What is an Explosives Worker?

Also known as: Explosive Ordnance Handler, Ordnance Handling Expert, Dynamite Shooter, Seismograph Shooter, Explosive Technician, Explosives Technician, Blast Setter, Blaster.

An explosives worker is a highly trained professional who works with volatile substances such as industrial chemicals, weapons and explosive demolition materials. As the name implies, these individuals deal frequently with very dangerous substances and must have exceptional powers of concentration to keep themselves and those around them safe. The mining industry employs explosives workers to set dynamite charges and expose new mineral veins; law enforcement and military applications for an explosives worker may include defusing bombs and rigging land mines. Other explosives workers work in construction and demolition, where they must choose which explosives to use, and where to place them, so that a condemned building collapses safely and quickly.

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What does an Explosives Worker do?

There are many types of explosives workers; the specific tasks required for each position depends heavily on the academic and practical training that a specific worker has completed.

For example, some explosives workers are truck drivers who specialize in transporting these dangerous materials; these drivers must have a special driver's license that allows them to drive with volatile cargo.

Other explosives workers deal more directly with dangerous materials; they may assemble and package professional-quality fireworks or pyrotechnic devices for the film industry, or prepare dynamite charges for the mining industry.

Another type of explosives worker is responsible for actually placing the explosives where they need to go without damaging them or causing them to explode prematurely. Explosives professionals are also often tasked with keeping other nearby workers safe from blasting accidents and chemical spills, and should know how to arrange their explosives so that they accomplish their purpose without harming other workers or civilians in the area.

Many explosives experts are civilians, but others are highly ranked members of the military; in either case, explosives workers who are in any way involved with the military often need special security clearance to do their jobs. This entails a series of extensive background checks and interviews; obtaining the proper clearance can take months; and once an explosives worker has such clearance, it sticks with them even if they change jobs.

What is the workplace of an Explosives Worker like?

Explosives workers may find themselves working in a variety of settings. Those who work in explosives transport will do most of their work from the cab of a truck; they may also need to unload their vehicle, or provide direction to others who will do so. In most areas, working in explosives transport requires a standard driver's license, plus a trucking license and a special certification for transporting extremely dangerous cargo.

These positions are very attractive for individuals who enjoy being outside and don't want to spend hours every day working in an office. Other explosives professionals, such as seismograph shooters and oil well shooters, also spend many working hours outside and may be required to travel extensively for work. Seismograph shooters must often travel far into the wilderness to install underground sensors that will help detect earthquakes; oil well shooters should be comfortable working in water and living on a remote oil rig for weeks or months at a time. Other explosives workers spend most of their working hours in a laboratory environment. This is particularly true of those who are developing new weapons and explosives for construction, demolition and mining operations.

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Further Reading

  • The Duties of an Explosive Expert

    Explosives experts handle a variety of tasks in the construction and mining industries. Depending on employer, they might blast an opening in a mountain for a new highway, demolish an outdated building or open up a new mining shaft.

  • How To Become An Explosives Technician

    Explosives Technicians are experts in handling explosives or bombs and make sure to use precaution in order to protect other people's safety.

  • Explosives Workers, Ordnance Handling Experts, and Blasters

    Expand Few careers leave so little room for error as that of an explosives worker. This is a job with conditions that are not only challenging, but often dangerous.

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