U.S. Department of the Interior

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For More Information:

Ken Eltschlager
Mining/Explosives Engineer
(412) 937-2169
(724) 263-8143 cell

Contact OSMRE


Blaster Certificate Examinations

Once the applicant has met the training and experience requirements, a written examination is scheduled. A minimum passing score of 80% is necessary to demonstrate competency and receive an OSMRE blaster certificate. The examination will test the applicant’s knowledge, abilities and critical thinking skills on a wide range of blasting topics. The examination consists of:

  • Instructions and Handouts;
  • 80 to 90 multiple choice questions;
  • 100 points;
  • Single to five point questions; and
  • A blast log completion problem
Blaster discussing the blast plan and site security

Blaster discussing the blast plan and site security

The test is weighted with 70% Technical and 30% Regulatory questions. Table 2 shows the approximate distribution of questions in each category based on 90 questions. The last 10 questions will be blast design and record keeping problems.

A critical part of the examination is to evaluate the applicant’s critical thinking skills and ability to perform blasting calculations in blast design and vibration control. The correct answers to all blast design related questions will be obtained by using the Rules-of-Thumb. This handout will be provided as part of the testing package. Successful completion of the examination will require the use of a calculator to perform all blasting calculations. Any explosive storage, transportation and safety questions will be in reference to the Institute of Makers of Explosives guidelines.

The technical part of the examination assumes that the blaster has control over all blast design items except:

  • Geology;
  • Depth to grade or mineral; and
  • Distance to nearest structure
Blaster providing on-the-job training to an apprentice

Blaster providing on-the-job training to an apprentice

The regulatory questions will be related to the Federal regulations on blasting. Most of the questions will focus on the OSMRE rules that are meant to prevent injury to persons and damage to public and private property. At least one question from the regulations of the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) will be on the examination. This ensures broad regulatory coverage in the training programs.

Page Last Modified/Reviewed: 4/24/17

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