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Drillers and Blasters in Surface Mining, Quarrying, and Construction

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NOC:7372
Occupation:Drillers and Blasters in Surface Mining, Quarrying, and Construction
Category:Trades and Transportation

About the job

Nature of work:

Drillers 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 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.

Job duties:
Drillers perform some or all of the following duties:
  • 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.
Blasters perform some or all of the following duties:
  • 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.
Sample job titles:
  • blaster (except underground mining)
  • construction blaster
  • construction driller
  • driller - quarrying
  • driller - surface mining
  • drilling machine operator - construction
  • quarry driller
Skills:

For these jobs, you should have good physical strength, stamina, and health. The ability to follow precise instructions and obey safety regulations is essential. You must be cautious, responsible, and able to work as a member of a team. A mechanical aptitude and an ability to use tools would be helpful.

Job requirements:
  • Completion of secondary school is usually required.
  • On-the-job training is provided.
  • 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.
  • Provincial blasting licence is usually required for blasters.
Other considerations:

Drillers and blasters often perform both drilling and blasting activities. Progression to supervisory positions is possible with experience.

Labour Market Information

Work Prospects:Undetermined

This is not a large occupation in Nova Scotia so job opportunities may not be that frequent. With a large percent of workers being 55 years of age and older, retirements are expected to be a key contributor to employment opportunities over the coming years. Drillers and Blasters in Surface Mining, Quarrying, and Construction most commonly work full-time hours.

The median employment income for 42% of Drillers and Blasters in Surface Mining, Quarrying, and Construction who worked full-time, year-round in 2015 was $. Across all occupations in Nova Scotia, 59% of those who worked full-time year round had a median employment income of $43,600.
(Source: 2016 Census)

OccupationEstimated employment in 2018Estimated change in employment between 2017 and 2019Estimated openings due to growth and retirements, 2017-2019Estimated rate of unemployment in 2018 Estimated hourly earnings in 2015 (learn more)Estimated annual earnings in 2015
Drillers and Blasters in Surface Mining, Quarrying, and Construction< 50N/AN/AN/A
Minimum:  N/A
Median:  N/A
Maximum:  N/A
Minimum:  N/A
Median: $32,307
Maximum:  N/A
Occupations in Trades and Transportation57,925Decline slightly3,400High
Minimum: $13.00
Median: $20.35
Maximum: $34.00
Minimum: $7,580
Median: $37,269
Maximum: $79,787
Drillers and Blasters in Surface Mining, Quarrying, and ConstructionCompared to: Occupations in Trades and Transportation
Percent employed full-time92%89%
Percent self-employed1%13%
Where will I likely work?
Area of EmploymentDrillers and Blasters in Surface Mining, Quarrying, and ConstructionCompared to: All NS Occupations
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Southernxx12%$30,581
Northern45%x16%$33,660
Cape Bretonxx13%$32,974
Halifax27%x47%$41,209
Annapolis Valley18%x13%$32,958
What are the workers like?
AgeDrillers and Blasters in Surface Mining, Quarrying, and ConstructionCompared to: All Trades and Transportation
% Employed% Employed
15-24xx
25-34x13%
35-4420%33%
45-5430%34%
55-6430%19%
65+xx
Median Age4247
GenderDrillers and Blasters in Surface Mining, Quarrying, and ConstructionCompared to: Occupations in Trades and Transportation
% Employed% Employed
Female0%5%
Male100%95%
EducationDrillers and Blasters in Surface Mining, Quarrying, and ConstructionCompared to: All Trades and Transportation
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Less than high school50.0%$40,03818.2%$25,753
High school33.3%$71,41025.5%$28,089
Trades certificate16.7%$62,96329.4%$40,890
College certificate or diploma16.7%$59,12722.6%$39,023
University certificate or diplomaN/Ax1.0%$35,969
Bachelor's degreeN/Ax2.7%$36,972
University advanced certificate or diplomaN/Ax0.2%$41,705
Master's degreeN/Ax0.3%x
DoctorateN/Ax0.0%$36,029
Medicine, dentistry, veterinary, optometryN/Ax0.0%$3,714
Total100%100%
Wage Disclaimer

Hourly earnings data are from the Labour Force Survey by Statistics Canada. Data are not available for all occupations. Hourly earnings are calculated based on usual hours worked per week. This is how an annual salary, for instance, gets converted to an hourly rate. The data include full and part-time workers along with new and experienced workers. Self-employed workers are excluded.

Annual employment income data reported in the Work Prospects section, are from the 2011 National Household Survey by Statistics Canada. Much of the data (around 70%) came directly from tax records. The data relates to the year 2010 and includes total wages and salaries and net income from self-employment.

Sources

Employment Requirements & Contacts

Regulations:
Blaster
Certificate of Qualification (Mandatory):This job is a regulated designated trade in Nova Scotia. Certification is required to work in this job.
Regulating body:
Nova Scotia Department of Labour and Advanced Education, Occupational Health and Safety Division
5151 Terminal Road, 6th floor, PO Box 697
Halifax, NS B3J 2T8
(800) 952-2687
(902) 424-5640
ohsdivision@gov.ns.ca
No contacts were found under this occupation profile

Training Paths & Education

Program Name:Adult high school/secondary diploma programs
Education Level:This program is typically offered at the high school level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any program that defines the prescribed requirements, specified by the appropriate jurisdiction, for the completion of and graduation from a secondary school program of academic subject matter offered for adult learners outside of the regular secondary school program. This does not include adult compensatory education programs resulting in completion of a high school equivalency certificate or diploma.
See all institutions providing this program+
Universite Sainte-Anne
Siège Social: 1695, Route 1
Pointe-de-l'Église, NS B0W 1M0
(902) 769-2114
Blanche.Theriault@usainteanne.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Annapolis Valley Campus
50 Elliott Road
Lawrencetown, NS B0S 1M0
(902) 825-3491
avc.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Cumberland Campus
PO Box 550, 1 Main Street
Springhill, NS B0M 1X0
(902) 597-3737
cumberland.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Akerley Campus
21 Woodlawn Road
Dartmouth, NS B2W 2R7
(902) 491-4900
akerley.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Burridge Campus
372 Pleasant Street
Yarmouth, NS B5A 2L2
(902) 742-3501
burridge.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Kingstec Campus
236 Belcher Street
Kentville, NS B4N 0A6
(902) 678-7341
kingstec.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Lunenburg Campus
75 High Street
Bridgewater, NS B4V 1V8
(902) 543-4608
lunenburg.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Institute of Technology Campus
5685 Leeds Street
Halifax, NS B3K 2T3
(902) 491-6722
it.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Pictou Campus & School of Fisheries
PO Box 820, 39 Acadia Avenue
Stellarton, NS B0K 1S0
(902) 752-2002
pictou.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Shelburne Campus
PO Box 760, 1575 Lake Road
Shelburne, NS B0T 1W0
(902) 875-8640
shelburne.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Strait Area Campus & Nautical Institute
226 Reeves Street
Port Hawkesbury, NS B9A 2A2
(902) 625-2380
strait.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Marconi Campus
PO Box 1042, 1240 Grand Lake Road
Sydney, NS B1P 6J7
(902) 563-2450
marconi.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Truro Campus
36 Arthur Street
Truro, NS B2N 1X5
(902) 893-5385
truro.info@nscc.ca
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