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Guidelines Part 21

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Guidelines Part 21 Contents

GENERAL REQUIREMENTS

  G21.3 Dangerous incident reports
  G21.4 Blasting log
  G21.5 Authority to blast
  G21.7 Training

CERTIFICATION

  G21.8 Certification - Qualifications
  G21.10 Examinations [Withdrawn October 26, 2011]
  G21.12 Custody of certificates
  G21.15 Suspension of certificates

STORAGE

  G21.16 Detonators

TRANSPORTATION

  G21.23 Flammable materials
  G21.25(b)(v) Mobile drilling rigs
  G21.27 Contact with metal
  G21.28 Emergency procedures

HANDLING EXPLOSIVES

  G21.39 Abandoned explosives

DRILLING

  G21.42 Predrilling requirements

LOADING

  G21.53 Connecting detonating cord

SAFETY FUSE INITIATION

  G21.56 Safety fuse initiation
  G21.57 Lighting safety fuse

ELECTRICAL INITIATION

  G21.62 Mobile transmitters
  G21.64 Initiating a blast in accordance with safe work practices
  G21.65 Firing from power lines

FIRING

  G21.69 Blasting signals

RETURNING TO THE BLAST SITE

  G21.73 Misfires

MISFIRE PROCEDURES

  G21.75 Unfired explosives

SPECIALIZED BLASTING OPERATIONS

  G21.83 Special effects blasting
  G21.85(1)-1 Board acceptance of procedures for avalanche control
  Supplementary Material: Guide for Writing Avalanche Control Blasting Procedures (PDF 93 KB)
  G21.85(1)-2 Assessment of Avalauncher device safety in proposed work procedures
  G21.85(3) Safety fuse ignition system

Guidelines Part 21 - General requirements

G21.3 Dangerous incident reports

Issued August 1999, Editorial Revision July 2004

Section 21.3(1) of the OHS Regulation states that "if a blasting accident occurs which causes personal injury, or if there is any other dangerous incident involving explosives, whether or not there is personal injury, the employer must

(a) report the incident immediately to the board, and

(b) forward a written report of the incident to the board without undue delay."

Note: Section 21.3(1) is an example of an incident that must be reported in accordance with section 172(1)(d) of the Workers Compensation Act. The specific requirements of section 21.3 which apply to blasting incidents should be referenced on inspection reports where applicable, rather than the general requirement of section 172(1)(d) of the Workers Compensation Act.

A "dangerous incident" includes problems with particular products, for example, repeating or suspicious misfires or premature detonations.

"Without delay" means that the report should be submitted within 3 days of the incident unless the particular circumstances of the operation prevent this. The report should be submitted to the nearest Board office, which will forward a copy to the Blasting Coordinator.

Section 21.3(2) lists the information that must be provided, including "a factual account of events including the blaster's log records". This information should include the lot numbers of the product, if there is a perceived problem with the product being used.

Note: See OHS Guideline 21.83 for information on the procedure for investigating incidents, accidents and dangerous or unusual occurrences involving blasters certified by Explosives Regulatory Division of Natural Resources Canada.

G21.4 Blasting log

Issued August 1999

Section 21.4(1) of the OHS Regulation provides that "the blaster of record must record in a log the preblast loading details and the results of the postblast site inspection". The "blaster of record" is defined in section 21.1 as the "blaster who is designated to be in charge of a blasting operation". This person must complete the log in person; it cannot be assigned to another.

The blasting log may consist of a proposed blasting plan, if a separate record of the actual details is kept, or the plan amended or updated during the actual operations.

Repetitive single shots, uniformly placed to specific depths and of a standard size, may be recorded altogether at the end of the shift, if there is no chance of omitting a charge or charge detail. In addition to the main log, section 21.4(4) states that "the blaster must maintain a personal log of all blasting work that the blaster has performed". This log may be used or required to establish proof of experience when seeking certification under section 21.8. The blaster's helper should also have copies for future certification application.

Only the log for the current operation needs to be available at the blast site.

G21.5 Authority to blast

Issued August 1999; Revised September 21, 2011

Regulatory excerpt
Section 21.5 of the OHS Regulation ("Regulation") states:

(1) Only the holder of a valid blaster's certificate issued by the Board or acceptable to the Board is permitted to conduct or direct a blasting operation, and then only if the work involved is within the scope of that certificate.

(2) All work within the blasting area must be done under the authorization of the designated blaster of record responsible for that area.

(3) A blaster may be assisted by persons who do not hold blaster's certificates, but the blaster must have authority over the assistants and must exercise visual supervision over them and be responsible for their work during explosive loading, priming, fixing or firing.

Purpose of guideline
The purpose of this guideline is to set out the blaster's certificates that are acceptable to WorkSafeBC under section 21.5 of the Regulation.

Seismic blasting and/or oil well perforating
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has been signed by WorkSafeBC and regulatory agencies in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Yukon, the Northwest Territories, and Nunavut, which are members of the Interprovincial Blaster Harmonization Committee (IBHC). The MOU states that each agency will enforce the regulations and policies within respective jurisdictional boundaries, but all agree to recognize Enform as the common agency responsible for the administration and certification of seismic and oil well perforating blasting certificates. The certificates issued by Enform will be recognized as valid blaster's certificates by every jurisdiction signing the MOU.

The MOU also states that a suspension or revocation of a blaster's certification in one jurisdiction will result in suspension or revocation in all jurisdictions. Enform will coordinate the passage of information to all jurisdictions, through the chair of the IBHC, regarding graduation, certification, incidents, accidents, sanctions, suspension, and revocation.

A blaster's certificate endorsed for either seismic or oil well perforating issued by WorkSafeBC will still be valid for this type of blasting within British Columbia, but will not be recognized within the other jurisdictions. However, it may be recognized as proof of experience pursuant to the Agreement on Internal Trade or the Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement.

Pyrotechnic blasting in the performing arts and film industry
An MOU has been reached between WorkSafeBC and the Explosives Regulatory Division, Natural Resources Canada ("Explosives Branch") to recognize one common certification program that will ease the administrative burden for the two agencies and allow worker relocation within the industry. The MOU states that WorkSafeBC will recognize the certification issued by the Explosives Branch. The Explosives Branch agrees to allocate time for selected WorkSafeBC prevention officers to present the requirements of the Regulation during training programs conducted in British Columbia for the subject industries.

The parties agree to notify each other immediately of the occurrence of any incidents, accidents, sanctions, suspensions, and revocations. The parties also agree that WorkSafeBC will have primary responsibility over the site of any workplace incident but the parties will jointly investigate any accident, incident, or dangerous or unusual occurrence.

See Guideline G21.83 for information contained in Addendum 1 of the MOU that outlines the procedures for prevention officers investigating a complaint or incident involving pyrotechnic blasting in the film or performing arts industry.

G21.7 Training

Issued August 1999

Section 21.7 of the OHS Regulation states that "A worker engaged in loading, unloading, or conveying explosives must be trained in the proper means for handling the explosives, the hazards of fire and mishandling and the procedures to follow in the event of a fire or explosion".

Section 21.5 outlines the requirements for workers who may conduct, supervise or assist during a blasting operation. Section 21.7 applies to workers transporting or handling explosives for the purpose of transporting explosives. The federal Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act (Section 9.2) and regulations require that all workers engaged in these activities be appropriately trained. Workers must have a "Certificate of Training" and proof of certification must be on the worksite under that Act.

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Guidelines Part 21 - Certification

G21.8 Certification - Qualifications

Issued August 1999; Revised October 2005; Revised September 30, 2009; Editorial Revision June 15, 2012

Regulatory excerpt
Section 21.8 of the OHS Regulation ("Regulation") states;

A candidate for a blaster's certificate must

(a) be at least 18 years of age,

(b) demonstrate a satisfactory knowledge of the English language, both written and spoken,

(c) be physically capable of safely carrying out the duties of a blaster, and

(d) forward written proof acceptable to the examining officer that

(i) the candidate has had at least 6 months experience in blasting operations as an assistant to a blaster, and/or

(ii) the candidate's character, knowledge, qualifications and experience would make the candidate competent to handle explosives.

Purpose of guideline
The purpose of this guideline is to outline proof acceptable under section 21.8(d) of the Regulation.

Proof of experience and character
The sources of written proof under section 21.8(d) that may be acceptable, in descending order of preference, are

(a) a signed letter or statement attesting to the candidate's experience, knowledge, and character from the following:

(i) the candidate's employer or former employer; or

(ii) a person holding a valid WorkSafeBC blaster's certificate with whom the candidate has worked, or

(b) a statutory declaration signed in the presence of a person authorized to administer an oath, containing the following information:

(i) name of employer;

(ii) locations of blasting operations;

(iii) time employed as helper and/or blaster;

(iv) type of explosive materials handled; and

(v) type of blasting methods employed.

To be acceptable, any written proof of experience will clearly indicate the candidate

(a) Has at least six months practical experience at blasting, or as an assistant to a blaster.

(b) Is competent and knowledgeable in handling and use of explosive materials.

If the candidate does not have the required experience in the area where the candidate wishes to be certified, the Manager of Certification Services responsible for blasting may accept alternative training programs and experience. The candidate should give details of these alternatives in the application. They should cover both the theoretical and practical aspects. No examination or certification will be conducted by the candidate until the application is approved by the Manager of Certification Services.

Out of province blasters
Blasters who possess a trade qualification or other valid certificate as required by a regulatory authority in another province or territory in Canada do not need to undergo further testing or assessment. However, in order to receive a B.C. blaster's certificate, out-of-province blasters are required to apply to WorkSafeBC's Certification Services department and complete a review of a "jurisprudence package" which outlines regulatory requirements and safe work practices applicable in B.C. The blaster will then be issued a B.C. certificate with an out-of-jurisdiction notation on it for their applicable area of blasting.

Certificate restrictions
A blaster's certificate will normally be issued for a period of five years, and may be endorsed with any restriction that WorkSafeBC deems necessary. Certificates may be restricted for a period that is less than five years. This may happen, for example, where the applicant has only the minimum of required experience, his or her experience is from several years ago, or the experience is in a different area from where the applicant proposed to blast.

G21.10 Examinations

Issued August 1999; Revised October 2005; Withdrawn October 26, 2011

G21.12 Custody of certificates

Issued August 1999; Revised October 2005; Editorial Revision June 15, 2012

Regulatory excerpt
Section 21.12 of the OHS Regulation states:

(1) A blaster must retain his or her certificate and must keep it in a safe place at the worksite while carrying out the duties of a blaster.
(2) The blaster's certificate must be produced for inspection on the request of an officer.
(3) A copy of a blaster's certificate is not acceptable as proof of certification.

Purpose of guideline
The purpose of this guideline is to describe WorkSafeBC's procedures for issuing replacement certificates and extended certificates for blasters.

Issue of Replacement Certificates
Where the person who conducts or directs a blasting operation does not possess a blaster's certificate because it is claimed to be damaged or lost, a WorkSafeBC prevention officer will verify the certification of that person with the Certification Services department of WorkSafeBC. WorkSafeBC may issue a replacement certificate.

If the person is certified, the prevention officer will issue an Inspection Report containing words to the following effect:

"(Blaster's Name), who is certified (Certificate #____________) to conduct (type of) blasting until (expiry date) was not in possession of a blaster's certificate as required by s. 21.12 of the OHS Regulation. Within 5 days, submit a written request for a replacement certificate to Certification Services in the Richmond office of WorkSafeBC."

The replacement certificate will expire on the same date the original certificate would have expired. A provisional certificate may be issued by a prevention officer, but a replacement blaster's certificate will only be issued by Certification Services.

Issue of Extended Certificates
In order to extend a certificate, an examining officer may issue a provisional certificate for a period not to exceed 60 days if a blaster's certificate has not expired and:

(a) an examination is impracticable.
(b) a delay and reexamination would threaten the blaster's employment status.

A provisional certificate will not be issued:

(a) Until a check has been made of the blaster's permanent file in WorkSafeBC's Richmond office.
(b) If the original has expired.
(c) If there is reason to believe that the holder would be incapable of safely performing the duties of a blaster.

G21.15 Suspension of certificates

Issued August 1999; Revised October 2005; Revised October 22, 2010; Revised September 21, 2011; Preliminary Revision March 24, 2014

Regulatory excerpt
Section 21.15 of the OHS Regulation ("Regulation") states:

An officer may seize and forward to the Board a blaster's certificate if there is reason to believe that the safety of any person may be or has been endangered by the blaster.

Section 195 (Part 3) of the Workers Compensation Act ("Act") states:

(1) If the Board has reasonable grounds for believing that a person who holds a certificate issued under this Part or the regulations has breached a term or condition of the certificate or has otherwise contravened a provision of this Part or the regulations, the Board may, by order,

(a) cancel or suspend the certificate, or

(b) place a condition on the use of that certificate that the Board considers is necessary in the circumstances.

(2) An order under this section suspending a certificate must specify the length of time that the suspension is in effect or the condition that must be met before the suspension is no longer in effect.

Purpose of guideline
The purpose of this guideline is to outline some blasting practices that may endanger the safety of a person and are therefore grounds for seizing a blaster's certificate under section 21.15 of the Regulation. It also describes the process of seizing a certificate and the recourse of the blaster if the certificate is amended, restricted, suspended, or cancelled.

Blasting practices that may endanger the safety of a person The following are examples of practices that may endanger the safety of a person:

  • Smoking while handling explosives. This includes a blaster smoking while handling explosives, or permitting others to do so
  • Using less than three feet (900 millimetres) of safety fuse to fire any shot
  • Introducing a drill steel, or any other metal object, into a loaded hole
  • Withdrawing explosives (other than ammonium nitrate/fuel oil (AN/FO) or slurries which may be washed out) from a loaded hole
  • Using anything other than an approved blasting machine or safety switch
  • Failing to adequately guard a blast or to ensure the danger area was clear of workers and other persons
  • Carrying blasting caps or explosives in clothing pockets, or permitting helpers or other workers to carry explosives in a similar manner
  • Storing blasting caps in a explosives magazine - or with explosives at any time
  • Transporting explosives with personnel, other than those assigned to assist in handling the explosives
  • Firing multiple electrical blasts without testing the circuit or circuits by use of an instrument acceptable to WorkSafeBC
  • Abandoning explosives
  • Failing to check a blast site adequately after the blast to ensure that no misfired or unfired charges remain and that workers are protected from loose rock or other materials that pose a hazard
  • Failure to use adequate cover or other effective means to control the blast and protect persons and/or property from flying material (refer to section 21.66 of the Regulation)
  • The blaster conducting himself/herself in such a way that poses an unreasonable threat to the safety and well-being of other workers or the public
  • Carrying out unsafe practices in contravention to manufacturer's recommendations and instructions (refer to section 4.3 and section 21.36 of the Regulation e.g., electrical blasting caps must be initiated in a manner recommended by the manufacturer)

Procedures for seizing certificates
WorkSafeBC prevention officers seizing a certificate under section 21.15 must issue an Order to Worker ("OtW") report citing section 21.15 and outlining the non-compliant action(s) of the blaster to support the seizure of the certificate. Further information is provided in OHS Guideline G-D3-116 (Appendix - Procedural Directions When Issuing an OtW).

When a prevention officer takes possession of a blaster's certificate for cause, the prevention officer should contact Certification Services and forward the following information, or items, or materials to the manager of Certification Services within seven days:

  • The certificate
  • The detailed statement of the circumstances and the nature of the infraction (including witness statements, photos, and incident reports if available)
  • The document number of the applicable OtW and any related inspection reports

Both the blaster and/or employer may also provide a written statement to the prevention officer, which the prevention officer will forward with the certificate.

Enform certificates, which are issued for seismic blasting and/or oil well perforating, are specific to the oil and gas industry (refer to OHS Guideline G21.5). Prevention officers seizing an Enform certificate must also issue an OtW report to the blaster. The Enform certificate and the Enform attendance certificate must be seized together and forwarded to the manager of Certification Services within seven days according to the above procedure.

Amending, restricting, suspending, or cancelling a blasting certificate
The manager of Certification Services may become aware of additional reasons for amending, restricting, suspending, or cancelling a blasting certificate as a result of a seizure under section 21.15 of the Regulation or from other sources. The manager of Certification Services will ensure that an investigation of the circumstances is carried out. Based on the outcome of the investigation, the manager of Certification Services will determine whether to amend, restrict, suspend, or cancel the certificate. When WorkSafeBC is considering or has taken action in accordance with section 195 of the Act, the person affected will be provided with an opportunity to make representation to WorkSafeBC.

The manager of Certification Services will advise the blaster or affected person of the reason for any decision in writing. A person aggrieved has a right to a review of the decision within 90 days. A final decision made by a review officer regarding section 195 of the Act (orders to amend, restrict, suspend, or cancel a certificate) may be appealed to the Workers' Compensation Appeal Tribunal ("WCAT").

WorkSafeBC will not be responsible for costs or expenses incurred by the employer or blaster as a result of a suspension or investigation.

Note: Prevention officers must not seize certificates issued by the Explosives Regulatory Division of Natural Resources Canada. Refer to OHS Guideline 21.83 for information on the procedure for investigating incidents, accidents, and dangerous or unusual occurrences involving blasters certified by Explosives Regulatory Division of Natural Resources Canada.

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Guidelines Part 21 - Storage

G21.16 Storage - Detonators

Issued August 1999

Section 21.16 of the OHS Regulation governs the storage of "detonator products". Safety fuse assemblies are products having a detonator attached to a detonator. They should be treated as "detonator products".

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Guidelines Part 21 - Transportation

G21.23 Transportation - Flammable materials

Issued August 1999

Section 21.23 of the OHS Regulation states that "Reasonable quantities of flammable or combustible materials may be carried by a conveyance transporting explosives at the workplace provided such materials are contained in a manner which will not cause or transmit a fire or explosion, and are adequately separated from any explosives containers on the conveyance".

The general intent of this section is to cover smaller operators who frequently have a fuel tank mounted on the back of their trucks, as well as small amounts of oils for normal daily maintenance. The fuels or oils should be carried within approved containers, located a minimum of 2 feet from any explosives and within an enclosed box, compartment or tank. They should also be secured against movement and leakage. These criteria also apply to propane cylinders.

"Reasonable quantities" means an amount required for immediate use during a normal shift.

Section 21.23 only applies to transportation at the worksite. It does not apply to transportation to or from the worksite.

G21.25(b)(v) Mobile drilling rigs

Issued August 1999; Revised consequential to February 1, 2012 Regulatory Amendment

Regulatory excerpt
Section 21.25(b)(v) of the OHS Regulation ("Regulation") states:

The transportation of explosives on a mobile drilling rig is only permitted if

(b) the explosives and detonator containers are

(v) attended by the blaster of record, or a qualified person designated by the blaster, at all times when explosives are being carried.

Purpose of guideline
The purpose of this guideline is to provide guidance in determining a qualified person.

Attendant for explosives and detonator containers
Section 21.25 of the Regulation allows explosives to be carried on mobile drillings rigs if certain listed conditions are met. One of these conditions, set out in clause (b)(v), is that the explosives and detonators are "attended by the blaster of record, or a qualified person designated by the blaster, at all times when explosives are being carried." This requirement is intended to ensure that the containers are secure at all times during transport.

If the person attending is not a certified blaster, that person must meet any applicable federal qualification requirements and should be at least 18 years of age. Further, as set out in section 21.2 of the Regulation, the employer must ensure that the person has been provided with adequate direction and instruction, and is competent to perform the assigned work.

G21.27 Contact with metal

Issued August 1999

Section 21.27 of the OHS Regulation states that "Contact between packages containing explosives and exposed ferrous metal in a conveyance must be prevented by the use of wood, tarpaulin, or other suitable dunnage materials".

Transport containers may be made of unlined aluminum, with no interior exposed ferrous metals.

G21.28 Emergency procedures

Issued August 1999; Editorial Revision February 26, 2014

Regulatory excerpt
Section 21.28 of the OHS Regulation ("Regulation") states:

Before explosives are transported, the employer must establish suitable written emergency procedures, and must ensure that all workers who may be affected are adequately instructed in the procedures.

The Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act and its Regulations (Section 7 of the Act and sections 7.1 to 7.9 of the Regulations) require that vehicles carrying explosives have an emergency response assistance plan approved by Transport Canada. The Regulations require the plan to have certain elements, including emergency contact numbers, a description of the emergency response capability, and how the plan can be activated. The plan must be referred to in the documents accompanying the load along with the telephone number to activate it and the Transport Canada reference number (refer to sections 4.4, 4.8 and 4.13 of the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations). Details of the plan can be obtained from Transport Canada, Remedial Measures Specialist, at (604) 666-7955.

Reference used: http://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/tdg/clear-part7-374.htm

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Guidelines Part 21 - Handling explosives

G21.39 Handling explosives - Abandoned explosives

Issued August 1999; Editorial Revision June 15, 2012

Section 21.39 of the OHS Regulation states that "explosive materials and accessories must not be abandoned, but must be placed in suitable storage or disposed of in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions".

If explosive products have been abandoned, the Explosives Act (Canada) is the applicable legislation. Section 20 of the Explosives Act states that "every person who abandons any explosive...is guilty of an offence...".

Section 27 of the Explosives Act states:

"Any explosive that appears to the Minister to be abandoned, to have deteriorated or to be a danger to persons or property may be seized and destroyed or otherwise disposed of by such person, in such manner and at such time and place as the Minister may direct."

The Explosives Disposal Unit (EDU) of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) is authorized to seize and dispose of any abandoned explosives.

When an officer of WorkSafeBC or other WorkSafeBC employee receives information regarding abandoned explosives, the information will be immediately forwarded to the nearest RCMP detachment. This information, as well as the name of the RCMP Officer notified, and the location of the detachment, is to be forwarded to Certification Services. The officer will also consider issuing orders and, where applicable, seizing the blasting certificate of the responsible person.

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Guidelines Part 21 - Drilling

G21.42 Drilling - Predrilling requirements

Issued August 1999

Section 21.42(c) of the OHS Regulation states that "before drilling begins...the location of utility services must be determined and clearly marked". Section 20.79 also applies.

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Guidelines Part 21 - Loading

G21.53 Connecting detonating cord

Issued August 1999

Section 21.53(3) of the OHS Regulation states "Detonators or detonator connectors must not be attached to a detonating line until everything is in readiness for the blast."

A "detonator connector" is a device used to connect between one explosive and another to provide a path for continuation of the explosion. It is also called a "detonating relay". Usually these devices have a timing or delay mechanism that will allow explosive charges to be detonated at certain timed intervals to allow for control of rock breakage, movement and fly rock.

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Guidelines Part 21 - Safety fuse initiation

G21.56 Safety fuse initiation - Safety fuse assemblies

Issued August 1999

Section 21.56(1) of the OHS Regulation states "Only safety fuse assemblies with antistatic protection may be used for safety fuse blasting."

This means that only safety fuse assemblies with a static shunt can be used. Bulk fuse and hand crimping of assemblies do not normally allow for anti-static protection, and would therefore be prohibited.

Section 21.56(2) states that "safety fuse assemblies less than 1 m (3.3 ft) in length must not be used". A standard 1 metre safety fuse assembly in fact contains 3 ft or 900 mm of safety fuse. This is acceptable.

G21.57 Lighting safety fuse

Issued August 1999

Section 21.57(2) of the OHS Regulation states "When multiple safety fuses are to be lit, a suitable safety fuse lighting device must be used to ensure that a minimum 900 mm (3 ft) fuse length safety factor is maintained."

If safety fuse assemblies are cut down, the length of available fuse must not be less than 3 ft or 900 mm.

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Guidelines Part 21 - Electrical initiation

G21.62 Mobile transmitters

Issued August 1999; Editorial Revision June 15, 2012

Section 21.62 of the OHS Regulation states

"(1) If absolute control of radio frequency transmitters cannot be maintained, for example, on public highways, warning signs must be posted to alert vehicle operators to turn off their transmitters.

(2) When electrical circuits are being connected, traffic control persons must be posted to instruct vehicle operators to turn transmitters off."

"Transmitters" includes cellular phones, autotel, novatel, or "Onstar" systems, mobile radios and all other devices that roam or emit frequency, whether in use or not.

G21.64 Initiating a blast in accordance with safe work practices

Issued August 1999; Editorial Revision April 2005

Section 4.3(1)(b) of the OHS Regulation requires that tools, machines, and pieces of equipment be selected, used and operated in accordance with safe work practices. Use of batteries, in lieu of a blasting machine to initiate a blast is an unsafe blasting practice. Electrical blasting caps must be initiated in a manner recommended by the manufacturer (Section 21.36). If an employer is aware of a blaster using a battery or batteries to initiate a blast, the employer should, under section 21.13, immediately investigate the incident for failing to comply with recognized safe blasting practices.

G21.65 Firing from power lines

Issued August 1999

Section 21.65 of the OHS Regulation states "When firing is done from a power line, an approved blasting safety switch must be used, and the switch kept locked and inaccessible to anyone except the blaster."

The switch is to be locked in the open position.

An "approved blasting safety switch" system should be designed by an electrical engineer for each work site location.

Power line blasting may only be conducted by a person experienced in and holding a valid blaster's certificate endorsed for this type of blasting.

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Guidelines Part 21 - Firing

G21.69 Blasting signals

Issued August 1999; Editorial Revision June 15, 2012

Section 21.69(1) of the OHS Regulation contains requirements for warning signals. Section 21.69(2) and (3) allow exceptions in certain situations as long as "alternative warning procedures acceptable to the board" are used. Requests for approval of procedures must be in writing and submitted to Certification Services. The request must include full details of the proposed procedures, including site security, guarding, and procedures for warning workers and the public. Acceptance may be granted for continuous operations within the scope of the request.

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Guidelines Part 21 - Returning to the blast site

G21.73 Misfires

Issued August 1999

Section 21.73(1) of the OHS Regulation states "When a blast initiated by electrical methods cannot be verified to have completely detonated, or is suspected to have misfired, the blaster must disconnect the firing lines from the blasting machine, and wait at least 10 minutes before permitting anyone to enter the danger area". Subsection (2) requires waiting at least 30 minutes in the case of a blast initiated by a safety fuse.

The circumstances may require a longer wait than 10 or 30 minutes, as the case may be. For example, if after a blast the blaster sees continuous smoke arising from the muck pile and suspects explosive may be burning, the blaster should wait until all the smoke clears, and then wait 1 hour longer before going back into the blast site. During this waiting time, the blast site must be guarded under section 21.66(2). The blaster must determine that it is safe before allowing anyone to return to the blast site.

If the explosive's manufacturer imposes additional waiting times because of features of their product, such times must be met.

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Guidelines Part 21 - Misfire Procedures

G21.75 Unfired explosives

Issued August 1999

Section 21.75(1)(a) of the OHS Regulation states "If there is evidence or suspicion of misfired charges or undetonated explosives...(a) all loose unfired explosives must be collected and destroyed in a safe manner, and..."

Explosives that do not contain a detonator can be gathered in a suitable container and destroyed in a manner recommended by the manufacturer. If a "primer" or explosive with a detonator inserted is found, it should not be disturbed. It should be detonated where it is using a new primer that is placed in contact with the unexploded material. See section 23.77(2) of the OHS Regulation.

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Guidelines Part 21 - Specialized blasting operations

G21.83 Special effects blasting

Issued August 1999; Editorial Revision June 15, 2012

Section 21.83 states "Special effects blasting must be carried out under the direction of a blaster certified in this specialty to a standard acceptable to the Board."

For the purpose of this section, the Board accepts the Pyrotechnic Blaster's certificate issued by the Natural Resources Canada/Explosive Regulatory Division (NRC/ERD).

Refer to Guideline G21.5 for more information regarding a Memorandum of Understanding between the NRC/ERD and WorkSafeBC.

Investigating incidents, accidents and dangerous or unusual occurrences involving pyrotechnics

Addendum 1 of the Memorandum of Understanding between the NRC/ERD and WorkSafeBC outlines the procedures for WorkSafeBC officers investigating incidents, accidents and dangerous or unusual occurrences involving pyrotechnics in the film and performing arts industries. The Addendum read as follows:

ADDENDUM 1

WorkSafeBC Officers' Procedures for Incidents, Accidents, and Dangerous or Unusual Occurrences Involving Pyrotechnics in Film and Performing Arts

If you observe or respond to a complaint of an injury, incident, or dangerous or unusual occurrence:

1. Have the blaster/pyrotechnician in charge temporarily stop all explosive pyrotechnic work at the work site.

2. Conduct an on site preliminary investigation into the cause of the injury, incident or occurrence. Assess any unsafe act that may have contributed to the problem. Assess all hazards presented to workers, the public, and property. Consider issuing a closure under current policies, if deemed necessary.

3. Contact the NRC/ERD and liaise with the Explosives Inspector regarding preliminary investigation details. The blaster may not conduct any further explosive/pyrotechnic work until a decision has been made jointly by WorkSafeBC and the NRC/ERD. The decision will be reached within seven days.

WorkSafeBC cannot revoke or suspend the certificate. Pending a complete investigation, the Explosives Inspector may suspend or revoke a certificate, if warranted. The WorkSafeBC Officer will make recommendations on the suspension or revocation of a certificate when serious unsafe acts or infractions are evident or suspected.

4. Produce an investigation report and forward copies to WorkSafeBC Certification Services and the Explosives Inspector.

NRC/ERD contact number within B.C. is 604-666-0366

G21.85(1)-1 Board acceptance of procedures for avalanche control

Issued August 1999; Revised November 18, 2009; Revised June 10, 2010; Editorial Revision March 7, 2011

Regulatory excerpt
Section 21.85 of the OHS Regulation ("Regulation") states, in part:

(1) Explosive charges must not be placed manually on site by workers or projected by any means for the purpose of avalanche control, until the proposed work procedures have been submitted to and accepted by the Board.

... ...

(4) The employer must ensure that procedures are reviewed annually and that proposed changes to the procedures are submitted to the Board for approval before implementation.

Purpose of guideline
The purpose of this guideline is to describe the process for submitting proposed avalanche control work procedures to WorkSafeBC for acceptance.

Process for submitting proposed work procedures
Prior to any avalanche blasting, a comprehensive set of procedures must be submitted to the Certification Services department of WorkSafeBC for acceptance.

The procedures should require, among other things, annual refresher training and a minimum level of experience for workers employed in avalanche control. No blasting activity is permitted until WorkSafeBC grants written acceptance of the work procedures.

As required by section 21.85(4) of the Regulation, the employer must review the procedures annually and any proposed changes must be submitted to WorkSafeBC for approval before implementation. Once the initial plan has been approved by WorkSafeBC, it only needs to be resubmitted for acceptance if there is a change.

Please consult the Guide for Writing Avalanche Control Blasting Procedures prepared by the Certification Services Department of WorkSafeBC.

For further information, please contact Certification Services (Tel: 604-276-3090 or 1-888-621-7233, local 3090) or visit the Certification Services Portal at http://www2.worksafebc.com/Topics/CertificationTraining/Home.asp.

G21.85(1)-2 Assessment of Avalauncher device safety in proposed work procedures

Issued September 24, 2008

Regulatory excerpt
Section 21.85(1) of the OHS Regulation ("Regulation") states:

Explosive charges must not be placed manually on site by workers or projected by any means for the purpose of avalanche control, until the proposed work procedures have been submitted to and accepted by the Board.

Section 4.3 of the Regulation states:

(1) The employer must ensure that each tool, machine and piece of equipment in the workplace is

(a) capable of safely performing the functions for which it is used, and

(b) selected, used and operated in accordance with

(i) the manufacturer's instructions, if available,

(ii) safe work practices, and

(iii) the requirements of this Regulation.

(2) Unless otherwise specified by this Regulation, the installation, inspection, testing, repair and maintenance of a tool, machine or piece of equipment must be carried out

(a) in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions and any standard the tool, machine or piece of equipment is required to meet, or

(b) as specified by a professional engineer.

(3) A tool, machine or piece of equipment determined to be unsafe for use must be identified in a manner which will ensure it is not inadvertently returned to service until it is made safe for use.

(4) Unless otherwise specified by this Regulation, any modification of a tool, machine or piece of equipment must be carried out in accordance with

(a) the manufacturer's instructions, if available,

(b) safe work practices, and

(c) the requirements of this Regulation.

Section 120 of Part 3 (Occupational Health and Safety) of the Workers Compensation Act provides:

Every supplier must

(a) ensure that any tool, equipment, machine or device, or any biological, chemical or physical agent, supplied by the supplier is safe when used in accordance with the directions provided by the supplier and complies with this Part and the regulations,

(b) provide directions respecting the safe use of any tool, equipment, machine or device, or any biological, chemical or physical agent, that is obtained from the supplier to be used at a workplace by workers,

(c) ensure that any biological, chemical or physical agent supplied by the supplier is labelled in accordance with the applicable federal and provincial enactments,

(d) if the supplier has responsibility under a leasing agreement to maintain any tool, equipment, machine, device or other thing, maintain it in safe condition and in compliance with this Part, the regulations and any applicable orders, and

(e) comply with this Part, the regulations and any applicable orders.

Purpose of guideline
The purpose of this guideline is to provide information on some of the criteria that are considered when assessing the adequacy of avalanche control work procedures, particularly as they relate to the safety of Avalaunchers and similar devices ("Avalauncher Devices").

Background
Avalauncher Devices use compressed gas to launch purpose-built explosive projectiles into areas where potential avalanches exist, as a planned measure to mitigate the hazard. Section 21.85(1) of the Regulation provides that before explosive charges are placed manually on site by workers or projected by any means for the purpose of avalanche control, the proposed work procedures must be submitted to and accepted by WorkSafeBC.

Device design and fabrication
The proposed work procedures should include assurances that the Avalauncher Device has been designed and manufactured in accordance with good engineering practice, with due consideration to its purpose, mechanism of operation, operating conditions, and the environment for which it is intended.

The design and fabrication of the Avalauncher Device should be certified by a professional engineer to provide assurance that the device will function safely when operated and maintained as specified by the manufacturer. Where the safety of the device may only be guaranteed within limited operating conditions, such as within specific temperature and/or pressure ranges, those operating conditions should be clearly indicated on the design documents by the professional engineer.

All welded connections that are not a part of a pressure vessel or fitting should meet the requirements of Canadian Standards Association ("CSA") Standard W59-03 Welded Steel Construction (Metal Arc Welding) or CSA Standard W59.2-M1991 (R1998) Welded Aluminum Construction, as applicable. (Note: For a copy of any CSA standard, contact CSA at 604-244-6652, or your local library.)

The Avalauncher Device's compressed gas piping system should include the following features:

(a) One or more pressure relief valves set at or below the maximum allowable system pressure

(b) A regulator at the supply tank that reduces the pressure at the tank to the system operating pressure

(c) Gauges to display the pressure at all points for which the operator must be aware of the pressure

(d) A safety valve located so as to require that both the safety and fire valves be open before firing is allowed

(e) Fire and safety valves that require opposing rotation motions to open

(f) Be equipped to allow remote firing

The Avalauncher Device's elevation mechanism should have a means of positively locking it in a fixed position for firing.

Each control valve on the Avalauncher Device should be labelled to identify its function.

BC Safety Authority requirements
Avalauncher Devices are subject to the requirements of the Safety Standards Act and its regulations, including the Power Engineers, Boiler, Pressure Vessel and Refrigeration Safety Regulation ("Pressure Vessel Regulation"). The Pressure Vessel Regulation adopts CSA Standard B51-03 Boiler, Pressure Vessel, and Pressure Piping Code ("CSA B51-03"), which prescribes requirements that must be met by Avalauncher Devices, including the registration of its components with the BC Safety Authority.

The Safety Standards Act and its regulations, including the Pressure Vessel Regulation, also govern pressure welding. A pressure welder's certificate of qualification issued by the BC Safety Authority is required before conducting any work regulated under the Pressure Vessel Regulation. Any welded connections affecting the registration of the pressure vessel or fitting must meet the requirements of CSA B51-03 and must be approved by the BC Safety Authority.

CSA B51-03 requires fittings to be stamped with the Canadian Registration Number ("CRN") or Canadian Central Registration Number ("CCRN") and identification traceable to the manufacturer. Each Avalauncher Device should be fitted with a nameplate that permanently and legibly displays the following:

  • Make/Model
  • Manufacturer name and address
  • Serial number
  • Date of manufacture
  • Maximum allowable operating pressure

CSA B51-03 also requires pressure vessels to be marked with the CRN or CCRN, and as required by the applicable American Society of Mechanical Engineers code.

Manufacturer's manuals
The following instruction and information manuals should be provided for each Avalauncher Device:

  • Operations Manual including
    • Specifications
    • Pre-use inspections
    • Operating procedures
    • Preventive maintenance
    • Storing the Avalauncher Device when not in use
  • Parts Manual including
    • Assembly/exploded view drawings identifying all parts
    • Listing of all parts and part numbers or identification of off-the-shelf parts to allow purchase of proper replacement parts
  • Service Manual including
    • System specifications
    • Inspection and maintenance instructions
    • Pneumatic circuit diagram
    • Troubleshooting information

Inspection and maintenance records
It is good practice to maintain proper records of all inspection and maintenance conducted on the Avalauncher Devices. In particular, records should be kept of the following:

  • Pre-use inspections
  • Periodic inspections, maintenance, and tests
  • Special inspections, maintenance, and tests

Questions
Questions regarding this guideline may be directed to the Certification Services department of WorkSafeBC.

G21.85(3) Safety fuse ignition system

Issued August 1999; Revised November 18, 2009

Regulatory excerpt
Section 21.85(3) of the OHS Regulation ("Regulation") states

The pull-wire lighter must not be placed on the safety fuse assembly until immediately before placing the charge.

Section 21.36 of the Regulation states:

Explosive materials must be stored, transported, handled and used in the manner recommended by the manufacturer.

Purpose of guideline
The purpose of this guideline is to clarify the sequence of events for deploying a charge utilizing a safety fuse assembly as a timing device for the purpose of avalanche control.

Procedure for charge deployment
A "pull-wire lighter" is a device that fits over the open end of the safety fuse assembly. The igniter cord connector, if fitted, will have to be cut off in order to have an open, clean end in the fuse assembly. In the case of a protective cap, ½ inch of the fuse end will have to be cut off. If the manufacturer has provided different instructions on how to use the safety fuse assembly, these must be followed as required by section 21.36 of the Regulation.

Only fuse cutters recommended by the safety fuse manufacturer (for example, guillotine delrin base) should be used for cutting. The cut should be clean and square prior to placing the fuse into the pull-wire lighter. The minimum required fuse length is 3 feet, or 90 cm, after cutting (section 21.57(2) of the Regulation).

The pull-wire lighter works by pulling on a "handle," which causes a "waved" wire to be pulled through a sensitive ignition compound, such as a chlorate match head mix. The resulting friction ignites the compound, and the fire lights the exposed end of the black powder core of the safety fuse assembly. Signs of ignition may include visible smoke, smell of smoke, fuse droop, or a discolored fuse. The blaster should determine if the fuse is lit or mislit prior to placing or deploying the charge.

Typically, one or more charges are lit and deployed one at a time into an avalanche path prior to personnel reaching a point of safety. The blaster will need to ensure that there is sufficient fuse length (burn time) to enable personnel to reach a point of safety before detonation of the first deployed charge occurs.

If the blaster is not able to verify that the fuse is lit, the fuse will be assumed to be lit and the blaster will continue with charge deployment as per the manufacturer's instructions.

If the pull wire fails to light, the fuse must not be cut and relit. Section 21.79 of the Regulation prohibits the relighting of a safety fuse.

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Disclaimer: The Worker and Employer Services Division issues Guidelines to help with the application and interpretation of sections of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation and with divisions of the Workers Compensation Act that relate to health and safety. Guidelines are not intended to provide exclusive interpretations but to assist with compliance. The Workers' Compensation Board of B.C. ("WorkSafeBC") does not warrant the accuracy or the completeness of the online version of the Guidelines and neither WorkSafeBC nor its board of directors, employees or agents shall be liable to any persons for any loss or damage of any nature, whether arising out of negligence or otherwise, which may be occasioned as a result of the use of the online version of the Guidelines.