Q&A Series #04: Interview with Rui Chen

GRT Q&A Series with Rui Chen from Impact Drill and Blast on worker health and safety

About the guest

Rui Chen is the Managing Director and CEO of Impact Drill and Blast in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. 

Chen’s career has spanned senior roles around the world and across the quarrying, mining and heavy industrial industries. As an MD and CEO of Impact Drill and Blast in Australia, Chen is focused on delivering greater commercial impacts for clients with respect to better performance, improved safety and reduced costs.

The topic of discussion: Worker health and safety in drilling and blasting  

Worker health and safety in drilling and blasting involves taking preventative and corrective measures to deal with risks and hazards associated with drilling and blasting. The risks and hazards to worker health and safety include:

  • Dust
  • Misfires
  • Airblast
  • Fly rocks
  • Explosives 
  • Manual tasks
  • Hot blast holes 
  • Compressed air
  • Ground vibrations
  • Rotating and moving parts
  • Hazardous substances – diesel, petrol, acids, oils and grease

In this Q&A session, we learn more about worker health and safety in drilling and blasting from Rui Chen, Managing Director and CEO of Impact Drill and Blast in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. 

Q1: Can you tell us more about Impact Drill & Blast? 

Impact drill & Blast is an integrated explosives, drilling and blasting service provider. We are the biggest quarry drilling and blasting company in the East Coast. Safety and innovation are our key focus in transforming us to a better service provider banking on the latest technology and driving a solutions oriented attitude. 

Q2: Can you offer brief insights into your Australasian operations? 

We operate across the east coast of Australia in all States mainly in the quarry market. We have 40+ drills and 7 MPUs.  There are 90+ employees that work for Impact Drill & Blast in different States. We run an emulsion plant out of the Northern Territory which is aimed at developing the North of the country.

Q3: How important is safety and health in what you offer to the industry? 

Safety plays critical and essential role in our business. It forms part of our quality service. Without a dependable safety culture that is supported by each employee, we cannot deliver the efficiency and quality service to our customers. 

Q4: Dust is generated during drilling and blasting. How important is dealing with dust at its source? 

It is one of major hazard we closely keep our eyes on and alert our employees about it. For dust suppression, there are always two elements to it, one is awareness of driller and the other one is drill with good dust suppression systems including dust control and cab seals. We want our employees to stay healthy and identify the risk if they see it which includes dust in their operation site.

Q5: Australia is observing National Safe Work Month this October, what message do you have for the industry at large? 

Safety is always No.1 priority. It is easy to say but hard to do when we need revenue. It is an endless effort of management to keep driving it. Every employee loves his or her loved ones, sometime we just need to remind them of the best way to control their behaviours and attitudes towards safety.

Q6: What are some of the key challenges faced by Impact Blast & Drill currently? (In spreading awareness and expanding business in the market)

There are many challenges ahead, the biggest one is how to balance between investing for growth vs holding a position to protect what you have. The factors affecting this progress would be where the economy will go, inflation, supply of raw materials, increasing labour costs and shortage of everything due to the logistics crisis in the world currently. 

Q7: In conclusion, what is on the horizon for Impact Drill & Blast? 

We expect to grow the business while driving behavioural safety management systems and improving standards of operation. We are confident with our reliable quality system, we see a fast growth curve leading to the 2032 Olympics in Queensland. 

To learn more about drilling and blasting services, visit – https://impactdrillblast.com/  

Keith Nare

Technical Head of Communications for GRT, Keith leads GRT's content strategy across various platforms, whilst coordinating internally to build the voice and opinions of the GRT team. Keith is a product of Nelson Mandela University and his PhD work focuses on Polymer and Physical Chemistry. He was a Research Associate at SANRAL in South Africa and later spent time as a Visiting Research Associate to NTEC at the University of Nottingham in the UK. He is a former Director of Communications for CALROBO in the USA.

Keith is passionate and enthusiastic about health and safety, sustainability, networking and finding synergy through conversations.