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Details for Explosives Workers, Ordnance Handling Experts, and Blasters


Place and detonate explosives to demolish structures or to loosen, remove, or displace earth, rock, or other materials. May perform specialized handling, storage, and accounting procedures. Includes seismograph shooters.


  • Examine blast areas to determine amounts and kinds of explosive charges needed and to ensure that safety laws are observed.
  • Tie specified lengths of delaying fuses into patterns in order to time sequences of explosions.
  • Place safety cones around blast areas to alert other workers of danger zones, and signal workers as necessary to ensure that they clear blast sites prior to explosions.
  • Place explosive charges in holes or other spots; then detonate explosives to demolish structures or to loosen, remove, or displace earth, rock, or other materials.
  • Insert, pack, and pour explosives, such as dynamite, ammonium nitrate, black powder, or slurries into blast holes; then shovel drill cuttings, admit water into boreholes, and tamp material to compact charges.
  • Mark patterns, locations, and depths of charge holes for drilling, and issue drilling instructions.
  • Compile and keep gun and explosives records in compliance with local and federal laws.
  • Measure depths of drilled blast holes, using weighted tape measures.
  • Connect electrical wire to primers, and cover charges or fill blast holes with clay, drill chips, sand, or other material.
  • Lay primacord between rows of charged blast holes, and tie cord into main lines to form blast patterns.
  • Assemble and position equipment, explosives, and blasting caps in holes at specified depths, or load perforating guns or torpedoes with explosives.
  • Verify detonation of charges by observing control panels, or by listening for the sounds of blasts.
  • Move and store inventories of explosives, loaded perforating guns, and other materials, according to established safety procedures.
  • Light fuses, drop detonating devices into wells or boreholes, or activate firing devices with plungers, dials, or buttons, in order to set off single or multiple blasts.
  • Drive trucks to transport explosives and blasting equipment to blasting sites.
  • Cut specified lengths of primacord and attach primers to cord ends.
  • Maintain inventory levels, ordering new supplies as necessary.
  • Set up and operate equipment such as hoists, jackhammers, or drills, in order to bore charge holes.
  • Repair and service blasting, shooting, and automotive equipment, and electrical wiring and instruments, using hand tools.
  • Set up and operate short-wave radio or field telephone equipment to transmit and receive blast information.
  • Insert waterproof sealers, bullets, and/or powder charges into guns, and screw gun ports back into place.
  • Clean, gauge, and lubricate gun ports.
  • Connect gun chambers to electric detonating devices, and operate controls at panelboards, in order to detonate charges in guns or to ignite chemical charges.
  • Lower perforating guns into wells, using hoists; then use measuring devices and instrument panels to position guns in correct positions for taking samples.
  • Insert powder charges into chambers of sidewall sample-taking cylinders, and assemble cylinders, using special wrenches.
  • Obtain samples of earth from sidewalls of well boreholes, using electrically exploding devices.
  • Signal hoist operators to lower torpedoes or sample-taking guns into wells and to raise equipment for sampling from blast holes after detonation.
  • Observe odometers, weight indicators, and instrument panels in trucks in order to position guns at predetermined points in wells.
  • Repair electrical instruments, using electricians' hand tools.


  • Realistic - Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
  • Investigative - Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
  • Conventional - Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Education, Training, Experience

  • Education - These occupations usually require a high school diploma.
  • Training - Employees in these occupations need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.
  • Experience - Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is usually needed. For example, a teller would benefit from experience working directly with the public.



  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Coordination - Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.

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