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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.
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.
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.
An explosives worker that works in the mining, construction or demolition industry needs to have a four-year bachelor's degree in a relevant field, such as engineering, mining, materials science or construction. If working for the military, just a high school diploma will suffice, as there will be training provided.
Explosives workers must have significant experience in chemistry and engineering. Demolition work is the most obvious example of this; an explosives professional who plans and executes structural collapses must thoroughly understand the materials that need to be demolished, the structural forces at play and the proper composition and placement of the explosive charges used to accomplish this.
The qualifications required for a career as an explosives worker depends largely on the specific type of work involved. All explosives workers must have a thorough understanding of the explosives with which they're working, and must know how to handle, assemble and/or transport those substances without causing harm to themselves or others. Due to the dangerous nature of this type of work, explosives workers must be able to concentrate in stressful, dangerous and potentially frightening situations, even when they are mentally and physically exhausted. They must have an excellent memory for details and be able to remember the properties and handling procedures for different explosive components.
Explosives workers must be able to synthesize data from a variety of sources and make executive decisions based on that information; they must be able to do this quickly and effectively to keep themselves and everyone else as safe as possible at all times. Explosives professionals must also be able to examine data and determine, quickly and accurately, if a job site conforms to current safety standards and regulations.
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.
Explosives Technicians are experts in handling explosives or bombs and make sure to use precaution in order to protect other people's safety.
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.