The commercial explosives industry is one of the most highly regulated industries in the United States. IME works with federal regulators to ensure that rules and regulations in place are based on sound science and data and, reflect the most up-to-date information about industry best practices. As evidence of IME's reputation as a trusted resource, several of our Safety Library Publications have been adopted into federal regulation.
Commercial Explosives Manufacturing
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is responsible for ensuring the safety of workers in the manufacture of explosive materials. These regulations are found in 29 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Part 1910.109.
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Bureau of Tobacco, Alcohol, Firearms and Explosives is responsible for licensing explosives manufacturers, security clearances of employees, and establishing standards for the storage of explosives incidental to the manufacture of explosives. These regulations are found in 27 CFR, Part 555.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is responsible for securing the nation's critical infrastructure from terrorist attacks. Chemical facilities, including those that manufacture explosives, are a discrete sector of the nation's critical infrastructure.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is responsible for regulating all manufacturing activities that involve or may involve a release of regulated pollutants or chemical substances to the environment. EPA regulations also govern past/historical releases associated with manufacturing activities and regulate the management of any hazardous wastes generated by the manufacturing process. EPA regulations are published at Title 40 Chapter I (Parts 1-799), Chapter V (Parts 1500 - 1517), and Chapter VI (Part 1700).
Transporting Commercial Explosives
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is responsible for all aspects of hazardous materials transportation. Unlike many other agencies, DOT regulations cannot be superseded by more stringent state regulations. Within DOT, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) is responsible for classifications, documentation, packaging, labeling, marking, placarding, and other internationally harmonized regulations (HMR) necessary for hazardous materials transportation. Importantly, no explosives may be transported without approval by the DOT. PHMSA also administers the hazardous materials registration program. These requirements are found in 49 CFR Parts 106, 107, 110, and Parts 171 through 180. PHMSA is primarily responsible for the enforcement of these standards by involving shippers and package manufacturers. DOT's modal administrations are primarily responsible for the enforcement of the HMR by respective carriers. Since shipments of hazardous materials are often transported intermodally, PHMSA and DOT's modal administrations are authorized to pursue enforcement into each other's primary area of enforcement responsibility. Since 94 percent of hazardous materials and virtually all explosives are transported via motor carrier, the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration (FMCSA) is responsible for driving, routing, parking, and attendance rules for explosives transportation. These regulations are found in 49 CFR Part 397.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is responsible for securing the United States against terrorist attacks. Within DHS, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is charged with ensuring the security of all modes of transportation. TSA works in coordination with DOT to achieve its mission when hazardous materials are transported. TSA is responsible for transportation worker security clearances and for standards to secure sensitive transportation-related information.
The U.S. Coast Guard is responsible for the regulation of hazardous materials in waterfront facilities. It has enforcement authority over the transportation of explosive materials on U.S. waterways. The Coast Guard's explosives regulations are found in 33 CFR, Parts 6 and 126 and 46 CFR, Parts 146, 147, and 148.
The Department of Commerce, Export Administration regulates the international commerce of explosive materials. These regulations are found in 15 CFR.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is responsible for regulating the transportation of hazardous waste. Shipments of all hazardous waste materials must be accompanied by a Uniform Hazardous Waste Manifest. Regulations governing the use of the manifest are found at 40 CFR Parts 260, 261, 262, 263, 264, 265 and 271.
Storing and Possessing Commercial Explosives
The Department of Justice's (DOJ), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is responsible for the publication of the List of Explosives Materials and their regulation. This includes storage magazine standards, licensing of manufacturers, importers, and distributors, and permitting of purchasers, receivers, and users. These rules are published in the ATF Federal Explosives Law and Regulations. Individuals authorized to possess explosives are subject to background checks to assess potential security threats.
Use of Commercial Explosives
The U.S. 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 gives 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 sections 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 on people and property beyond the permit boundary. The OSM rules at 30 CFR 816/817.61-68 provide performance standards that dictate uniform operating procedures for pre-blast 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.