Just How Dangerous a Job Is a "Demolition Expert"?

I should clarify-by “Demolition Expert” I mean a man who places explosive charges to blast away rock, and attaches explosive charges to buildings being demolished.
It involves work with explosives (chiefly dynamite), and placing fuses in the same.
I assume that it is a bit more hazardous than regular construction work…but how much?
How does it compare with being a police officer, soldier, fireman, etc., in terms of the risk of getting killed or injured?

I am not a demolition expert. I have been trained as a Combat Engineer. So I have been taught how to blow shit up real good. In my opinion its not that dangerous. There are common sense precautions that must be taken. But explosives are designed to be as stable as possible. Industrial explosives are a bit more powerful and a little less stable than military explosives but if you keep the initiator away from the charge nothing should go boom.

From what I understand controlled dets of buildings have different dangers. They basically gut the building first. Sometimes the buildings are old and not completely stable. But thats not a problem with the explosives.

many occupations are prone to injury like firefighters the average firefighter gets several trips to the ER a year for little things, I would imagine that working with large loads of high explosives, there are not alot of injuries but when something goes bad, someone gets dead.

I knew a demolitions expert in the Army whose main job was defusing shells which had failed to detonate (or rigging them with additional explosives so they could blow them up). He said that the armor they wore was mostly to keep the wives from worrying too much; if a shell goes off at point blank, there’s nothing left to bury. However, he felt he was in more danger during his daily commute than during his day at work.

Maxim 2: A sergeant in motion outranks a lieutenant who doesn’t know what’s going on
Maxim 3: An ordinance technician at a dead run outranks everybody.

Oh, yes, they guy I knew did, in fact, wear a t-shirt reading “I am a trained demolitions expert. If you see me running, try to keep up.”

Question–do you not consider nitroglycerin to be an explosive, or do you not consider it to be “designed”?

Mostly, it would be considered obsolete. It’s not used much anymore. (Because it was both very explosive, and very unstable.)

32 years in explosives and ammunition here. NG is used in all double base and triple base howitzer and gun propellents. It’s one of the main components after nitrocellulose. It’s used in small arms (US military) propellant. Still used in common commercial dynamite.

have we had an “Ask the guy who plays with explosives” thread yet…

Seen on tee shirt:

If you see me running, try to keep up.

Well sure but I don’t think that’s what was being asked. If I read it correctly they were asking about pure nitro. You are talking about it as the active component in a stabalized compound.

While nitroglycerine is widely in use for flake and powder propellants, its use in high explosive mixtures and cast propellants has been almost completely replaced by other compounds due to long term stability, as it tends to leach out. For the most part, commercial dynamite has been replaced by ANFO-based slurries and methylammonium nitrate based water-gel explosives like Seismopac, which are cheaper and safer to transport.


Like I said, I’m not an explosives expert, just a part time Army guy who gets to play with explosives sometimes. I have only dealt with military grade explosives. Which is always a scary term to be used in fiction but in general military explosives are not as powerful* as their commercial counterparts. Is that still true with commercial ANFO explosives and others?

*The military is willing to trade some explosive power for increased stability. Which makes sense when you think that some engineer may have to tote it around in his rucksack in the middle of a war. But still the difference in net explosive weight is not that great. It also means more reliance on low strength blating caps and boosters rather than full strength blasting caps and never using electrical ignition.

Not to get into an argument, but propellants are explosives and a NG is hardly obsolete. True, it’s use in blended commercial dynamite is vastly reduced due to inherent instability and use of newer formulations. Note that the US still buys at least two different formulations of NG based dynamite for training purposes with dog scent kits and yes, it does deteriorate on a regular basis. Western nation’s use is about gone but the demo folks still expect it to be found elsewhere.

“Military” dynamite (US version) is just TNT packaged in a cardboard tube - no NG. NG based high explosives are just too unstable for general US military use. The use in propellants is a different matter. The NG is actually quite stable in the formulations with nitrocellulose and nitrogunadine. The deterioration of propellants over time is related to the breakdown of the nitrocellulose.

Not nearly as dangerous as a Demolitions Trainee.