Explosives

Man wearing hard hat, gloves and eye protection carries a box of explosives next to a truck with a sign labeled 'explosives'Explosives have many important uses in mining, quarrying, construction and demolition, avalanche control, manufacturing, firefighting, law enforcement, entertainment industry, pyrotechnics (fireworks), logging, agriculture, and even medicine to fracture kidney and gall stones.

Both federal and state licensing regulations are in place to ensure protection for the general public, a safe workplace for users of explosives, and to prevent illegal use and misuse of explosives.

State licensing

If you manufacture, sell, purchase, store, or blast with explosives, you will need a Washington State Explosives License. Only individuals can be licensed as Users (Blasters) after passing a written test administered by L&I.

Applications

Licensing requirements are listed in WAC 296-52-61005 through 66060 (3.69 MB PDF). Read the sections, then fill out one of the forms as needed:

Fingerprinting

Fingerprint-based background checks are required by law (RCW 70.74.360 (app.leg.wa.gov)). See example fingerprint card form (524 KB PDF).

Mail your completed fingerprint cards and payments to the following address, or bring them to any L&I service location:

Department of Labor and Industries
Explosives Licensing
PO Box 44655
Olympia WA 98504-4655

If you need any of these materials sent to you, please contact us at 360-902-5563 or e-mail ExplosivesLicensing@lni.wa.gov. Manuals are sent by CD unless specifically requested.

Federal licensing

You will also need a federal license, issued by the ATF, if you manufacture, import, sell, purchase, use or handle, or store explosives (unless you work for state or local government). Find more information:

Rules and laws

Washington State

Federal

L&I procedures and enforcement guidance

Code revision, program updates, and stakeholder groups

On Oct. 4, 2017, L&I hosted the first meeting of the Explosive Safety Stakeholder Group. The group is 21 leaders from private industry, government, and law enforcement who have experience ranging from 5 – 30+ years in the handling, use, manufacture, sale/purchase, transport, licensing and research of explosives, and explosives safety from across the state.

We asked 1 basic question:

Does the Washington Code regarding Safety Standards for Possession, Handling, and Use of Explosives (WAC 296-52) need to be revised?

Their answer was a unanimous "YES."

We have just begun the process of revising this code. Please see the attached report and check back for updates about the meetings and progress on this important project.

Explosives Safety Stakeholder Group (ESSG) meetings

The Explosives Safety Stakeholder Group (ESSG) was created in 2017 in cooperation with explosives industry, government and law enforcement leaders. It is an advisory group for the Department of Labor and Industries regarding explosives safety, policy, and procedures in Washington. The group meets annually, except during times of code revision (quarterly then).

The mission of the ESSG is simple: Keep Washington safe and working — with explosives.

See the ESSG meeting schedule for more information.

Other agencies with explosives jurisdiction

Other resources

More help from L&I


For general information, call 1-800-423-7233.

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