Safety evaluation of blasting flyrock risk with FAT method

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Safety evaluation of blasting flyrock risk with FAT method

    ;Safety Evaluation of Blasting Flyrock Risk with FTA Method

     ZHOU Zilong, LI Xibing, LIU Xiling & WAN Guoxiang

    (School of Resources and Safety Engineering, Central South University, Changsha 410083, Hunan, China)

Abstract: Accidents caused by flyrock are commonly faced problems of blasting. These accidents usually have detrimental effects on people and equipments in

    form of injury, disability or fatality, equipment breakdowns, etc. However, the evaluation of the flyrock accidents is always based on experiences, which varies

    from person to person. In this study, the fault tree analysis (FTA) method is proposed as a tool to analyze the risk associated with blasting flyrock. The flyrock

    accident is considered as a combination of events and relations components, and the fault trees are established to delineate the interrelationships of these

    components. Using the minimum cut set technique, the most critical and vulnerable component in the flyrock accident is identified. It is found that

    strengthening the operation supervision is the most effective measure to prevent the flyrock accident in blasting. Keywords: flyrock; safety evaluation; FTA method; minimal cut set

1 Introduction

    In both the mining and construction industries, blasting is the predominant method for fragmentation. The flyrock accidents in [1-3]blasting are one of the major problems in demolition accidents. Although their occurrence is usually considered to be a part of blasting activities, their sequences can be problematic. Apart from the costs due to overtime work, rework, equipment breakdown,

    structure damage, compensation and hospitalization, the tragedies usually lead to personal injury, disability, and even the fatality. The [4]statistical data in China show that almost 27% of demolition accidents were caused by flyrock. The investigations in U. S. surface [5,6]mining show a value of 25%, and the Indian mines show a proportion of 20%. So it is important to study the reasons of flyrock and to seek counter measures. However, for the complicated mechanism, the flyrock is generally considered with experience in

    practice. Recently, some studies have been carried out to show that the major causes of flyrock are inadequate burden, inadequate

    stemming length, drilling inaccuracy, excessive power factor, unfavorable geological conditions (open joints, weak seams, cavities), [3-8]inappropriate delay timing and sequence, back break and loose rock on top of the bench ect.. And some researches show that [9,10]unreasonable or inaccurate delays lead to blasting accidents too. In this paper, the potential reasons of flyrock are specialized firstly, and then a risk analysis methodology named FAT is proposed for the assessment and management of risk associated with

    flyrock in blasting practices.

    2 Potential Reasons of Flyrock

    Flyrock is defined as the rock propelled beyond the blast area by the force of an explosion. It can be composed of hard soil or

    stones. when the uncontrolled material fragments are thrown beyond the allowable limits, they result in human injuries, fatalities and

    structure damages. There is a complicated mechanism for the occurrence of flyrock in blasting. It is often difficult to predict them

    because of the uncertainty associated with the inherent variability of blasting phenomenon. There are many reasons that can lead to

    flyrock. Basically, the flyrock accidents are caused by factors as follows

    2.1 Poor Design of Blasting Parameters

    The efficiency of blasting is determined by the precise blasting to the design contour. Inaccuracies in the design of blasting

    patterns can cause large deviations from expectation and result in flyrock occurrence. They include: a) Blasthole Overloading

    3The consumption of explosives, i.e. the quantity of explosives consumed in kg/m of rock mass is governed by a host of factors, such as physicomechanical properties of rock, cross sections of workings, proper charging of blast hole, etc. Any of the factors can

    lead to the excessive charging. When the blasthole overloading occurs, it generates tremendous amount of energy to form flyrock.

    b) Unreasonable Burden

    Due to irregularity of bench slopes, the design of reasonable burden is always challenging. Too short a burden distance wastes

    energy and always causes the release of energy at the weakest side only. While too great a burden distance creates oversize boulders

    and results in the vertical shooting of boulders.

    c) Too Short Stemming

    Stemming provides confinement and prevents the escape of high-pressure gases from the blasting hole. In general, the stemming

    length should be not less than 25 times the blast hole diameter. When the designed length of the stemming is too short, the

    high-pressure gases would shoot out the stemming and solid substance around the hole top directly. d) Improper Delay Time

    Short delay blasting is one of the popular methods in practice, which can produce less seismic impact of blasting, less noise, less

    shock wave, and less flyrock. The determination of proper delay time is the key of success. However, when the delay time is too long,

    the unloading effect disappears and lots of fly-rocks appear.

    2.2 Operation Negligence

    All the construction and operations are done by people, and then the misplay is unavoidable. The operation negligence usually is

    the main reason of blasting accidents including flyrock events. It has many kinds of manifestation, such as:

     ;Foundation item: Project (50534030, 50490274) supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China


a) Inaccurate Drilling

    For the invisibility characteristic of soil and rock material, the accurate positioning of the drilling angle is impossible in practice.

    Different operators may drill holes with completely different angles and length even at the same position, then the drilling deviation

    changes the designed blasting patterns insensibly.

    b) Poor Stemming Quality

    Stemming material quality is another factor lead to the occurrence of flyrock. When poor quality stemming with lower cost is

    used, there is fissure left between stemming and hole wall. Then there is not enough power to hold back the escape of high-pressure

    gases from releasing.

    c) Wrong Firing Sequence

    Firing pattern must be performed so that each hole or group of holes, gets as favorable confinement and throw conditions as

    possible. When the firing sequence is deliberately reversed, the flyrock accident is on the way.

    2.3 Blast Area Security

    The blast area should be determined by considering geology, blasting patterns, blasting experience of operator, delay systems,

    type and amount of explosive material, and type and amount of stemming. A lot of empirical formulas have been suggested to

    determine the blast area. However, the exact determination of the blast area is never an easy thing. Even carrying out the most exact

    calculation of the blast area, an unintentional invader can make all the effort nothing and become the victims. Besides the unwitting

    invaders, the informed people sometimes are curious to the detonation phenomenon and may approach the site nearly. So the blast

    area must be all-clear before blasting and all the access roads leading to the blasting site be guarded while blasting.

    2.4 Unknowable Natural Conditions

    A common problem in geotechnical projects is the lack of knowledge and accurate technology to identify and recognize the

    specific anomaly or weakness in the rock structure, which can lead to the subsequent flyrock problem. The rock structure and rock

    properties may vary considerably from location to location even within the same blast area. The discontinuity of joints and fissures

    can cause very high explosive concentration in the hole.

    The wind also can assist in the producing of flyrock. When the wind direction is in accord with the designed throwing direction,

    the flyrock can travel distance two times than normal.

    3 Fault Tree Analysis Method

    Fault-tree technique is one of the effective tools for safety analysis of systems, which has been successfully used in industry for

    decades. It can be used for analyzing the safety of both software and hardware. Fault tree is particularly effective for large scale

    systems, for qualitative and quantitative analysis of the various components and subsystems which may result in a failure of whole

    system and lead to a possible catastrophe. In the application, fault trees are traditionally derived directly from the physical model of

    the system concerned. One physical model of a system usually includes the structure, operation principle, properties of components

    and relationships between components. The fault tree method expresses them as events. Each event in such a fault tree describes

    some failure involving some physical components. The high-level events can be caused by various combinations of lower-level

    events, and events in different levels are combined with the so-called logical gates. Here gives some of the principle of the FAT

    method briefly.

    3.1 Basical Definitions of Fault Trees

    A fault tree is the relation of (F, F, f), where Fis the collection of events, F is the collection of logical connectives, and f is a ege g

    map function with the union of F and F. Every event in a fault tree should come from the system safety model because the system eg

    safety model is expected to be the basis for the construction of safety cases. There are different graphical notations to express

    different kinds of events and logical connectives, which are the foundation of the FAT method. With these notations, the relations of

    events in the system can be described and the high risk areas of the system are identified. The symbols and the detailed description of [11,12]the elements can be found in various references.

    3.2 Guidelines for Constructing Fault Trees

    In general, the task of constructing a fault tree is to work out how a top event is caused by other events. If the immediate causes

    of each event can be obtained, then the total fault tree can be determined. There are some useful guidelines for fault tree construction:

    (1) Ensure the boundaries of the system being considered are defined.

    (2) Ensure the "limit of resolution" to be used in the construction is defined.

    (3) Establish the "top event" to be analyzed.

    (4) Determine the immediate causes of the "top event". These are not the basic causes but immediate causes.

    (5) Examine the causes leading to the event in question and establish the type of connectives required.

    (6) Repeat step 5 until the "limit of resolution" requirement is reached, and each branch of the tree terminates in basic events or

    diamond event.

    3.3 Cut Set, Path Set and Minimal Cut Sets

    For the decision-makers, it is very useful to find out which components of the system are most critical and vulnerable. The cut

    set, or path set, achieves this goal.

    A cut set is defined as a set of basic events, whose occurrence will cause the top event to happen. A path set is a collection of

    basic events, and non-occurrence of all of its basic events prevents the occurrence of top event. In fact, they have the same effect for

    the safety evaluation of systems most of the time, and the cut set technique is widely used.


    Minimal cut sets, is the smallest subset which is sufficient and necessary to cause the occurrence of the top event. When the cut

    sets of one system are established, it is usually common to find out that some of the cut sets include all the components in another cut [13]set. To eliminate such a repetition, the cut sets are reduced to generate the minimum cut sets. The methods to obtain the minimum

    cut sets can be found in many publications.

    4 Safety Analysis of Flyrock with FAT Method

    For the flyrock accidents of blasting, with consideration of the factors explained in section 2, the fault tree can be constructed as

    shown in Fig.1. T, A, B, C and D with different subscripts represent top event and immediate events.

    X1Geologic anomaly X2unexpected wind

    X3No supervision X4Drilling deviation

    X5Wrong charging order X6Poor stemming

     X7Wrong firing order

     X8Small blast area

     X9No shielding of operator

     X10Blur alerting sign

    X11No guard

     X12No alarming

     X13No checkup

     X14Error estimation of terrain

     X15Blasthole overloading

     X16Unreasonable burden

     X17Large hole distance

     X18Short stemming length

     X19Improper delay time

    Fig.1 Constructed fault tree for flyrock accident

    With the fault tree constructed above, the minimal cut set can be solved as:


    =X1+X2+X3?(X4+X5+X6+X7+X8+X9+X10+X11+X12)+X13?(X15+X16+X17+X18+X19+X14) (1)

    Then 17 minimal cut sets can be obtained quickly, they are {X1}, {X2}, {X3 X4}, {X3 X5}, {X3 X6}, {X3 X7}, {X3 X8},

    {X3 X9}, {X3 X10}, {X3 X11}, {X3 X12}, {X13 X14}, {X13 X15}, {X13 X16}, {X13 X17}, {X13 X18}, {X13 X19}. At the

    same time, we can find out that the events of X3 and X13 have higher occurrence frequency, which usually are quantitatively

    determined as the most vulnerable components of the event tree.

    To quantitatively determine the importance of every component in the fault tree, the structural importance of each component is

    calculated respectively. The structural importance of component can be formulated as:

    1() (2) Ii(n1j2xKij

    Where x represents the basic events of fault tree; K is the minimal cut sets in fault tree; n is the frequency of the minimal cut sets iii

    K containing the basic event X. ii

    The structural importance of the basic event of the constructed fault tree can be calculated as:

     (3) I(1)I(2)1



     (4) 1I(16)I(17)I(18)I(19)10.52

    1 (5) I(3)94.52

    1 (6) I(13)632

    It can be seen that,


     (7) I(12)I(14)I(15)I(16)I(17)I(18)I(19)

    So X3 is the most important basic event in the constructed fault tree, i.e. it has the most great influence on the control of flyrock

    accident. From Fig.1, we know that X3 represents the event of NO SUPERVISION. So the operation supervision is one of the most important procedures to be performed in blasting and the most effective measure to be taken to prevent the flyrock accidents in

    blasting. The basic event of X13, NO CHECKUP, has also importance on the control of flyrock, which has a value a bit less than event X3.

    5 Conclusion

    The identification of risks associated with the flyrock of blasting enables the operators and managers to evaluate the past

    accidents and to improve the present performance. Moreover, it is essential to find out the most important factors so as to take

    effective actions. In the paper, the flyrock phenomenon is treated as a systemic event and the FTA method is proposed as a general

    procedure to analyze the risk components and to seek the most vulnerable components. It is revealed that the supervision and

    checkup in the operation of blasting is the most important routines to perform. This study demonstrates that the fault tree method

    together with the minimum cut set technique, is useful methods for safety evaluating of blasting flyrock risk.


    This study is supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (50490274, 50534030) and the innovation project

    of Central South University in China. The authors are grateful for their financial support.


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