How to report explosives incidents

In an explosives emergency call 000 or the Explosives Emergency Hotline (1300 739 868). This includes any theft of explosives, any possibility of theft of explosives, if you suspect a theft of explosives, or if there is a break-in to an explosives storage facility, room or area.

Explosives incidents include misfires and events where an explosive is or seems to be lost, stolen or involved in accidental explosion, fire or spillage.

Under the Explosives Act, an 'authority holder' must notify the Chief Inspector of Explosives of any explosives incident resulting in loss of life, personal injury or property damage.

The authority holder may be the individual, company or partnership licensed to conduct an activity under their control and the safety management system or security plan when the incident occurs.

An explosives incident may involve:

  • a vehicle transporting ammonium nitrate that catches fire
  • explosives stolen or missing from a magazine
  • a misfire during an attempt to fire a shot.

It might also include:

  • flyrock when it comes to rest outside the exclusion zone
  • oxides of nitrogen, including:
    • when the visible cloud of NOx fume crosses the boundary of the exclusion zone
    • when a person within the exclusion zone is exposed to a visible cloud of NOx fume (e.g. in a safe haven or shelter)
    • after the exclusion zone has been cleared and people have re-entered the site and, due to the topography, holes or crevasses, contain dangerous concentration of NOx gases and personnel can enter those areas.

Incident reports

Incident reports give industry and regulators data that they can use to identify trends that may affect safety and security. Timely incident reporting enables the production of industry-wide alerts about safety and security issues, which help prevent similar incidents.

Prompt incident reporting is good practice and enables you to address safety and security deficiencies and share any learnings with industry and regulators.

It is important that incident reports are completed and sent promptly to the Explosives Inspectorate. See below for more information about reporting.

Requirements of safety management systems

All licence holders conducting explosives activities must have and use a safety management system (SMS). Part of this should be clear procedures for incident reporting.

An SMS should at least include a standard incident report form, incident reporting contact numbers, email addresses and a process to support the incident reporting system.

An SMS should also maintain a record of all incidents. This will include appropriate level investigations with recommendations and follow-up to ensure that recommendations are implemented.

An incident should trigger a review of process, the plant or equipment involved, and personnel training and interface.

Reporting explosives incidents

Initial advice

Immediately after the incident, call the explosives response number to advise what's happened.

The regulator must be aware of explosives incidents as soon as they happen so they can initiate an appropriate response, from confirming the incident issues to sending inspectors to the incident site.

Formal written advice

Shortly after, send an email (preferred), fax or letter to the Explosives Inspectorate. This should contain the telephone reporting details of the inspector you reported the incident to, and the date and time you reported it.

Reporting under multiple legislation

Mining and Petroleum and Gas (P&G) legislation may also cover the use of explosives at mine sites or on P&G tenures where it may be necessary to report to more than one inspectorate within the Safety and Health Division.

If you report an explosive incident to the Mines Inspectorate, P&G Inspectorate or Explosives Inspectorate, the incident report will be passed on by the receiving inspectorate to the other affected inspectorates.

So you may provide the single incident report to one inspectorate, who will ensure it's distributed within the Safety and Health Division.

However, if you also need to report the incident to the Queensland Police Service, Workplace Health and Safety Queensland, or another government department or agency, you'll need to provide separate advice to them.

The guidelines for reporting an incident are clear. However, if there is any doubt, you should submit an incident report to the Explosives Inspectorate.