Spotlight on Safety – Thermal Lancing

Thermal lancing incident

NSW Resources Regulator has issued recommendations to mine operators following a safety incident at a mine in the Hunter Valley.

On 9 July 2019, while using a lance to remove a seized pin from the rear-axle link of a CAT 797 dump truck, a worker was struck by the heavy-duty pin when it was ejected unexpectedly. The worker suffered a stress fracture and bruising to his hip, a fracture to his thumb and minor facial and eye injuries from the slag spray.

Recommendations from the regulator following the incident include:

  • a review of hot work risk assessments including thermal lancing
  • safe standing zones for workers,
  • a review of hot work permit systems, thermal lancing procedures, and
  • a review of the system for appointing workers authorised to perform these procedures.

A video and report on the outcomes of the investigation has been released and are available at

What is thermal lancing?

This is a process where a lance or rod is fed by pressurised oxygen to sustain a burning tip capable of cutting through material such as steel or concrete. The tip operates at temperatures upwards of 2000⁰C.

Tips for thermal lancing

Some key points to remember when thermal lancing:

  • Lancing should be carried out in the open air, although good ventilation could allow work inside.
  • Always wear appropriate PPE including jacket, gloves and forced ventilation welding helmet.
  • Remove all flammable materials for a distance of at least ten metres from the place of work.

Review and Retrain

3D Safety are experts in hot work processes – we can assist with a review of hot work risk assessments, permits and procedures. We offer a tailored approach with consultation and collaboration to determine your requirements. 3D Safety also offers safety awareness courses in Oxy Lancing and Hazard Awareness and Risk Assessment.

Contact your 3D Safety Consultant to discuss your needs or call 1300 663 195 for further information.

Send us an enquiry

Give us a call or fill in the form below and we'll contact you. We endeavor to answer all inquiries within 24 hours on business days.