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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 and Explosives

Hazard Overview

Hazard Overview

What is blasting?

Blasting is the use of explosives or blasting agents to cause the fragmentation of materials.

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 is an explosive?

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.

Solutions

Solutions

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?

A-Z safety and health topic pages on confined spaces, noise, personal protective equipment (PPE), silica and hazard communication can provide more resource information. In addition, the NCDOL Library offers free safety and health videos and related research assistance on consensus standards (i.e., ANSI, NFPA, NEC). 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.

Regulations

Regulations

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:

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:

Learn More

Learn More

Where can I learn more?

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 ask.osh@labor.nc.gov or by calling 919-707-7876.