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Queensland Mines Inspectorate | Alert | No.383 V 1 | 23 December 2020

Tyre explosion following lightning strike

What happened?

A surface mine stopped production due to wet weather towards the end of their dayshift. The mobile mining equipment was driven to a purpose built in field parking area and parked up. The nightshift commenced their pre-start at the crib huts adjacent to the parking area, while waiting for the wet weather to ease. The lightning TARP was initiated while the pre-start was underway.

A coal mine worker in the crib hut for the pre-start meeting saw lightning strike a truck in the park-up area. Shortly afterwards, the position 5 tyre on the truck exploded. The concussion and tyre fragments from the blast shattered windows in the crib huts, dislodged air conditioners, lights and water tanks from their fixtures.

Two coal mine workers received injuries requiring first aid treatment. The crib huts were considered to be a place of safety during severe weather and lightning.

Key issues

  • Lightning
  • Severe Weather


Mines should review their severe weather or lightning TARPS that manage the risk to coal mine workers from rubber tyred mobile plant during lightning storms.

Assess the most appropriate methods of protecting coal mine workers from the consequences of tyre explosions and appropriate methods of preventing lighting strikes to mobile plant at park up locations.

Rubber tyred mobile plant cannot be considered as a place of safety during a lightning storm. Care must be taken where these vehicles are parked during a lightning storm so as not to create a hazard for coal mine workers, buildings or structures.

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.

References and further information

Mines safety bulletin no. 47 - Tyre Fires, Pyrolysis and Explosions

Mines safety bulletin no. 176 - Lightning Strikes on Rubber-tyred Vehicles

Mines safety alert no. 275 - Tyre Blast Air Catches Three Maintenance Personnel

Authorised by Peter Newman - Chief Inspector – Coal

Contact: Mick Scully, Inspector of Mines , 0459 878 917

Issued by Resources Safety & Health Queensland

Safety: This information 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.
Placement: Place this announcement on noticeboards and ensure all relevant people in your organisation receive a copy, understand the content, findings and recommendations as applicable to their operation. SSEs should validate that recommendations have been implemented.