Blasting and Explosives

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.

Blasting and Explosives

Tab/Accordion Items

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, hearing conservation program 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. Other example safety and health programs are available for employers to download and adapt to their specific conditions. 

Training and Outreach Services

Presentations on hazard communication, occupational noise exposure, silica (general industry and construction)  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. Other example presentations are available along with pre-recorded webinars which can be accessed at any time. 

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).

Safety and Health Topics

The following safety and health topic pages on noise, personal protective equipment (PPE), silica, explosives and hazard communication can provide more resource information. 

Consultation Services

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.   This is not all inclusive.

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 general provisions
29 CFR 1926.901 13 NCAC 07F .0704 blaster qualifications
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 misfires
29 CFR 1926.912 13 NCAC 07F .0715 underwater blasting
29 CFR 1926.913 13 NCAC 07F .0716 blasting in excavation work under compressed air
29 CFR 1926.914 13 NCAC 07F .0702 definitions

Additional OSH standards relevant to explosives and blasting include the following:



Other Applicable Standards

The Which OSHA Standards Apply webpage can help identify other standards that may also be applicable to your worksite.

Where can I learn more?

Industry Guides

Compliance Documents

Technical Assistance

Inquiries about workplace safety and health requirements can be submitted to Ask OSH through the online form, by email to, or by phone at 919-707-7876.