Blasting And Use Of Explosives Essay, Research Paper
1926.900 General Provisions
Handling and using explosives is extremely dangerous and cannot be taken lightly. Only authorized and qualified people should be allowed to handle and use explosives. These people must have adequate training, knowledge, and experience to know how to use explosives and blasting agents correctly. It is important that no sources of heat and flame are permitted near the explosives at any time; this includes storage, transportation, and use. This will greatly reduce the chances of accidental ignition. People who handle explosives must not be under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or any other intoxicants. It is totally unacceptable for any worker to be under the influence of any substance while working, not just people who handle explosives. Whenever possible, above ground blasting operations should be performed during daylight hours. A lighted workplace is a safer workplace and will reduce the number of mistakes and injuries. In the event of a fire in or around a facility that houses explosives, the area shall be blocked off and all people removed. It is too dangerous to try to fight a fire near explosives. The possible loss of life from the explosives exploding is a far greater cost than letting the building burn. Any time explosive are being used the employer must display proper warning signs an all roads within 1,000 feet of the blasting area. The signs must clearly indicate that it is a blasting area and to turn off all 2-way radios. Blasting zone signs should be diamond shape and measure 48 X 48 . Turn off 2-way radio signs should be rectangular shape and measure 42 X 36 .
1926.901 Blaster Qualifications
Blasting is a very dangerous job and blasters must meet certain qualifications to be able to do the job safely. First of all blasters must be competent and able to give and receive written and oral orders. Without good communication a blasting site can become a deadly bomb field. It is also important that the blaster is in good physical condition and not addicted to any sort of narcotics or under the influence of any intoxicants. Blasters also should be well trained, knowledgeable, and have prior blasting experience. They should know the proper way to transport, store, handle, and use all kinds of explosives and be up to date with all local and State laws pertaining to explosives. Blasters must give adequate evidence of competency in explosive handling and performing the type of blasting required. It is very important that all blasters be extremely knowledgeable in all areas of blasting to minimize the chance, as much as possible, of an accident.
1926.902 Surface Transportation of Explosives
Special precautions must be made when transporting any type of explosive materials. Drivers must be trained how to properly handle and transport explosives. All drivers who will be transporting explosive material must be a licensed driver in good physical condition and must be knowledgeable of all local, State, and Federal regulations relating to transporting explosives. Nobody in or near the vehicle which is transporting the explosive can smoke, carry matches or have any other type of flame-producing devices including firearms and loaded cartridges. When transporting blasting supplies and blasting agents they should not be transported with other materials. Blasting caps and the explosives should not be transported in the same vehicle. Each vehicle used for transporting explosives must be marked on all four sides with the word Explosives in large red letters on a white background, which are not less than 4 inches tall. Every vehicle must have a fully charged fire extinguisher not less than a 10-ABC rating, and the driver must be fully trained in the proper use of the fire extinguisher. In the event of a breakdown of the vehicle, it must not be taken inside of a garage for repairs. The vehicle must never be left unattended either. This will prevent unauthorized people from getting near the explosives.
1926.904 Storage of Explosives and Blasting Agents
Certain guidelines must be followed when storing explosives and blasting agents to prevent accidents. Blasting caps, detonating primers, and primed cartridges must be stored in separate magazines. Smoking and open flames must be kept at least 50 feet away from storage magazines to prevent accidental ignition. When storing explosive materials in underground storage magazines, there must be at least 2 ways to exit the facility. Permanent underground storage magazines must be at least 300 feet from any shaft, adit, or active underground working area. Also, magazines containing detonators must not be stored closer than 50 feet to any other magazine containing explosive and blasting agents.
1926.909 Firing the Blast
Extreme caution must be used when firing the blast. Signs with the blasting signal codes must be placed conspicuously around the job site so all employees can see them and become familiar with them. The warning signal starts 5 minutes before the blast signal and consists of a 1-minute series of long blasts. After the warning signal comes the blast signal which is a series of short blasts 1-minute prior to the shot. After the blast is inspected an all-clear signal is sounded which is a prolonged blast. If the blasting zone is near any roads or highways flagmen shall be stationed on the roads to stop traffic during blasting operations.
1926.910 Inspection After Blasting
After the blast is fired the blasting site must be inspected to see if all charges have been fired. Immediately after the blast the firing line must be disconnected from the blasting machine and the power to the machine must be locked open or in the off position. Enough time must be allowed before the inspection to let the smoke and fumes clear the area. The blaster must then go in and inspect the area to make sure all charges have been fired before any employees are allowed on the site.
A misfire of an explosive charge must be handled very carefully. All employees must be kept away from the blast zone and out of danger if a misfire occurs. Charges that have misfired must not be extracted from the hole. A new primer shall be put in and the charge re-blasted. If re-blasting the charge is not possible because it presents a hazard, the explosives can be removed by washing them out with water. Misfires with cap and fuse explosives call for at least a 1-hour wait to enter the site. No work is allowed on any site until it has been determined that all charges have been ignited to prevent workers from accidentally setting off a misfired charge.
Importance to Me
Blasting and explosive safety is important to me because I wanted to further my knowledge of construction safety. I work for Westra Construction Inc. as a laborer during the summer to pay for school and although they don t use explosives much in their work, I wanted to know the aspects of blasting safety incase I was ever around any blasting. This will also be useful later on in life when I get a job in the construction industry. The more I know now the better my chances are to get a good job in the future. Right now I am a BCM major and I am thinking of picking up Safety as my minor. The more I know about OSHA standards and regulations the more companies will look at me for their positions.
If I were the safety officer in charge of implementing a safety program for the use of blasting and explosives I would do many things to insure compliance to my program. First off I would go directly to upper management and get their support for my program. Without their support the whole safety program would have a hard time holding water. I would need the authority to go onto projects to inspect for compliance and enforce the safety regulations. All employees would have to go through a training program taught by a competent person and records of their attendance will be kept. Every few years the training would have to be repeated and employees would have to re-new their certification. The foremen on the job sites would be accountable for safety on their project and their yearly safety rating would affect their annual bonus. It would be up to the foremen or other lead man on the job to conduct a weekly safety meeting with the crew before the start of the week and review key safety principles. Also every employee would have the responsibility to fix a safety problem whenever they see one on the job site. Safety in the workplace should be top priority to every company. Not only do good safety programs reduce accidents, they also reduce overall costs in the long run. Safety can be a win-win combination for both workers and companies, but only if there is compliance to a good safety program.