Licence to use blasting explosives
Advice for applicants on licensing requirements when using blasting explosives.
Certain types of work involve higher risk for workers and members of the public. WorkSafe Victoria issues certain licences to ensure only competent and experienced persons do this work.
If the work involves use of blasting explosives, dangerous goods laws require people doing that work (shot firers) to hold a current licence and conduct work in a specific manner.
Licences related to explosives are issued by WorkSafe under the Dangerous Goods (Explosives) Regulations 2011. An Application for an Explosives Licence - Using Blasting Explosives form must be completed and provided along with any additional information required.
What does the licence allow?
A licence to use blasting explosives applies to general blasting.An applicant may also apply for authorization to perform blasting activities for open cut mines, quarries and underground mines.
The licence will specify the types of blasting explosives, the methods of shot firing and types of blasting activities that can be carried out.
An applicant seeking authorisation for special effects blasting activities must provide a record of experience in special effects.
A licence to use blasting explosives may be endorsed by WorkSafe to allow the licence holder to manufacture a maximum of 50 kg of ANFO (ammonium nitrate and fuel oil mixture) at any one time for their own use without holding an additional licence to manufacture explosives.
A licence authorising a person to use blasting explosives also allows the licence holder to store and transport limited amounts of explosives of the type authorised to be used, as long as the quantity stored or transported is below the prescribed amounts.
A person preparing or loading charges into a blast hole does not require a licence if they are under the direct supervision of a licensed person. An unlicensed person must not fire any charge.
Training and qualifications
To obtain a licence for general blasting and for blasting in open cut mines, quarries and underground mines, an applicant must undergo approved training and assessment in the chosen activities and provide records of practical experience. A list of approved course providers is available at worksafe.vic.gov.au and from WorkSafe offices.
Applicants qualified to use blasting explosives issued outside Victoria may also apply for a licence if the qualification is recognised by WorkSafe.
For general blasting operations the applicant must have:
- successfully completed an approved WorkSafe training course, or
- passed an approved test within six months of making the application. This must be verified by providing a Certificate of Competency, a Statement of Attainment or other written evidence.
For open cut mines, quarries and underground mine operations, the applicant must:
- have completed an approved WorkSafe training course or passed an approved test within the previous six months of making the application and provide a Certificate of Competency, Statement of Attainment or other written evidence
- provide a portfolio demonstrating practical experience with explosives and documenting at a minimum:
- 12 production shots at quarries, or
- six months of continuous involvement in blasting operations at an underground mine
- pass the oral and practical examination conducted by an assessor authorised by WorkSafe. A list of assessors is available from WorkSafe.
Proof of identity and security
To be issued with a licence to use blasting explosives, an applicant must provide:
- proof of identity documents to the value of 100 points
- documentary proof of passing a WorkSafe approved test or completing a WorkSafe approved training course in either general blasting, oil wells or open cut mines, quarries and underground mining not more than six months before the application is made
- evidence in the use of blasting explosives or of practical experience if seeking authorisations for special effects or open cut mines, quarries and underground mines.
An applicant must satisfy security requirements before a licence can be issued. This involves giving consent to WorkSafe to obtain their criminal history (known information) via a national police check and undergoing an ASIO security assessment where required.
An applicant must also be assessed by WorkSafe as a suitable person to hold a licence and not at risk of causing injury or damage to persons or property through an accident involving dangerous goods.
The following fees* apply:
Applying for a new licence or renewing a licence - $62.50
National police check - $40.00
ASIO security assessment (where required) - $20.00
Requested amendments - $21.88
Replacement of lost, stolen or destroyed licence - $50.00
*fees are GST exempt
Fees are not refundable once the work required by the application has been performed.
What does WorkSafe consider when deciding to issue or renew a licence?
WorkSafe will consider the following when assessing an application for a licence to use blasting explosives or whether a licence should be renewed:
- The applicant must not have been convicted or found guilty of or have a charge pending for an offence relating to violence, weapons, terrorism, damage to property, illegal drugs or dishonesty within the last 10 years that in the opinion of WorkSafe would pose a risk in relation to that person.
- The applicant must be a suitable person to hold the licence.
- WorkSafe must not believe the risk of injury or damage to persons or property, which may be incurred by an accident involving dangerous goods, is too great in the circumstances to justify issue or renewal of a licence.
- Whether the course undertaken by the applicant has been approved by WorkSafe for the methods of shot firing applied for to qualify for the licence authorisations sought.
An applicant holding a licence/permit/qualification to use blasting explosives issued by another Australian jurisdiction may qualify for a Victorian licence with equivalent authorisations and an endorsement to manufacture a maximum of 50 kg of ANFO. The applicant must provide their interstate issued qualification as proof of competency.
It is an offence under the Dangerous Goods Act 1985 to provide false or misleading information in an application.
Refusal of an application
If WorkSafe proposes to refuse an application, it must inform the applicant in writing and list the reasons why, and allow the applicant to make a submission in relation to the proposed refusal before making and giving notice of the final decision.
Amendments, suspension or revocation of a licence
An applicant may apply for an amendment to their licence. An Application for an Explosives Licence - Using Blasting Explosives must be completed and submitted for all amendments and be accompanied by all of the required information. The application for amendment will be assessed in the same way as an application for a new or renewed licence.
WorkSafe may amend, suspend or revoke a licence if it is satisfied that the licence holder is unsuitable to continue to hold the licence. WorkSafe is required to provide written notice one month prior to the changes taking effect and list the reasons why. No fee applies if WorkSafe issues an amendment to a licence or suspends or revokes a licence.
A licence holder must advise WorkSafe in writing of any change of circumstances that may affect the accuracy of any information given at any time by the licence holder to WorkSafe in relation to the licence. This includes where an applicant has previously advised in a licence application form that they had no occupational health and safety convictions but has subsequently been convicted of such an offence.
The information must be supplied as soon as is reasonably possible after the licence holder becomes aware that the change has occurred.
If you disagree with a decision
If an applicant or a licence holder does not agree with a licensing decision made by WorkSafe, they can apply to WorkSafe's Internal Review Unit (IRU) for the decision to be reviewed. This review checks that WorkSafe's decision was made in accordance with the processes that apply under the laws in relation to such a decision.
To appeal a decision, the applicant is invited to complete and submit a Review of Licensing Decision form within 14 calendar days from receipt of the decision (or such longer period as allowed by WorkSafe).
If the applicant or licence holder disagrees with the IRU decision, the applicant or licence holder may then apply to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal for the decision to be reviewed.
Issuing a licence
A licence to use blasting explosives may be issued for up to five years. It may have conditions, limitations and restrictions as appropriate to ensure the safety of persons and property.
It must be renewed before it expires. Once expired, a licence is no longer valid. A new licence application must be submitted for expired licences.
A decision on an application is usually made within 60 days after WorkSafe receives the required information.
Lost, stolen or destroyed licences
A licence is proof of compliance with the law. Licence holders must carry their licences with them at all times when using explosives. If a licence is lost, stolen or destroyed, contact WorkSafe's Licensing Branch on 1300 852 562.
Reporting unlicensed work
If you suspect work is being undertaken by an unlicensed person and/or not in compliance with the relevant laws, contact the WorkSafe Advisory Service or, in the case of an emergency, WorkSafe's Emergency Response Service (13 23 60) to report this activity.
Note: This guidance material has been prepared using the best information available to WorkSafe, and should be used for general use only. Any information about legislative obligations or responsibilities included in this material is only applicable to the circumstances described in the material. You should always check the legislation referred to in this material and make your own judgement about what action you may need to take to ensure you have complied with the law. Accordingly, WorkSafe cannot be held responsible and extends no warranties as to the suitability of the information for your specific circumstances; or actions taken by third parties as a result of information contained in the guidance material.