When using Detonators, we always stood at least 3 metres from them at all times and one warning was (steam days) not to stand too close to the running line as the detonator had been known to adhere to a driving wheel and being flung several feet out.
Oddly enough on Steam, the front 'pony wheels' would set off the Det but it was the larger driving wheel it adhered too that flung it out.
Because of the enclosed frame around today's Bogies on both locomotives and EMU's, this problem should be much reduced.
Due to the compression by the locomotive the disc had been completely flattened and had a very sharp edge which would easily cut you if it hit.
If the locomotive was moving slowly, they very seldom went much further than the rotation of the wheel but increase the speed also increased the distance the exploded Det would travel.
Partly because I was lazy and to stop a Det derailing a Trike, I used to put a strip of Newspaper under the Det and fold it up so as it fluttered, it made it easier to see and not run over accidentally meaning I had to go and replace it.
The Dets we had could be set off by hitting them (pre 1994) or put into a fire which we did to clean the chimneys out in the Signal box.
One trick was to put one on the end of a point clip and drop it out onto a hard surface below, usually after midnight when all was dead quiet.
Except for reports of hand injuries mostly to children or juveniles from setting off stolen Detonators, I never heard of anyone being severely injured by them.
My first safeworking job and contact with detonators was when I was sent to flag an Automatic Upper Quadrant Signal between the overhead power Sub station and where McDonalds are today at Blaxland on the Blue Mountains.
I was given a Red and Green Flag and a carton of Dets and left at the signal that was at Stop.
I had no training in flagging or any Safeworking and to this Day, I have no idea what the job was that put the Signal to Stop.
Those 'cables' to be used to short out the track were tried over 30 years ago and were found to be too unreliable as you couldn't tell if they were making proper contact or not.
Them where to lay them was the next problem, across or under the track, across the top meant they could be dislodged by a fettlers Trike or any track machine and under was both difficult and time consuming if the Ballast was too deep.
I am pleased to see after all this time the Status Quo still prevails............