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Explosives safety alert no. 32 | 03 July 2009 | Version 1

Transport incident involving a mobile processing unit

Investigations are ongoing and further information may be published as it becomes available. The information in this publication is what is known at the time of writing.

We issue Safety Notices to draw attention to the occurrence of a serious incident, raise awareness of risks, and prompt assessment of your existing controls.

This alert is to advise all owners and operators of mobile processing units (MPU) of concerns arising from a recent road transport incident.


The alert provides important safety information for all persons involved in the design, commissioning and operation of MPU.


An MPU was recently involved in a rollover incident after failing to negotiate an intersection.

Although the unit was not significantly damaged, there was a substantial spill of ammonium nitrate emulsion (ANE). Roads were closed for most of the day while the emergency cleanup process was undertaken.


ANE product was lost directly from the compartment opening or hatch assembly cover.

The Australian explosives industry and safety group code of practice for MPU states that vehicles and equipment must comply with the Australian dangerous goods code (ADG code), the Australian explosives code, and the requirements of the competent authority.

The Explosives Regulation 2003 makes it mandatory when transporting ANE to comply with the requirements of the ADG code. For transport in road tank vehicles, the code references AS 2809 Road tank vehicles for dangerous goods.

One of the fundamentals of AS 2809 is rollover protection, i.e. the testing of hatch assemblies and fittings to the top of tank vehicles, and the use of U-coamings and guards to ensure that they maintain their integrity in a rollover situation.


All mobile manufacturing authority holders must ensure their safety management system (SMS) incorporates documented processes that cater for the design, commission, operation and maintenance of MPU that comply with legislative requirements.

Authority holders must ensure that these SMS processes are periodically subjected to verification to ensure compliance.

A program of inspection and rectification should be instigated for all existing MPU to ensure they continue to comply with the requirements of the Australian dangerous goods code and relevant aspects of AS 2809.

All authority holders involved in the transport of explosives must review their documented emergency response plans to ensure they remain valid, with key personnel trained, and adequate resources are in place to cater for the worst-case scenario within their scope of operations.

Further information

More safety alerts, information bulletins and reports.

Authorised by Chief Inspector of Explosives

Contact: Manager, Explosives Licensing , +61 7 3199 8057

Issued by Queensland Department of Mines and Energy

Safety: This information is a guide only and is issued to promote safety through experience. It is not to be taken as a statement of law and must not be construed to waive or modify any legal obligation.