Use of Explosives

The Department of Labor (DOL), Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) is responsible for standards to protect workers in the use of explosives outside of mines. General standards are found in 29 CFR, Part 1910.109 while standards for construction are found in Part 1926 Subpart U.

The DOL, Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) is responsible for standards to protect workers in the use of explosives in mines.  Regulations for special permissible explosives, intended for use in underground gassy mines are found in 30 CFR, Part 15. General use regulations for surface metal and nonmetal mines are found in 30 CFR Part 56, Subpart E. General use regulations for underground metal and nonmetal mines are found in 30 CFR Part 57, Subpart E. General use regulations for underground coal mines are found in 30 CFR Part 75, Subpart N. General use regulations for surface coal are found in 30 CFR Part 77, Subpart N.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is responsible for regulating use activities that involve or may involve a release of regulated pollutants or chemical substances to the environment.  EPA also regulates the management of any hazardous wastes associated with the use of commercial explosives.  EPA regulations are published at Title 40 Chapter I (Parts 1 - 799), Chapter V (Parts 1500 - 1517), and Chapter VI (Part 1700).

The Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSM), as part of the U.S. Department of the Interior, was given the responsibility to develop and promulgate standards for regulating the surface effects of coal mining, both surface and underground, including the use of explosives.  The Surface Mining Reclamation and Control Act of 1977 (SMCRA) created OSM and givens individual states the right to regulate coal mining within their borders under programs approved by the Secretary of the Interior.  OSM strongly promotes states to develop and enforce their own regulatory programs.  A federal program is implemented in states without an approved program.  OSM also regulates coal mining on Indian and federal lands.

SMCRA in section 507(f), 515(b)(15) and 719 requires insurance, control of blasting operations and certification of blasters, respectively.  The control of blasting activities primarily relates to impacts to people and property beyond the permit boundary.  The OSM rules at 30 CFR 816/817.61-68 provide performance standards which dictate uniform operating procedures for preblast surveys, blasting schedules, warning signals, airblast, ground vibration and flyrock limits, and recordkeeping.  30 CFR 850 sets the requirements for blaster certification at surface coal mines.  Federal blaster certifications are discussed in 30 CFR 955.