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Title: A study of shotfiring in mines, with special reference to safety
Author: Campbell, A. H. H.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1959
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1. Although the hazard involved in the use and handling of explosives, expressed as persons killed or injured per million shots fired, is not high, the large number of shots fired annually results in a comparatively large number of accidents. 2. Shotfiring accidents may be divided into two main categories - those due to some failure of the explosive or ancillary equipment to attain perfection and those due to failure of the human element. Continued research and develop - :ment in explosives technology have resulted in a reduction in the former class but the latter type forms a large and increasing percentage of the annual total of accidents. 3. The statistical techniques developed by Wynn and used in this work provide a valuable means of representing graphically the significance of any differences existing between calculated 1 expectations and observed numbers of accidents. 4. Only two National Coal Board Divisions showed significant differences in accident rates from the rest of the country over the period for which figures were available. The Scottish Division was very much worse, and the North Eastern Division very much better than the average for the rest of the country. On the limited amount of information available, it appears that shots in locations other than coal seams or stone mines present a hazard greater than would be expected from the relative numbers fired in these situations. 5. Over half the annual total of shots fired in National Coal Board collieries are in coal, initiated by electric detonators and fired singly, and this class is still by far the most important in British coal mining practice. Simultaneous and delay firing offer potential safety as well as operational advantages, but no measure of these can be obtained with the limited information at present available. 6. Alternatives to explosives offer safety advantages over conventional explosives and should give corresponding benefits in a reduction in accidents. 7. Pulsed infusion shotfiring, in the comparatively limited circumstances in which it may be usefully employed, yields safety, operational and economic advantages over conventional shotfiring. 8. Limited evidence suggests that the use of water ampoules in conjunction with conventional explosives gives consistent reductions in the dust produced by shotfiring in rippings but widely variable figures have been recorded in the dust counts before and after the introduction of these devices in coal blasting operations. 9. Off -shift firing offers great potential advantages in comparison with conventional practice, and these are confirmed by the low accident rate in the North Eastern Division and the Central East Area of the Scottish Division. 10. The general standard of practice achieved in shotfiring is very much below the minimum required by law and demonstrated to the shotfirer in the training period. This is due to a combination of lack of effective supervision and the needs of production clashing with safety requirements. 11. In orthodox hand- filled longwall working when the coal preparation shots are fired on the production shift, the nature of the shotfirers work, with periods of great activity alternating with periods of comparative idleness, leads to carelessness and skimped precautions. 12. In orthodox longwall working, very limited shelter is available on the coal face, and it is frequently necessary to rely on cover which cannot possibly be considered satisfactory. 13. It is seen from the accident positions of the North Eastern, North Western and East Midlands Divisions that the provision of portable shelters in gate roads effects no sensible reduction in shotfiring accidents. 14. Although no satisfactory concrete explanati for the high shotfiring accident rate in the Scottish Division could be found, it is suggested that a combination of difficult natural conditions, making men more reluctant to retreat a sufficient distance from the shots and a national temperament not amenable to discipline might explain the difference between Scotland and the rest of the country.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available