This page pertains to the use of explosives for blasting operations in construction. The manufacture, use and storage of explosives for other than construction-related tasks is discussed in the explosives safety and health topic page.
Blasting is the use of explosives or blasting agents to cause the fragmentation of materials.
An explosive is any chemical compound, mixture or device, for which the primary or common purpose is to function by exploding, i.e., with a substantially instantaneous release of gas and heat, unless specifically classified by the US Department of Transportation as a Class A, Class B or Class C explosive.
What is a blasting agent?
A blasting agent is any material or mixture, consisting of a fuel and oxidizer, intended for blasting, not otherwise classified as an explosive and in which none of the ingredients are classified as an explosive, provided that the finished product, as mixed and packaged for use or shipment, cannot be detonated by means of a No. 8 test blasting cap when unconfined.
What are the hazards?
Explosives are chemicals compounds, mixtures or devices that will detonate or deflagrate when supplied with sufficient initiating energy. Failure to properly recognize unsafe conditions and to take steps to mitigate the hazards can result in unexpected circumstances that can, and do, result in injury or death.
What can I do to protect myself?
Do not handle explosives or blasting agents, blasting caps or detonators unless you have been properly trained and are authorized to use them. Observe all warnings about nearby blasting and remain clear of the blast area until authorized to enter.
What resources are available to assist employers?
Safety and Health Programs
These example programs, hazard communication and PPE and hazard analysis, can assist the employer with their hazard communication program and identifying the appropriate personal protective equipment required in the workplace.
Training and Outreach Services
Presentations on hazard communication and personal protective equipment (general industry and construction) can assist employers in training their staff. These presentations should be modified to address site-specific conditions and hazards.
In addition, the education, training and technical assistance bureau provides free online safety and health training and outreach services (i.e., speaker's bureau requests, safety booths) upon request.
Lastly, the NCDOL Library offers free safety and health videos (including streaming video services) and related research assistance on consensus standards (i.e., ANSI, NFPA, NEC).
A-Z Safety and Health Topics
The consultative services bureau provides free and confidential onsite consultation regarding worksite safety and health hazards.
Which standards apply?
OSH has adopted the following construction standards for explosives and blasting in North Carolina with additions and amendments by a state-specific rule. Note: Please also check the standards information and activity webpage to see if there has been any recent or upcoming regulatory activity on this topic.
|29 CFR 1926 Subpart U
|13 NCAC 07F .0700
|Blasting and Use of Explosives
|29 CFR 1926.900
|13 NCAC 07F .0703
|29 CFR 1926.901
|13 NCAC 07F .0704
|29 CFR 1926.902
|13 NCAC 07F .0705
|surface transportation of explosives
|29 CFR 1926.903
|13 NCAC 07F .0706
|underground transportation of explosives
|29 CFR 1926.904
|13 NCAC 07F .0707
|storage of explosives and blasting agents
|29 CFR 1926.905
|13 NCAC 07F .0708
|loading of explosives or blasting agents
|29 CFR 1926.906
|13 NCAC 07F .0709
|initiation of explosive charges - electric blasting
|29 CFR 1926.907
|13 NCAC 07F .0710
|use of safety fuse
|29 CFR 1926.908
|13 NCAC 07F .0711
|use of detonating cord (and shock tube)
|29 CFR 1926.909
|13 NCAC 07F .0712
|firing the blast
|29 CFR 1926.910
|13 NCAC 07F .0713
|inspection after blasting
|29 CFR 1926.911
|13 NCAC 07F .0714
|29 CFR 1926.912
|13 NCAC 07F .0715
|29 CFR 1926.913
|13 NCAC 07F .0716
|blasting in excavation work under compressed air
|29 CFR 1926.914
|13 NCAC 07F .0702
Additional OSH standards relevant to explosives and blasting include the following:
29 CFR 1926.21 - safety training and education
29 CFR 1926.33 (29 CFR 1910.1020) - access to employee exposure and medical records
29 CFR 1926.59 (29 CFR 1910.1200) - hazard communication
29 CFR 1926.850 - selective demolition by explosives
29 CFR 1926.1153 - respirable crystalline silica
Other Applicable Standards
The Which OSHA Standards Apply webpage can help identify other standards that may be applicable to your worksite.
Where can I learn more?
Industry Guide 48 - OSHA Construction Industry Standards Requiring Programs, Inspections, Procedures, Records and/or Training provides requirements for standards related to blasting and explosives in construction.
Industry Guide 49 - OSHA General Industry Standards Requiring Programs, Inspections, Procedures, Records and/or Training provides requirements for standards related to blasting and explosives in general industry.
Operational Procedure Notice (OPN) 129: Interim Inspection Procedures for Blasting Operations in the Construction Industry, establishes the enforcement policy and provides an explanation of the standards to ensure uniform enforcement.
If you would like to receive interpretive guidance on this or any other OSH standard or topic, you can submit your questions using the Ask OSH web form, by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 919-707-7876.