Explosive Actuated Tools

UNB Reference Number: 7820
Authorized by: J. M. Anderson, President,
Effective Date: December 1, 1978
Revised: September 2001
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To outline the hazards and regulations associated with the use of explosive actuated tools.


All persons required to work explosive actuated tools.


Equipment - Explosive actuated tools

  • The tools shall have a firing mechanism that will prevent them from being fired:
    • while being loaded
    • if dropped
  • The tool will be capable of being fired only after two separate actions by the operator, including having the muzzle end held firmly against the working surface.
  • In the case of a high velocity tool, i.e., where the speed of the fastener or stud will exceed 300 feet per second at a distance of 6 1/2 feet from the muzzle end of the tool, the tool must be equipped with an ANSI Standard guard suitable for the particular operation.
  • When not in use, explosive actuated tools will be stored in locked containers.

Equipment - Explosive loads

  • The loads shall be clearly labelled as to their strength.
  • The loads shall be stored separately according to their strength.
  • When not in use, loads shall be stored in locked containers.


  • The operator shall inspect the tool before use to ensure that:
    • it is clean
    • all moving parts move freely
    • the barrel is free from any obstruction
  • The operator shall ensure that:
    • the guard on any high velocity tool is suitable for the particular fastening operation
    • the guard on any high velocity tool is indexed to the proper position for the particular fastening operation
    • no person is working near or behind any wall or object into which a stud or fastener is being driven
  • An explosive actuated tool shall be operated only by a person who:
    • has received instruction from an authorized representative for the manufacturer of the tool and possesses a valid operator's certificate
    • is wearing safety glasses and a hard hat
    • has ensured that no flammable or explosive gases, vapors, dusts or other such hazardous substances are present
  • Explosive-actuated tools shall not be used to force a projectile into a working surface which is harder than the projectile being used
  • Where there is the possibility of the projectile passing through a working surface, appropriate action should be taken to ensure that no persons will be exposed to the danger involved.