USA Mine Explosion Summary

15/08/2013 - USA Mine Explosion Summary - Explosion

This research report examines 25 recent mine explosion disasters in the United States and in foreign countries. The official investigation reports of these disasters were consulted to understand and identify the main factors causing the explosions and steps that could have been taken to prevent them. Specifically, researchers focused on

the circumstances that led to each explosion

what monitoring systems had been in place to warn of the explosion hazards

what additional safeguards had been in place

where safeguards had failed

What best practices could be offered to mine management to prevent such explosions.

Common themes to these mine explosions are

Inadequate ventilation that leads to the accumulation of methane gas

Failure to monitor mine ventilation and to notice the methane accumulations

Inadequate inertization of explosive coal dust

Carelessness in the control of ignition sources, including explosives used for blasting, smoking materials and sparks from mechanical cutting.

Mine explosion hazards have been aggravated by the increasing amount of fine coal dust produced by highly mechanized mining equipment. Also, greater production rates tend to produce more methane that must be diluted by the ventilation system.