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Blaster Training

Blaster providing on-the-job training to an apprentice.

Welcome to the Blaster Training page.  To become a certified blaster at a coal mine a person must be trained, gain experience and pass an examination.  Here you will find information on the technical and regulatory issues that a blaster must know to have a reasonable expectation of passing the examination.  The requirements can be found at 30 CFR 850.13 Certification and Training of Blasters - Training.  For coal mines, these requirements are the same for each state although individual states may have more requirements than specified here.

(1) Explosives, including--

  • Selection of the type of explosive to be used; 
  • Determination of the properties of explosives which will produce desired results at an acceptable level of risk; and 
  • Handling, transportation, and storage; 

 (2) Blast designs, including-- 

  • Geologic and topographic considerations; 
  • Design of a blast hole, with critical dimensions;
  • Pattern design, field layout, and timing of blast holes; and
  • Field applications;

(3) Loading blastholes, including priming and boostering; 

(4) Initiation systems and blasting machines; 

(5) Blasting vibrations, airblast, and flyrock, including-- 

  • Monitoring techniques, and 
  • Methods to control adverse affects; 

(6) Secondary blasting applications; 

(7) Current Federal and State rules applicable to the use of explosives; 

(8) Blast records; 

(9) Schedules; 

(10)Preblasting surveys, including--

  • Availability, 
  • Coverage, and 
  • Use of in-blast design; 

(11) Blast-plan requirements;

(12) Certification and training;

(13) Signs, warning signals, and site control;

(14) Unpredictable hazards, including--

  •   Lightning, 
  •   Stray currents, 
  •   Radio waves, and 
  •   Misfires. 

Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement

Mine Safety and Health Administration

Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives

US Department of Transportation

  • Transportation of Hazardous Materials on Public Highways, 49 CFR Part 177
  • Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Safe Operation of Vehicles, 49 CFR Part 393


The following groups provide best practices guidelines on the use of explosives.  Some references may need purchased.

US Department of the Interior Documents

International Society of Explosive Engineers

Institute of Makers of Explosives, Safety Library Publication

  • Safety in the Transportation, Storage, Handling & Use of Commercial Explosive Materials, SLP 17 

The following venues provide continuing education opportunities for blasters.  The number of credit hours for each vary by regulatory authority.

West Virginia DEP, Blaster Training Classes, Multiple dates in 2023

Pennsylvania DEP, Blaster Training Classes, Multiple Dates in 2023.

ISEE Bluegrass Chapter Blaster Continuing Education seminar, Madisonville, KY, August 24, 2023 

Mid-America Blasting Conference, Lake of the Ozark, MO, October 2023

Pennsylvania Drilling and Blasting Conference, State College, PA, November 16-17, 2023

Kentucky Blasting Conference, Lexington, KY, December 7-8, 2023 

ISEE Conference on Explosives and Blasting Technique, Savannah, Georgia, January 20-23, 2024

MSHA Blasting Safety and Application Seminar, Beckley, WV, February 21-22, 2024