations 4.4(1) and 4.4(3) both make reference to a competent person. Chapter 22 of the Mine Health and Safety Regulations has accordingly been amended in order to address this:

A Competent Person for Explosives

22.4.1(1) For purposes of:

  1. Regulation 4.4(1) “competent person” means a person who is in charge of workmen in a working place at the mine and who is the holder of a certificate or qualification recognised by the Department for this purpose, valid for the class of mine to which the mine belongs.
  2. Regulation 4.4(3) “competent person” means a person who:
    (a) has been assessed and found competent against a skills programme recognised by the MQA for this purpose; or
    (b)  (i) is qualified by virtue of his/her knowledge, training, skills and experience to perform the activities contemplated in regulation 4.4(3); (ii) is familiar with the provisions of regulation 4 which apply to the work to be performed by the person; and (iii) has been trained to recognise any potential or actual danger to health or safety that may arise from the work to be performed by the person.”

Impact of the changes to the Explosives Regulations

It can be seen that the changes have made the regulation far more comprehensive than before. There is very little ambiguity left as to the interpretation of the regulations.

Hopefully this makes compliance easier and that we therefore see a drop in explosive-related incidents on our mines.

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