Construction Blaster Lead in McMurdo Station at PAE

Date Posted: 7/30/2020

Job Snapshot

Job Description

Supporting the Most Exciting and Meaningful Missions in the World

Construction Blaster Lead


Over-see all blasting operations in and around McMurdo Station.  Provide effective planning and leadership to ensure efficient and productive blasting operations.  Lead small teams of people under the guidance of the Supervisor within Fleet Operations. Proactively coordinate with all ASC departments as needed to facilitate and complete all sustaining and project needs of the United States Antarctic Program.

GENERAL DUTIES (not all inclusive):

  • Responsible for the safe storage, handling and use of commercial grade explosives required for science, construction and maintenance projects in Antarctica. When required and approved by NSF, also provides assistance/advice to NSF-sponsored scientific project personnel using explosives during their field investigations.
  • Establishes and maintains exclusive authority over the explosives cache at McMurdo Station and other U.S. stations and camps.   Ensures that the caches are a safe distance from the stations and camps, are properly marked and secured, and that explosives are stored in accordance with applicable commercial regulations.  
  • Regularly inspects stored explosives according to manufactures' recommendations and government regulations to ensure that degradation does not occur and that expiration dates are observed.   Disposes of dated explosives in accordance with appropriate procedures/regulations. 
  • Maintains accurate inventory records and provides end of season explosives usage reports detailing all explosives usage and inventories remaining.
  • Provides estimates and cost analysis of future explosive blast and drill project needs and makes purchase recommendations as required.
  • Measures, places, wires and detonates explosives in accordance with relevant technical/safety procedures including, but not limited to, Institute of Makers of Explosives (IME) and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF) procedures, necessary station/camp field safety procedures, and after coordinating the work with agency (ASC, Military, NSF) management personnel as appropriate.
  • Performs blast design including size, placement, timing and composition of explosive charges.  
  • Acts as blaster-in-charge at all blast sites. The Blaster Lead may delegate this roll to another qualified blaster as required.
  • Supervises all explosives related work at the storage/detonation sites.   Ensures that access, handling and use are limited to appropriate personnel only.  
  • Provides advice/assistance to scientific parties concerning appropriate explosives types/quantities for geophysical or other investigations, as required.  Also provides assistance in the field with the storage, transportation, and use of explosives.  
  • Complete blasting operations IAW OPS-SOP-0141 McMurdo Station Blasting Procedures
  • Operate autonomously under the guidance of the Supervisor to complete specific tasks and projects in support of Fleet Operations.
  • Effectively lead small groups of people to achieve departmental goals on a daily, weekly, and sometimes longer-term basis under the guidance of a Foreman Remove Foreman. Blaster Lead is equal to or above a Foreman’s position. or the Supervisor.  These small teams may include equipment operators, heavy equipment operators, and others
  • Coordinate with other HEO Leads and Foremen within Fleet Operations to ensure department-wide goals and daily operations are met and department wide resources are used efficiently.
  • Ensure safe and efficient use of all equipment assets that are being used by their team at McMurdo Station and its surroundings.
  • Perform daily equipment checks and ensure that all safety and maintenance issues are reported to the Vehicle Maintenance Facility (VMF) daily via proper reporting methods. (Ex: Submit Work Order to VMF for repair)
  • Ensure all team members read and understand the equipment manual for each piece of equipment prior to using that piece of equipment.
  • Ensure all team members are properly trained and evaluated in the safe use of any piece of equipment prior to allowing that team member to use the equipment unsupervised.
  • Provide written reports as needed summarizing work completed, issues encountered, lessons learned, equipment status, etc to ensure effective passing of information from shift to shift.
  • Safely and proficiently operate and/or over-see the operation of light vehicles such as pickups, heavy equipment such as bulldozers, articulating loaders, excavators, graders, drills, backhoes, fork-lifts, tele-handlers, snow blasters, tracked agricultural tractors, piston bullys, dump-trucks, snow moving and grooming equipment, etc, and cranes.
  • Complete daily work requests and assignments in a timely manner.
  • Attend meetings as needed to gain knowledge from and ensure coordination with all other departments in support of ASC operations.
  • Provide input to the Foremen and the Supervisor aiding in the completion of pre-season, mid-season, and end-of-season team member performance evaluations in accordance with established HR procedures.
  • Ensure all spills are properly reported and cleaned up per existing SOP’s.
  • Performs duties in support of Operations Division metrics.
  • Complies with and ensures all team members understand and comply with ASC Environmental Health & Safety and Quality Assurance goals and requirements.
  • Performs physical activities including heavy lifting, climbing in and out of tall vehicles and heavy equipment, crawling as needed, working outdoors in extreme cold, and walking long distances daily. 
  • Snow shoveling, ice-chipping, and other forms of manual labor required due to location of position.
  • Implements and maintains a safe workplace program and ensures that safety is the highest priority in the workplace.
  • Maintains self-control and represents ASC-PAE to the highest standards during on and off hours
  • Performs other duties as required.


  • High school graduate or equivalent is required. Two or Four year College degree is preferred.
  • Valid Driver's license required. Class A or B CDL preferred.
  • Evidence of previous license and/or certification preferred with no recertification restrictions. Minimum 5 years’ experience required as a certified Explosives Handler/Blaster in construction related blasting.  
  • Experience with permafrost and snow blasting conditions and other explosives handling/use in cold weather/polar regions is preferred.
  • Prior cold-climate equipment operations preferred.
  • One year of experience as an equipment operator, driller (such as those outlined above) is required.
  • Familiarity with Microsoft Office required.
  • General knowledge and understanding of project schedules required.
  • Willingness and ability to deploy to Antarctica for extended periods is required.
  • Must be willing and able to lift and move items, parts, assemblies and equipment up to the safety regulation maximum.
  • Must be willing and able to perform physical activities including heavy lifting, climbing in and out of equipment, crawling, and working outdoors.
  • Must successfully complete the physical, dental and psychological (if applicable) examinations as required by the NSF for deploying to Antarctica.
  • Must participate in community programs, such as “house-mouse” (chores), “daisy-picking” (cleaning-up around the station), recycling efforts & safety objectives.
  • US citizenship or US Permanent Resident Status without sponsorship is required.

PAE is proud to be an Equal Opportunity Employer. Our hiring practices provide equal opportunity for employment without regard to race, religion, color, sex, gender, national origin, age, United States military veteran’s status, ancestry, sexual orientation, marital status, family structure, medical condition including genetic characteristics or information, veteran status, or mental or physical disability so long as the essential functions of the job can be performed with or without reasonable accommodation, or any other protected category under federal, state, or local law.

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