In B.C., anyone working as a blaster must have a current blasting certificate issued by WorkSafeBC or BC Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources. Any blasting work performed must be within the scope of the qualifications and endorsements of the certificate. To become certified and maintain certification, blasters must provide documentation supporting their practical competency, and pass a written exam.
Blasting certificates must be valid and up-to-date. Those issued by WorkSafeBC expire on the date indicated on the certificate. Certificates issued in another jurisdiction may be eligible for WorkSafeBC out-of-jurisdiction blaster certification. Initial/new blasting certifications are issued for a period of two years.
A blaster whose certification has expired must write and pass another blasting exam to be recertified. Renewal blasting certifications and out-of-jurisdiction blasting certifications are issued for a period of up to five years.
All blasting certifications may be endorsed with any restriction that WorkSafeBC deems necessary. See Qualifications and endorsements, for more information.
To become certified, blasters in B.C. must provide documents supporting their eligibility, practical competency, and pass a written exam. WorkSafeBC blasting exams are done online. You must register and pre-pay for your exam.
To request a registration package for a blasting examination and for general blasting examination enquiries, or to enquire about examination accommodations, please contact Certification Services at:
- 604-276-3090, or
- 1-888-621-7233 - ext 3090, or
Review blasting resources. Before attempting to write or rewrite a blasting exam, candidates must be knowledgeable about Part 21 of the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Regulation and applicable sections and appendices of WorkSafeBC's Blaster's Handbook. You can also view a summary of changes to Part 21 from April 9 and June 3, 2019. Other important material can be found in the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations, the Explosives Act and Regulations and the British Columbia Motor Vehicle Act and Regulations.
Supporting documents for the exam. In order to register for a blasting exam, applicants are required to provide the following documents:
- Natural Resources Canada Explosives Regulatory Division (ERD)1 Approval Letter, PAL, Permis General, Nexus or Fast Card (excluding propellant exams),
- Photo Identification
- Blasting Log Books (indicating 6 months experience and/or training)
- Employer Letter2 (for initial certification or upgrade) specifying employer training to competency of certification class and endorsement sought
- Blasting Certificate if holding
- Digital photo of the candidate (specifications provided in the registration package)
- Blaster's Application Form
- The information on obtaining an ERD Approval letter can be found at the following link: https://www.nrcan.gc.ca/explosives/resources/guidelines/13963
- The employer letter must outline and attest to the candidate’s experience and competency in conducting blasting operations under the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation (OHSR) Part 21. See a sample of an employer letter in the Blasting Application letter (page 3) for more details.
The following table outlines WorkSafeBC’s Blasting re-examination waiting periods for applicants who are rewriting full exams, endorsement portions only, or upgrades to existing certificates.
|Blasting Re-exam||Re-exam Wait Time|
|2nd Attempt||48 hrs.|
|3rd Attempt||30 days|
|4th and Subsequent Attempts||90 days|
A photo of the certificate holder appears on the front of the certification card.
The back of the certification card includes three sections: qualifications, endorsements, and comments. Restrictions will be placed in the comments section on the back of the certificate.
Certificate endorsements and/or restrictions will be based on the nature of the work performed by the applicant, and the applicant’s experience.
The blasting examiner chooses what appears in the three sections shown on the reverse side of the blasting certificate. This determines the scope of work allowed by the holder of the certificate.
- Qualifications — Only one qualification will appear in this field, from the "Blasting qualifications/Type" column.
- Endorsements — Up to four different endorsements can appear here. The content comes from the "Initiation systems" or "Endorsements" columns.
- Comments — Any additional qualifications, endorsements, restrictions, or other comments can be added here. This content can come from any of the three columns, or a blasting examiner's notes/comments.
The Qualifications and Endorsements sections always include text. The Comments section may be filled out or left blank.
The following shows the list of qualifications and endorsement currently used in BC:
- Avalanche control
- Surface Blaster 1st Class
- Surface Blaster 2nd Class
- Surface Blaster 3rd Class
- Danger tree
- Other (propellants, law enforcement/metal hardening/explosive joining/EOD/as specified)
- Safety fuse
- Shock tube
- Electric (single series or multiple series)
- Electronic (manufacturer-specific)
- Hand charging
- Helicopter deployment
- Other (powerline/pipeline/as specified)
Energy Safety Canada issued Oilwell Perforators Safety Training and Seismic Blaster Safety Training Certificates are recognized by WorkSafeBC.
WorkSafeBC also recognizes blasting certificates issued in other Canadian jurisdictions. Blasters with out-of-jurisdiction certificates can be issued a WorkSafeBC blasting certificate if they meet the following criteria:
- Certificates must be valid and up to date. Certificates issued by WorkSafeBC will expire on the same date as the out-of-jurisdiction certificate or 5 years, whichever occurs first. Certificates with no expiry date are acceptable; however, certificates issued by WorkSafeBC will only be valid for up to five years and may be endorsed with any restriction that WorkSafeBC deems necessary.
- The out-of-jurisdiction blasting certificate must have been required by a Canadian government body or regulatory authority or issued by a training and certification provider recognized by the Canadian government body or regulatory authority in the issuing jurisdiction.
- The out-of-jurisdiction blasting certificate is required in order to perform blasting operations in the issuing province or territory.
- The scope of activities covered by the out-of-jurisdiction blasting certificate are similar to the blasting codes recognized by WorkSafeBC's blasting certification scheme.
Out-of-jurisdiction blasting packages can be found here:Jurisprudence package for other jurisdictions: Obtaining blasting certification in British Columbia.
Other jurisdictions in B.C. also issue blasting certificates:
- For information on certification for mining operations, contact the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources.
- For information on licensing in pyrotechnics or fireworks, contact Natural Resources Canada at 604.666.0366.