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, Shooters, 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.
Duties vary depending on the industry on which blasters are employed. For information about blasting-related operations in the oil and gas industry and related services, see the Wireline Operator occupational profile.
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.
In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.
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
To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.
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 for this NOC group 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.
To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.
A Quick Guide
You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.
The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.
The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.
Those employed in underground mines also must be able to work in confined spaces.
All blasters should enjoy:
In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.
This chart shows which job skills are currently in highest demand for this occupational group. It was created using this occupation's 15 most recent Alberta job postings, collected between May 13, 2022 and Nov 18, 2023.
Review these skills to learn:
|Construction Specialization: Team player||12|
|Construction Specialization: Dependability||12|
|Construction Specialization: Flexibility||12|
|Tasks: Operate tracked or truck-mounted drill equipped with auger or other attachment to drill holes for building foundations or pilings||12|
|Tasks: Ensure health and safety regulations are followed||12|
|Construction Specialization: Judgement||11|
|Construction Specialization: Accurate||11|
|Tasks: Operate drilling machines to drill blast holes in rock at road or other construction sites||11|
|Health benefits: Health care plan||9|
|Health benefits: Dental plan||9|
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 Worker 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 and Immigration’s 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.
To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.
Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.
Certain professional titles or duties within this occupation are protected by provincial legislation. Requirements vary if you use these titles or perform these duties.
The related legislation is shown below. If there are multiple related legislations, select a certification heading to learn about each one.
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.
For information on what you need and other details, visit the certification profile Blaster.
Blasters must also adhere to the federal Explosives Act [pdf] 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.
This section shows the industries where the majority of people in this occupation work. The data is based on the 2016 Census.
In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups.
In the 7372: Drillers and blasters - surface mining, quarrying and construction occupational group, 88.6% of people work in:
Employment outlook is influenced by a wide variety of factors including:
In Alberta, the 7372: Drillers and blasters - surface mining, quarrying and construction occupational group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 0% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 0 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.
NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.
Alberta Labour and Immigration, Occupational Health and Safety website: www.alberta.ca/occupational-health-safety.aspx
Petro LMI, Careers in Oil + Gas website: careersinoilandgas.com
Natural Resources Canada, Explosives Safety and Security Branch (ESSB) website: nrcan.gc.ca/explosives
Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.
Updated Mar 02, 2021. 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.