Drillers and blasters - surface mining, quarrying and construction (NOC 7372)

About this job

Drillers in this group operate mobile drilling machines:

  • to bore blast holes in open-pit mines and quarries
  • to bore holes for blasting and for building foundations at construction sites

Blasters in this group:

  • fill blast holes with explosives
  • detonate explosives to dislodge coal, ore and rock or to demolish structures

These workers are employed by:

  • mining, quarrying and construction companies
  • drilling and blasting contractors
Common job titles
  • driller, open-pit / seismic prospecting
  • operator, air-track drill
  • operator, core drill
  • operator, diamond drill
  • operator, drilling machine


Drillers in this group:

  • 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
  • run 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 in this group

  • 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 needed
  • 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 make sure that safety procedures are followed
  • may operate air-track, rotary, down-the-hole or other drilling machines to drill blast holes
  • may direct drilling of blast holes

Work environment

Key aspects of the work in this occupation:

  • Work takes place outdoors, so workers may be exposed to various weather conditions.
  • Work also takes inside heavy equipment such as drilling machines.
  • Working with equipment, instruments, machinery or power/hand tools may be a potential source of injury.
  • Exposure to flying particles and falling objects in the work environment pose the risk of injury.
  • Working with explosives in dangerous locations means workers must follow safety precautions.
  • Loud noises in the workplace can affect hearing.

Career paths and resources

Career paths

Progression to supervisory positions is possible with experience.

Drillers and blasters often perform both drilling and blasting activities.

Additional resources