Drillers and Blasters

7372 Drillers and Blasters

What do they do?

Surface mining, quarrying, and construction drillers in this unit group operate mobile drilling machines to bore blast holes in open-pit mines and quarries and to bore holes for blasting and for building foundations at construction sites. Blasters in this unit group fill blast holes with explosives and detonate explosives to dislodge coal, ore and rock or to demolish structures.

They are employed by mining, quarrying and construction companies and by drilling and blasting contractors.

Example Titles: blaster – quarrying blaster – surface mining blaster, construction driller – surface mine driller, construction open-pit blaster rotary drilling machine. operator.

Job Description

  • Drive and operate tracked or truck-mounted rotary drilling, air-track or other drilling machines to bore large blast holes to specified depths at staked positions in open-pit mine or quarry.

  • Operate drilling machines to drill blast holes in rock at road or other construction sites.

  • Operate tracked or truck-mounted drill equipped with auger or other attachment to drill holes for building foundations or pilings.

  • May measure location and stake out pattern of holes to be drilled, load blast holes with explosives and detonate explosives to dislodge coal, ore or rock.

  • Read instructions or diagrams, lay out drill pattern and determine depth and diameter of blast holes and conduct field tests to determine type and quantity of explosives required.

  • Assemble or direct other workers to assemble primer charges using selected detonators, fuses, detonating cords and other materials.

  • Load explosives in blast holes by hand or direct movement of bulk explosives trucks to load holes.

  • Connect electrical wires, detonating cords or fuses into series and connect series to blasting machines; press handle or button to detonate charges.

  • Handle, store and transport explosives and accessories in accordance with regulations and ensure that safety procedures are observed.

  • May operate air-track, rotary, down-the-hole or other drilling machines to drill blast holes or may direct drilling of blast holes.

Employment Requirements

  • Completion of high school is usually required.

  • Experience as a Heavy Equipment Operator may be required for drillers.

  • Experience as a blaster helper in surface mining and quarrying or construction may be required for blasters.


  • On-the-job training is provided.
  • Provincial blasting license is usually required for blasters.
  • Trade certification for blasters is available, but voluntary, in New Brunswick and Ontario.
  • Saskatchewan does not require a certificate but requires a permit.
  • In order to receive a blasting permit in the province of Saskatchewan, a separate application form must be submitted to Saskatchewan Industry and Resources by the student or employer following successful completion of a training program, as well as a copy of the student's current Standard First Aid Certificate.
  • Find out if Saskatchewan Polytechnic offers this course in their school of construction!