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Blasting and Blaster Certification

Blasting is one of the most feared and least understood aspects of mining operations in Ohio and elsewhere. But on a typical workday, over a quarter million pounds of explosives are safely detonated in Ohio’s quarries and surface coal mines.

The blasts are designed by highly trained and skilled blasters who are certified by the Division of Mineral Resources Management (DMRM) and must meet stringent limits for ground vibration and airblast. The certified blaster must create a detailed record of each blast, including the results of seismographic monitoring and the mining company must maintain those blast records for 3 years.

Refer to the fact sheet, Blasting in Ohio's Quarries and Surface Coal Mines, for more information about ground vibration and airblast limits.

Ohio Blaster Certification

All surface blasting operations in coal and industrial minerals mines, including surface blasting incidental to underground mining and blasting for coal exploration, must be conducted by a certified blaster pursuant to Section 1501:13-9-10 of the Ohio Administrative Code.

To become a certified blaster a person must meet specific experience, training and conduct requirements, and pass a comprehensive written exam. To determine whether you are eligible to take the blaster certification examination, contact the DMRM blasting specialist in the New Philadelphia office at (330) 339-2207.

Required Experience

A person must have worked on a blasting crew for at least two years in mining, excavation, or an equivalent working environment.

Beyond a basic knowledge of safety in the handling of explosives, the knowledge and skills required for mine blasting cannot be acquired from demolition blasting or bomb or ordnance disposal.

Expiration and Renewal

A blaster's certification will expire in 3 years, but a blaster may apply for renewal up to 90 days before the expiration date. The requirements for renewal, which include at least 24 hours of continuing education, may be found in the Blaster Certification Renewal Application.

Blasting for Construction or Demolition Projects

ODNR receives questions from contractors and consultants regarding what they must do to legally use explosives in Ohio for:

  • fracturing bedrock for foundations and utility lines
  • tunneling through bedrock
  • highway construction
  • demolition of buildings and bridges
  • other projects not related to mining

The following points address those concerns.

  • ODNR has no authority to regulate NON-mining uses of explosives.
  • The type of personal blaster certification offered by the Division of Mineral Resources Management (an ODNR agency) is specific to surface blasting in quarries and coal mines. It is NOT required for blasting associated with construction or demolition projects.
  • For non-mining uses of explosives, ODNR recommends that the blasting contractor or independent blaster:
    • Check for and abide by local blasting ordinances.
    • Have all required federal ATF explosives licenses/permits.
    • Check with the local sheriff department for user-type permits that might be required in the county where the project will be.
    • Call the Ohio fire marshal to obtain the necessary permit if explosives will be stored at the project site.
    • Comply with all federal OSHA requirements applicable to the project.
    • Consider applying industry-standard ground vibration and airblast limits and seismographic monitoring at the nearest protected structures and dwellings.
    • Keep accurate, detailed records of all blasts well beyond the life of the project.
    • Check for and follow all blasting specifications in the approved project plans. Note that for all highway construction projects under the authority of the Ohio Department of Transportation that require blasting, you will find blasting specifications.

Blasting for Oil and Gas Exploration & Development

ODNR receives questions from contractors and consultants regarding what they must do to legally use explosives in Ohio for:

  • loading and detonating shotholes for seismic exploration
  • perforating the steel casings in the horizontal portions of new wells (to enable fracking)
  • blasting bedrock to develop level drilling sites.

The following points address those concerns.

  • ODNR has no authority to regulate NON-mine uses of explosives.
  • The type of personal blaster certification offered by the Division of Mineral Resources Management (an ODNR agency) is specific to surface blasting in quarries and coal mines. It is NOT required for blasting associated with oil & gas exploration and development.
  • For non-mine uses of explosives, ODNR recommends that the blasting contractor or independent blaster:
    • Check for and abide by local blasting ordinances.
    • Have all required federal ATF explosives licenses/permits.
    • Check with the local sheriff department for user-type permits that might be required in the county where the project will be.
    • Call the Ohio fire marshal to obtain the necessary permit if explosives will be stored at the project site.
    • For seismic shotholes, the contractor should also consider the safety and security of the small charges and detonators that are sometimes left in the ground for days or weeks before they are detonated.
    • For construction-type blasting (e.g., to level the bedrock for a drilling pad), the contractor should also consider applying industry-standard ground vibration and airblast limits and seismographic monitoring at the nearest protected structures and dwellings.