Abstract

This paper discusses accidents caused by the improper handling of explosives by geophysical crews. Since the war, geophysical companies have been experimenting with the use of aluminum loading poles. Premature ignitions have been caused by the electric current generated by the galvanic cell formed by the aluminum loading poles, the alkaline mud, and the steel casing of the shot hole. This paper gives a brief description of tests that have been made on the amount of electric current generated by such a cell. Static electricity has been blamed for the ignition of detonators while the primer was being prepared. This paper briefly summarizes the experiments conducted by the Bureau of Mines and discussed in Report of Investigations 3852 "Sensitivity of Explosive to Initiation by Electrostatic Discharges" and the probabilities that static electricity caused premature detonations.From the data discussed in this paper, the author concludes that there is a need for establishing a set of standard safety regulations in the geophysical industry, and that before any new piece of equipment, such as aluminum loading poles, is introduced, the problem should be studied to insure that a new hazard is not introduced. Only a safe geophysical crew operates economically and efficiently, and, in order to promote and maintain efficient operations, geophysical companies must not revert to the unsafe practices used prior to the war.

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