Hazard Alert

Blaster dies after blast
prematurely detonated

A blasting crew had drilled holes into some rock outcroppings and loaded these holes with explosives in preparation for blasting. The proper equipment to test and fire the blast was not available at the work site. The blaster used an old discarded line and tried to fire the blast first with a 6-volt flashlight battery and then a truck battery. These attempts failed.

The road foreman stayed at the firing position, while the blaster went to the blast site to investigate why the blast had not detonated. The truck battery was reconnected to the firing line while the blaster was still at the blast site. Two workers began testing the cable — using a 12-volt light bulb — to locate any breaks or poor connections. While they conducted this test, the blast detonated. The blaster was fatally injured.

Safe work practices: image Fatality 2008-01

  • Use only a proper blasting machine to fire the blast. Never use a battery.
  • Do not use a firing line that is broken or damaged and always test the line before use.
  • Always use a blasting
    galvanometer to test the firing line.
  • Appoint a qualified and competent blaster-in-charge who understands the responsibilities of a supervisor.
  • Establish, review, and enforce written safe work procedures for all blasting operations.

Watch a slide show on another blasting incident:
"It was raining rocks" is a short audiovisual presentation on the dangers of fly rock. View the slide show on WorkSafeBC.com (see Publications, Multimedia).

Industry: Construction