SAFEX Newsletters

Through its Newsletters, SAFEX networks not only with the SAFEX Community but also with any organisation or invdividual that shares its commitment to improve the health, safety, security and environmental (HSSE) performance of the explosives industry worldwide.

Newsletters issued before 2013 are in the Newsletter Archive and can be accessed by clicking : Archive

SAFEX Newsletter No.79 October 2023

Welcome to SAFEX  Newsletter 79, I hope you will enjoy and find much learning in it. The year is speeding to an end with the world in a much changed position since it started.

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SAFEX Newsletter No. 78 July 2023

Welcome to SAFEX Newsletter 78, I hope you will enjoy and find much learning in it. We start of as per usual with a safety message from a CEO in our community ,in this case Jeanne Johns from Incitec Pivot

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SAFEX Newsletter No.77 october 2022

Suddenly we are in the last quarter of 2022. It has been an eventful year- people and companies coming to terms with the Covid-19 pandemic, life slowly retuning to a new normal and global travelling opening up.
The latter allowed the Board of Governors to give the go ahead for the Congress in Salzburg in 2023.Arrangements for this event are well in hand and you should have received registration documents by now. We have a full suite of events including two full days of plenaries. I look forward to meeting you at the Congress. A bulletin on the full programme will be issued after all the papers have been edited.

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SAFEX Newsletter No.76 April 2022

It is six months since the last SAFEX Newsletter and the pandemic is still with us, but the human race is very resilient. Despite devastating conditions over the last two years, people have now started to realize that Covid is here to stay, and we are adapting to this new life. Higher awareness of hygiene, masks vaccinations and a change in overall behavior have all made it possible to return to a new normal.

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SAFEX Newsletter No. 75 October 2021

COVID-19 is still ruling our lives and businesses, but the vaccinations appear to have curbed the worst of the advance and most countries are easing down on their lockdown measures and international travel is opening up. With this as background, the Board of Governors has decided that arrangements for the SAFEX XX Congress is to go ahead for 4-8 April in Salzburg, Austria.

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SAFEX Newsletter No.74 April 2021

Covid-19 is still affecting lives and economies on a global scale. In most countries there are very strict lockdowns and travel restrictions. As a result of this the Board of Governors though it prudent to postpone the SAFEX XX till 3-8 April 2022. It will still be held in Salzburg and further information will be communicated during the course of this year.

As a result of these postponements the Board decided to hold two webinars during 2021. The first was held on 8 March and was rated as extraordinarily successful in the subsequent survey. The participants exceeded 150 in number and rated the content, presentation, and applicability in their operations more than 90%. A second webinar will be planned for the 3rd quarter of this year – and further information will be forthcoming over the next few months. SAFEX again looks forward to your active participation.

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SAFEX Newsletter No.73, 2nd Qtr 2020

Since the last Newsletter Covid-19 ruled our lives (and the world) and we all went through extremely strict lockdown protocols. Since then we realised that life as we knew it has been irrevocably changed. I hope the effect on you and your families and companies was manageable and all are moving forward. Due to the uncertainties around the Covid-19 situation for 2021 the Board has decided to move the SAFEX Congress XX to 5-10 September 2021. Arrangements for this change is well underway and registration will commence early in 2021.

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SAFEX Newsletter No.72, 1st Qtr 2020

The year 2020 will forever be remembered as the time that our “normal” life’s changed! COVID-19 infected millions of people globally without discrimination, many thousands are dying, the global economy is staggering, and businesses and individuals are suffering.

Everything is affected and most of our members are in lockdown and working from home. In this period SAFEX is coming forward with news and informative articles from the industry.

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SAFEX Newsletter No.71, 4th Qtr 2019

As we wind down another year and head into the holiday season, many cultures start a time of reflection and pause to say thanks.  In the United States we have a holiday that is called Thanksgiving and it is built around this time of harvest and reflection.  A time to reflect how fortunate we are, how well we have been graced with good health, potentially a good crop due to our hard work through the year and perhaps a gain of wealth when it is all said and done.  In our business, we also need to take the time to pause and think about how fortunate we have been in terms of safety and to be thankful to everyone for their contributions

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SAFEX Newsletter No.70, 3rd Qtr 2019

"Establishing this Association is a humanitarian task, a moral and social mission and no effort undertaken for this purpose can be considered too great".

Founders of SAFEX International, 1954

The mission statement of the nine founding member companies of SAFEX International is still the foundation of our organisation. SAFEX has since grown to 58 Member Companies and 8 Group members giving a total of 238 members.

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SAFEX Newsletter No.69, 2nd Qtr 2019

SAFEX’s main objective is to share safety, health, environmental and security knowledge throughout our industry. In doing so we hope to achieve a much safer work environment for everybody and increase the global image of the explosives industry.

SAFEX recently published the annual safety statistics which is a valuable toll in benchmarking our performance. I implore you to partake in this annual exercise which benefits all members.

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SAFEX Newsletter No.68, 1st Qtr 2019

It has been a busy 3 months for SAFEX with a Board of Governors meeting at the end of January and the CIE/IGUS Conference in Namibia. The latter was very successful and well attended. Several issues around testing of emulsions for the UN Series 8 and the classification of ammonium nitrate were discussed.

Arrangements for the 2020 Congress is well in hand and notifications will be sent during the course of this year. The final call for papers was met with a very good response and the call for abstracts and papers will be issued in the next few months.

A series on incident recall kicks off with the explosion at Sierra Chemicals .Andy Begg delivered this talk at the Congress in Istanbul .There is a lot of good learning in this report and we call on all members to come forward with “old” incidents for future publication- history tends to repeat itself and this vicious circle can only be broken by learning from the past.

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SAFEX Newsletter No.67, 4th Qtr 2018

Another year has quickly passed and we find ourselves at the end of the season, which permits some time to reflect on how the year was for SAFEX and its membership. It would seem that we are starting to see the realization of the benefits for member companies to use the e-Learning platforms. In speaking to the Secretary General, Dr. Piet Halliday, a week ago and when asked what was the biggest thing he saw changing through the year, this was his response:

“The e-Learning modules have really taken off for a significant number of member companies. In particular, Austin Powder, Davey-Bickford/ENAEX, EPC and Maxam”.

This is partially due to the number of modules available, the increasing number of languages that they are offered in and a recent change in the access fee charged by the organization.

We have seen a significant increase in requests for licenses and usage and at the end of the day, this is a great way to disseminate knowledge throughout the industry and within companies. It is interesting to note that the largest companies in our industry have not seen their employees request access to the modules, perhaps this will change in the coming year.

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SAFEX Newsletter No.66, 3rd Qtr 2018

2018 is already on a downwards slope to December and the year end. The seasons are changing, the climate is changing, business is changing, are we as an industry adapting fast enough to ensure a safe future for the next generation/s. Are we developing new products and processes that changes the whole safety environment in a much more positive manner? Our industry is historically a very conservative one in adopting anything “new”. Electronic detonators were developed in the late 1980’s and  only really made headway as a technology over the last decade and a half. Cutting edge technologies are being developed, is our industry ready to look at applications like 3D printing, printed electronics, printed pyrotechnics, cutting edge primary and secondary explosives etc, to replace historical processes and products. These are potentially safer and more environmentally friendly technologies. Is our industry prepared to invest capital to develop a new world of commercial explosives ?

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SAFEX Newsletter No.65, 2nd Qtr 2018

“The Safety of the People shall be the Highest Law”  Marcus Tullius Cicero-Roman ,Statesman
This is what we as an industry strive for and attempt to achieve as our main goal. SAFEX International was created out of this by a number of industry leaders 62 years ago ,with the objective to assist in a global safety drive by all the explosives companies. From this relatively small beginning where the organization assisted in safety related information sharing, across borders and cultures, SAFEX has grown to an organization assisting the Industry over a broad base.

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SAFEX Newsletter No.64, 1st Qtr 2018

This is the 64th edition of the SAFEX Newsletter and at 4 issues a year we have been going for 16 years, which is quite an  achievement. Over the last few years we have seen a serious reduction in interest from members to contribute to the Newsletter. I thank the few stalwarts we can always rely on to give you something of quality to increase learning in the industry. During 2017 we ran a survey to assess interest in the Newsletters and the companies came out strongly in favor of 4 issues, with the majority voting to keep the content as is. Unfortunately, this Newsletter is only as good and strong as your contributions and that is contrary to the outcome of the survey. Please assist the team that puts the Newsletter together-it is hard work and without your support becomes even more difficult. SAFEX would like to continue with the current setup but might be forced by circumstance to change the approach in future. Please take note of this within your companies, I am convinced there is a lot to share within the whole industry.

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SAFEX Newsletter No.63, 4th Qtr 2017

Another year, full of good and bad events has rushed by. I hope that the past year was filled with events we could learn from and make the coming year the best ever from a Safety, Health and Environmental perspective in our industry. During the last year SAFEX has actively participated in various industry organization’s events that have similar goals to us like the ISEE , IME , EFEE ,IGUS and NIXT .Experiences and learnings were shared that will hopefully assist the industry on various levels to remain the best industry on the Globe.

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SAFEX Newsletter No.62, 3rd Qtr 2017

The year is rushing past and we are on the downhill side of 2017. Although the business environment has eased somewhat the industry is still taking strain in some areas.In this Newsletter we continue with the “Did you know that..“series and also start a new feature in which readers supply photos of good and bad practices to ensure the lessons learn ’t are shared in the industry.

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SAFEX Newsletter No.61, 2nd Qtr 2017

In this issue of the Newsletter there is a comprehensive report back on the Helsinki Congress .The regular articles on Safety Managemet sytems and “Did you know “ are also continued .All this is supported by articles from our industry.

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SAFEX Newsletter No.60, 1st Qtr 2017

We are already a quarter way through 2017 when Newsletter 60 will see the light! Arrangements for the Congress in Helsinki are progressing well and 198 participants from 36 countries are expected for the Plenary Sessions. The Training Session is fully booked and the Explosives Transport and Emulsion Workgroups are oversubscribed- an exciting position to be in. I look forward to seeing you at the Congress.

At the recent Board of Governor’s meeting it was decided to revitalise the Newsletter. To this extent, a Survey Monkey review was issued and I thank you for your inputs-this will be used to review the strategic future of the Newsletter. The Board also put together a team to review the shape and content of articles. The Convenor of the team is Noel Hsu with members Andy Begg and myself. We hope this will assist in giving the industry continued useful inputs and learning on SHE and Security issues. In the current Newsletter, you will already see the focus changing toward safety focussed articles.

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SAFEX Newsletter No.59, 4th Qtr 2016

The content of the letter from our Chairman, John Rathbun, is of critical importance to SAFEX and the safe future of our industry. As John rightly said there were 13 Incident reports in 2016 of which 3 recorded fatalities. Most of these were probably preventable through learning and sharing of Incident Reports and Notices -the latter an obligation you agreed to when you signed up as a member. I urge you to submit the final reports – we have less than 5% being submitted to SAFEX.

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SAFEX Newsletter No.58, 3rd Qtr 2016

Three quarters through the year and another change in Season is approaching. The Southern Hemisphere is approaching Summer and the North Winter-changes constant in the lifecycle of man and we are used to it. Change out there, however, isn’t constant, and life, technology and business as we knew it is changing at an ever rapid pace. The industry moved from NG to water based explosives over the period of 160 years, computers moved from vacuum tube systems to the smart phones in less than half that time. What changes does the industry anticipate in the next few years? What can be developed to make explosive rock breaking more safe and effective .3D printing offers a vast potential in printing of many materials-what about explosives and detonators? How can the cost of production be driven down using energetic printing techniques whilst maintaining a high safety culture at all times? All these questions will be answered over the next 10 years for those prepared to risk innovation and hold SHE dear to their organisations.

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SAFEX Newsletter No.57, 2nd Qtr 2016

We are half way through 2016! What have we achieved or not achieved in these six months? The global economy remains under pressure, and the explosives industry is straining under the impact of low commodity prices. Big mining companies are restructuring and rebalancing their asset base-it is a period of instability for the work force as redundancies affect the whole of the industry. Losing key employees will eventually impact on safety. Train-ing and retraining to build up experience bases takes a long time and im-pacts on productivity, safety and quality. A judicious approach to the re-balancing of the employee structure is thus required...

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SAFEX Newsletter No.56, 1st Qtr 2016

We are already at the end of the first quarter of 2016! The depressed commodity prices globally have put the mining industry and suppliers under severe pressure. In a lot of countries companies are battening down the hatches, reviewing cost structures and business models. The industry is taking strain, but should be ever wary of any potential impact of change on their safety systems. Now is the time to be very alert and not allow safety gremlins to creep into operations-lack of basic safety principles could be the cause of the ruin of a company. The cost of any event is prohibitively high and the potential effect on the whole industry is not insignificant. I thus call on all Safety Practitioners and Managers to ensure that attention to detail, training and safety audits receive priority attention. It is here where SAFEX can play a role to assist, through our eLearning Portal, the Basis of Safety Module greatly enhances the knowledge base of managers and supervisors. The Expert Panel, of which details are available on the website...

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SAFEX Newsletter No.55, 4th Qtr 2015

In this edition of the Newsletter we commence with our Chairman, John Rathbun’s, traditional annual message to the industry.

Richard Turcotte reports back on the IGUS Meeting hosted  very successfully in Canada. Delegates from 50 countries attended this important meeting.

The Safety Snippet in this edition is supplied by Brian Allison, an Expert Panel Member. He highlights the learning on PETN plant design from old incidents.

News from the Second Meeting of the UN SaferGuard Technical Review Board and the UN SaferGuard Strategic Coordination Group for the development and implementation of the International Ammunition Technical Guidelines (IATG) 18-19 November 2015 is supplied by Hans Wallin. A follow up article on this subject will be published in the next Newsletter.

The series of articles on the educational framework in the European Union was concluded in the last Newsletter. In the current issue an article by Prof Heinz Schenk and Andreas de Beer gives background and describes the explosives training regime in South Africa.

The shipping of explosive samples is always a difficult issue to handle. Jack Shaver submitted an article in an attempt give guidance and clarify potential issues.

Ellina Kharatyan provided an article on the development of an underground pumpable emulsion that exhibits enhanced safety and security properties.

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SAFEX Newsletter No.54, 3rd Qtr 2015

At the change of season in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, we re-alise that not only does nature change, but so does the global economy and with it the explosives industry . Change brings with it stress, which could have an influence on operational safety. Should the focus on this most criti-cal part of our industry be reduced, the potential for catastrophic incidents increases. It is thus important to reemphasise that safety in all areas is para-mount to a successful explosives business. The role SAFEX plays in your oper-ation is most important to share learning, assist with safety networking and training ,but we can only be as effective as the support you give us to play this important role in our industry . Your input into making SAFEX Interna-tional an effective partner in your Safety Team is the highest value a safety conscious global organisation can obtain . Thus I ask for your support, com-munication and timely incident notifications going forward...

To download a copy of this issue of the Newsletter, click here.

SAFEX Newsletter No.53, 2nd Qtr 2015

In this Newsletter the Safety Statistics of the participating members are compared against that of similar industries .A historical document from 1983 is submitted on AN fires to elicit some industry discussion around these potentially catastrophic events . Members are also reminded that the Basis of Safety Module on the SAFEX eLearning Portal is now available for widespread use .For those new in the industry an article on the historical development of explosives is included , starting at 220BC and stretching into the what might be required in years to come. To download a copy of this issue of the Newsletter, click here.

SAFEX Newsletter No.52, 1st Qtr 2015

This is the first Newsletter under management of the new Secretary General, Dr Piet Halliday and an appeal in his note was made to supply incident notices as they happen to support the industry drive to safety. The new Board of Governors is introduced with a writeup on Dawie Mynhardt from South Africa. A new section on incident recall under the leadership of Andy Begg has commenced, in an attempt to extract learning that could prevent similar ocurrences happening. To download a copy of this issue of the Newsletter, click here.

SAFEX Newsletter No.50, 3rd Qtr 2014 

As promised, we give our new SAFEX Chairman, John Rathbun, an opportunity to outline his expectations for his term of office in this edition of our Newsletter. In the "Putting Science to Work" feature, our colleagues from CanmetCERL provide us with an interesting article on the safety testing of a rotary gear pump with unsensitised bulk emulsions. Debris hazards evaluation is the stimulating topic in the "QRA Corner" column and makes for interesting reading. We hope you will find something of value in this edition of the Newsletter.    

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SAFEX Newsletter No.49, 2nd Qtr 2014 

This edition of our Newsletter provides readers with some feedback from the recent XVIII SAFEX Congress which was held in Warsaw, Poland. The second instalment in our new column, Under Lock and Key, gives a historical overview to the abuse of conventional explosives in the preparation of Improvised Explosives Devices (IED's). We hope to provide more articles in this series in future editions as a demonstration of SAFEX's commitment to explosives security.  

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SAFEX Newsletter No.48, 1st Qtr 2014 

Besides our regular features, we introduce a new column in this Newsletter called Under Lock & Key with an inntroductory article by JIEDAC of the UK MoD. This column is a furhter indication of SAFEX's commitment to enhance explosives security and prevent conventional explosives from falling into unauthorised hands. Our Eco-Talk feature describes how a member company has remediated a magazine containing obsolete primary explosives. This project used the responses from other SAFEX members to a request for information.  

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SAFEX Newsletter No.47, 4th Qtr 2013 

In addition to the other regular features, Geoff Downs, Chief Inspector of Explosives, Queensland, Australia continues his series in our Regulatory World feature with an article on Investigation of incidents. Our Eco-Talk feature is fortunate to publish an outline of the Dyno Nobel approach to eco-efficiencies in explosives manufacture by Clare Luehman, the Incitec Pivot General Manager, Global Sustainability. 

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SAFEX Newsletter No.46, 3rd Qtr 2013 

In this edition of the Newsletter we are pleased to feature another article by the Canadian Explosives Research Laboratory (CERL) of Natural Resources Canada in our "Putting Science to Work" column. In addition to our other regular features, readers may also be interested in the outline of the Risk Control Hierarchy used by Geoff Downs, Chief Inspector of Exposives, Queensland, Australia.

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SAFEX Newsletter No.45, 2nd Qtr 2013 

This issue also announces the first SAFEX interim event to be held between Congresses. It takes the form of an Emulsion Class organised by the Emulsion Explosives Workgroup. You will want to bring this Class to the attention of anyone involved in the Emulsion supply chain. Participation in the Class is limited to 30 participants..

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SAFEX Newsletter No.44, 1st Qtr 2013 

The first of a series of articles by Denise Clark explaining the UK’s National Occupational Standards (NOS’s) for Explosives Substances and Articles (ESA’s) appears in this addition. If you take training and development in the explosives industry seriously, you will want to read this.

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