Drill & Blast

Industry body promotes improved safety, security of explosives

The Australasian Explosives Industry and Safety Group (AEISG) was originally formed in 1994 as the Australian Explosives Manufacturers Safety Committee.

In 2004 a formal constitution was developed, and the association was formally incorporated under the New South Wales Associations Incorporation Act.

Since formation AEISG membership has expanded to include all significant explosives manufacturers and suppliers in Australasia.

The membership includes (but is not limited to): Applied Explosives Technology; BME Australia-Asia; Davey Bickford Enaex Australia; Downer EDI Mining-Blasting Services; Dyno Nobel Asia Pacific; Hanwha Mining Services Australia; Johnex Explosives; Maxam Australia; Nitro Sibir Australia; Orica Australia; Platinum Blasting Services; Redbull Powder Company; Solar Mining Services; and Thales Australia.

AEISG’s company members elect a committee chairman on an annual and rotational basis, and employ a chief executive officer and an industry liaison officer to progress the group's activities.

Its primary goal is to continuously improve safety and security throughout the manufacture, transport, storage, handling and use of explosives and their precursors (eg ammonium nitrate, ammonium nitrate emulsions) in Australasia.

The roles of AEISG and its members have been incorporated into its constitution, ie to:

  • Create an environment for open exchange of opinions/ideas on explosives industry matters.
  • Disseminate information about explosives industry issues (eg accidents, incidents, security, environmental, technological advances in safety and security).
  • Represent the explosives industry nationally and internationally to regulatory bodies on safety, security and other matters.
  • Liaise with national and international organisations to progress improved safety and security in the explosives industry.
  • Develop and promote industry Codes of Practice (minimum acceptable standards).
  • Promote consistency in legislation covering the explosives industry.
  • Promote community perception of a competent and responsible industry. In undertaking the above roles, AEISG members hold meetings four times per year, with further meetings to address specific technical issues as necessary, including the Codes of Practice. Further, AEISG, through the CEO or member representatives, is represented on national and international regulatory meetings where it can provide input to effective outcomes on safety and security issues involving explosives. The current AEISG Codes of Practice include:
  • Blast guarding in an open-cut environment. The use of explosives to break rock is an intrinsically hazardous process. On a mine or quarry site the potential hazards are increased by the need to manage the blasting procedure to protect personnel, contractors and the public from exposure to foreseeable, if unintended, adverse consequences of a blast. This code provides practical guidance on meeting regulatory requirements on explosives and mine/quarry safety.
  • Mobile processing units (MPUs). This code sets out requirements for the design and operational management of MPUs used in the manufacture and blast-hole delivery of explosives in surface and underground blasting.
  • Ammonium nitrate emulsions, suspensions or gels. This code sets out requirements and recommendations to control the risks (to people and to the environment) arising from the storage, handling (including transfer operations), transport and security of ammonium nitrate emulsions, suspensions and gels conforming to UN3375. These materials are collectively referred to in this code as ANEs.
  • Prevention and management of blastgenerated nitrous oxide (NOx) gases in surface blasting. These guidelines assist the safe use of explosives in situations where a specific additional hazard may arise due to the generation of NOx within the post-blast gases.
  • Elevated temperature and reactive ground. This code aims to enhance the safety of explosive suppliers and their customers when handling explosives and charging in elevated temperature and/or reactive ground conditions.
  • Segregation barriers for transporting mixed loads of detonators and high explosives. The code covers the safe and secure transport of explosives as per as the Australian Explosives Code (AEC) and provides additional guidance to satisfy the segregation requirements outlined in chapter seven of the AEC regarding transportation of detonators and other high explosives on the same vehicle.
  • On-bench practices for open-cut mines and quarries. This code has been developed to provide practical guidance for those on-bench activities that must be considered as part of the risk assessment process, and during the development of a safety management plan and associated operating procedures and work instructions.

Such codes are developed, with both industry and regulatory input, to establish acceptable safety and security requirements in the handling of explosives, and AEISG members are committed to following such requirements. Some have either been adopted into legislation or accepted as “approved codes” by regulators.

While these codes are, and remain, copyright, AEISG makes them freely available on its website – at aeisg.org.au – for use by any interested parties. The AEISG is always keen to receive constructive comments on improving any of its codes.

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