Blasters break up rock and demolish structures by placing and detonating explosives.
Blasters break up rock and demolish structures by placing and detonating explosives.
Construction Blaster, Surface Mine Blaster, Underground Mine Blaster
In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.
The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:
Interest in precision working to connect electrical wires, detonating cords and fuses into series, and to connect the series to blasting machines; may operate air-track, rotary, down-the-hole and other drilling machines
Interest in analyzing information to conduct field tests to determine the type and quantity of explosives required
Interest in speaking - signalling to direct workers in assembling primer charges using selected detonators, fuses, detonating cords and other materials, and to direct bulk-explosive trucks to load holes; may direct drilling of blast holes
The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation.
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.
Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.
A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.
A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.
Duties vary depending on the industry in which blasters are employed. For information about blasting-related operations in the oil and gas industry and related services, see the Seismic Workers and Wireline Operator occupational profiles.
In general, blasters employed in the oil and gas, mining, quarrying or construction industries:
Blasters may direct drilling activities or operate air-track, rotary, down hole or other drilling machines to drill blast holes.
In the construction industry, blasters break up rock and soil, dislodge tree stumps and demolish structures such as buildings or bridges. To avoid damaging surrounding terrain or structures via ground vibration or flying debris, blasters often use a series of small, precise, timed detonations instead of one large explosion.
In the mining industry, blasters prepare and blast large quantities of rock to improve mine equipment efficiency. Some mining blasts break up hundreds of thousands of tonnes of rock in one blast. Such blasts often involve the preparation and use of thousands of kilograms of pre-packaged or bulk explosives.
Blasters primarily work outdoors in all types of weather conditions, sometimes in remote or hazardous locations. Working conditions often are noisy and dirty. Occupational risks include explosions, flying particles, falling objects, noise and hazardous chemicals.
Lifting up to 20 kilograms is required.
Blasters need the following characteristics:
Those employed in underground mines also must be able to work in confined spaces.
All blasters should enjoy operating machinery and performing tasks that require precision, conducting tests and analyzing information, and directing the work of others.
Blasters start in entry level positions and advance to more responsible positions as they gain experience. For example, they may start as labourers or heavy equipment operators (for more information, see the Construction Craft Labourer and Heavy Equipment Operator occupational profiles). Employers may prefer to hire applicants who have a high school diploma or related experience.
In the oil and gas industry blasters require:
Blasters may be trained on the job as blaster helpers or take related courses before moving into blasting positions. In Alberta, approved blaster safety training courses are offered by companies listed on Alberta Labour Occupational Health and Safety website.
Due to the size and quantity of explosives used and the number of people potentially exposed to blasting hazards, detailed knowledge of safe work practices and related explosive manufacturers' specifications is essential for blasters in the mining industry.
For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.
Blasters place and detonate explosives. They may work in the oil and gas, mining, quarrying or construction industries.
Under Alberta's Occupational Health and Safety Regulation and Occupational Health and Safety Code, anyone who handles, prepares, fires, burns or destroys an explosive for non-mining work must hold a valid Blaster permit. For conducting blasting operations in a mine, you must have a Surface Mine Blaster certificate or Underground Mine Blaster certificate (depending on the nature of the mine). Blaster permits and Mine Blaster certificates are issued by Alberta Labour.
To qualify for a non-mining Blaster permit, you must: be at least 18-years of age and have completed an approved course, or have 6 months of experience, and a recommendation from your employer.
To qualify for a Surface Mine Blaster or Underground Mine Blaster certificate, you must: (1) have at least 3 years of experience in a related surface or underground mining environment, (2) submit a valid First Aid certificate, (3) submit written evidence that you have received adequate instruction and training under the direction of a certified mine blaster, (4) pass a written exam administered by the Board of Examiners - Mining, and (5) submit a letter of recommendation from your employer.
Blasters who are certified by and in good standing with a regulatory organization elsewhere in Canada may be eligible for certification in Alberta if certified blasters in the two jurisdictions have similar responsibilities and competencies. For more information, see What if I am already certified in another province or territory? and the Alberta regulatory authority (below).
Occupational Health and Safety Policy and Program Development
8th Floor, Labour Building
10808 - 99 Avenue
Edmonton, Alberta T5K 0G5
Phone number: 780-415-8690
Toll-free phone number (within Alberta): 1-866-415-8690
Fax number: 780-422-0014
Blasters must also adhere to the federal Explosives Act which outlines the proper procedure for storage, possession, transportation, sale and destruction of explosive materials. Regular site inspections scrutinize record keeping and storage procedures to ensure standard procedures are followed.
Blasters in the oil and gas, construction, mining and quarrying industries are employed by:
Employment in the non-mining sector often is seasonal. Employment in the mining sector usually is full time, year-round.
Blaster is not an entry level position. Experienced blasters may advance to supervisory positions but, without additional education or training, further advancement is limited.
Blasters are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 7372: Drillers and Blasters - Surface Mining, Quarrying and Construction. In Alberta, 78% of people employed in this classification work in the following industries:
The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:
In 2014, the Petroleum Labour Market Information (PetrolLMI) Division of Enform (formely the Petroleum Human Resources Council) indicated more than 20% of the workforce in the oil and gas industry is eligible for retirement, contributing to the labour demand required to support the industry.
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* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.
Good Reliability, represents a CV of between 6.01% and 15.00% and/or fewer than 30 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 50% of all estimated employment for the occupation.
Alberta Labour, Occupational Health and Safety website: work.alberta.ca/occupational-health-safety.html
Careers in Oil + Gas website: www.careersinoilandgas.com
Natural Resources Canada, Explosives Safety and Security Branch (ESSB) website: www.nrcan.gc.ca/explosives
For more information on career planning, education and jobs, visit the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) website, call the Alberta Career Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-661-3753 or 780-422-4266 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.
Updated Mar 03, 2016. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.