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Blaster/Explosives Worker  What They Do

Just the Facts


Places and detonates explosives to demolish structures or to loosen, remove, or displace earth, rock, or other materials. May perform specialized handling, storage, and accounting procedures.

This career is part of the Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources cluster Power, Structural and Technical Systems pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Examines blast areas to determine amounts and kinds of explosive charges needed and to ensure that safety laws are observed.
  • Ties specified lengths of delaying fuses into patterns in order to time sequences of explosions.
  • Places safety cones around blast areas to alert other workers of danger zones, and signals workers as necessary to ensure that they clear blast sites prior to explosions.
  • Places explosive charges in holes or other spots; then detonates explosives to demolish structures or to loosen, remove, or displace earth, rock, or other materials.
  • Inserts, packs, and pours explosives, such as dynamite, ammonium nitrate, black powder, or slurries into blast holes; then shovels drill cuttings, admits water into boreholes, and tamps material to compact charges.
  • Compiles and keeps gun and explosives records in compliance with local and federal laws.
  • Marks patterns, locations, and depths of charge holes for drilling, and issues drilling instructions.
  • Measures depths of drilled blast holes, using weighted tape measures.
  • Connects electrical wire to primers, and covers charges or fills blast holes with clay, drill chips, sand, or other material.
  • Lays primacord between rows of charged blast holes, and ties cord into main lines to form blast patterns.

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 20 lbs., sometimes up to 50 lbs. You might do a lot of lifting, carrying, pushing or pulling.
  • Work in this occupation involves bending or twisting your body more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves use of protective items such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hearing protection, a hard hat, or personal flotation devices
  • Exposure to pollutants, gases, dust, fumes, odors, poor ventilation, etc.
  • Lighting is either extremely bright or inadequate
  • Conditions are very hot (above 90 F) or very cold (under 32 F)
  • Work in this occupation involves using your hands to hold, control, and feel objects more than one-third of the time
  • Exposed to conditions such as high voltage electricity, combustibles, explosives, and chemicals more than once a month
  • Exposed to hazardous equipment such as saws, machinery, or vehicular traffic more than once a month
  • Sound and noise levels are loud and distracting
  • Work in this occupation requires being outside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves making repetitive motions more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves standing more than one-third of the time
  • Whole body vibrations, such as when operating a jackhammer
  • Work in this occupation involves walking or running more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Identifying color and seeing differences in color, including shades and brightness
  • Judging how far away an object is, or which of several objects is closer or farther away
  • Bending, stretching, twisting, or reaching
  • Seeing clearly at a distance
  • Detecting sounds and hearing the differences between sounds of different pitch and loudness
  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person
  • Lifting, pushing, pulling, or carrying objects
  • Using abdominal and lower back muscles repeatedly or over time without tiring

Work Hours and Travel

  • Overnight travel

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Aircraft Ordnance Technician -- Performs a variety of duties and tasks such as inspecting ammunition, testing aircraft systems, performing preventive maintenance and effecting repairs, loading and fusing ammunition and arming/dearming aircraft.
  • Bomb Technician -- Inspects, deactivates and safely removes explosive devices.
  • Dynamite Shooter --
  • Explosive Ordnance Technician --
  • Gun Perforator Loader --
  • Shot Fireman --