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Essential Skills
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Drillers and blasters are employed by mining, quarrying and construction companies and by drilling and blasting contractors.

Careers in Skilled Trades: Driller/Blaster

Ask yourself: Are you strong and fit? Do you like working independently and scheduling your own hours? Are you motivated, self-reliant and dependable? Do you enjoy travel and working outdoors? Would you like working with machines?

If the answer to these questions is yes, then a career as a Driller/Blaster could be right for you.

Drillers and blasters work closely together, and often perform both drilling and blasting activities. Drillers operate mobile drilling machines to bore holes in open-pit mines and quarries, and to bore holes for blasting and for building foundations at construction sites. Blasters fill blast holes with explosives and detonate explosives to dislodge coal, ore and rock or to demolish structures.

Drillers and blasters are employed by mining, quarrying and construction companies and by drilling and blasting contractors.

Duties

As a Driller, your duties may include some or all of the following:

  • Driving and operating drilling machines to bore large blast holes in open-pit mines, quarries or on construction sites, or to drill holes for building foundations or pilings
  • Loading blast holes with explosives and detonating explosives to dislodge coal, ore or rock
  • Measuring locations and identifying holes to be drilled

As a Blaster, your duties may include the following:

  • Drilling blast holes
  • Loading explosives in blast holes by hand, or directing bulk explosives trucks to load holes
  • Connecting electrical wires, detonating cords or fuses into series and connecting the series to blasting machines
  • Detonating charges
  • Conducting field tests to determine the type and quantity of explosives required
  • Directing the drilling of blast holes and determining the depth and diameter of blast holes
  • Handling, storing and transporting explosives and accessories
  • Reading and interpreting instructions or diagrams

Work Conditions

There is no standard work week for drillers and blasters. Their hours of work may vary because some jobs must continue non-stop until completed.

Drillers and blasters work outdoors and usually travel to various work sites. They often work closely with other crew members to coordinate responsibilities and communicate progress.

The work is challenging – it can be strenuous and noisy. It also requires a lot of focus because you must gauge and control the drilling process.

As with all careers in the construction industry, safety is the top priority. Drillers and blasters are trained to work safely and wear special equipment to protect against injury.

Training and Certification

Certification is not required, but it is recommended and is available in most provinces and territories. Certification tells employers and other workers that you are a skilled professional. It also helps you get jobs.

In addition to certification, a provincial blasting licence is usually required.

To keep their skills current, drillers and blasters must to keep up with new technology developments by reading and talking with others in their field.

Info compiled from Careers in Construction

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