Risk level

Real dynamite!

Yes, it's true - you get to blow things up at work. When tunnels, roads and multi-storey carparks need building, you clear the area for construction by boring into and blowing up the bed-rock. Many shotfirers/blasters also drill the boreholes for residential ground source heat pumps.

What are the risks?

Explosions generate gases that are bad for your health when inhaled. Stone dust circulates and diesel fumes are pumped out by the machinery. Shotfirers/blasters often have to carry out heavy-duty work in cold air, above and below ground, all of which is tough on the breathing and could exacerbate asthma if you have it.

This kind of hard labour is abrasive on the hands and, combined with the cold, damp and dust, can be very hard on the skin. If you have previously had hand eczema, this is a job that may bring it back.

Prevention and avoidance

Although some of the work is carried out by machinery these days, you should still protect yourself. Dust masks and other breathing protection block out dust and exhaust fumes which would otherwise be inhaled. Rubbing rehydrating cream into your hands can strengthen your skin and reduce the risk of eczema.

If you suffer from asthma or eczema or did so when you were little (atopic eczema), you should find out more about the risks involved before deciding to become a shotfirer/blaster.

Want to know more?

If you have any questions or want to know more about allergy, asthma and eczema when working as a shotfirer/blaster, get in touch with your school nurse or careers adviser.