The Mining Safety and Health Directorate of Queensland has established an industry steering group to examine post-blast fume events and develop steps to further minimise risk to workers.

The steering group will develop new shot-firing guidelines to minimise gas fume events during blasting operations in Queensland coal mines.

Employment, Skills and Mining Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said the concerns raised after recent incidents at BMA’s Saraji and Peak Downs mines had prompted the creation of the steering group.

The steering group will be chaired by Noel Erichsen, the deputy chief inspector of explosives, and will include representatives from mining companies, explosives suppliers and the union.

During the blasting operations at the mines, about 120-150 shots are fired each week, of which less than 2% result in a fume event.

The Explosives Inspectorate has also issued a safety alert to explosives suppliers and all mines engaged in open-cut blasting operations, outlining measures to be taken to prevent and manage post-blast fume events.