OHS Code Explanation Guide

Published Date: July 01, 2009
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Part 33 Explosives Safety

Section 468 Blasters

Subsection 468(1)

The intent of the blaster’s permit system is to set the minimum competency requirements for workers who use explosives at a work site. The OHS Code defines the handling of explosives to include “preparing, loading, firing, burning or destroying explosives or detonators”.

Reflecting this definition and the requirements of this section, a worker engaged in the preparation, firing, burning or destruction of explosives is required to either hold a valid blaster’s permit or be under the direct supervision of a person who holds a valid blaster’s permit. The term “direct supervision” means

(a) the worker being supervised is under the personal and continuous visual supervision of the blaster – the two workers must be capable of interacting with one another on a one-on-one basis and must maintain visual contact with one another throughout the performance of the work for which direct supervision is required; and

(b) the two workers must be able to readily and clearly communicate with each other – in noisy or distracting circumstances, hand signals may be appropriate. These signals must be clearly understood by both workers.

The employer is responsible for making sure that these requirements are met and that blasters have a valid blaster’s permit.

Two additional situations can arise in which a worker is not required to have a blaster’s permit:
(1) a worker transporting explosives; and
(2) a worker designated by an employer who delivers explosives to, and/or collects unused explosives from, a blaster(s) at a work site.

The employer must ensure that the worker transporting or delivering/collecting the explosives is competent and trained to do the work safely. The worker must also meet all of the federal government’s requirements under the Dangerous Goods Transportation and Handling Act and Explosives Act (Canada) when transporting explosives.

Subsection 468(2)

The employer is responsible for making sure that the blasting area – the area extending at least 50 metres in all directions from any place in which explosives are being prepared, fired, destroyed or in which armed charges are known or believed to exist – is under the direction and control of a blaster. A blaster has the knowledge, training and experience required to safely direct and control activities taking place in the area. The blaster must have a valid Blaster’s permit.

Subsection 468(3)

At work sites where there is more than one blaster with a valid blaster’s permit, the employer must designate one blaster to be in charge of all blasting operations. Well-defined control and management of the blasting area is critical to worker safety. Specific individuals must be designated to make decisions and be accountable for work practices and safety at the work site. To avoid problems related to communication and responsibility, one blaster must be designated as the “blaster-in-charge”.

Subsection 468(4)

The blaster must have direction and control of the blasting area. All work involving blasting must be done according to the employer’s written safe work procedures (see section 467) and current safety regulations.

The blaster and other workers are required to use the safeguards, safety appliances, personal protective equipment and other devices required by the OHS Code.