Experts from eight countries have set up a training program to standardize the assessment of skills of professionals who use explosives to destroy rock masses across Europe, the University of Coimbra (UC) announced today.
Prepared by experts from Germany, Estonia, France, Norway, Portugal, United Kingdom, Romania and Sweden, the plan complies with the standards of the European Federation of Explosion Engineers (EFEE), states the Faculty of Science and Technology of UC (FCTUC).
José Carlos Góis, a professor at that faculty, is the Portuguese specialist in explosive devices who participate in the project, which aims to adopt an identical use of explosives in European countries in the “clearing of rocky massifs“.
This training curriculum has been developed over the last three years under the European Union-funded ‘Pan-European Competency Certificate for Explosive Operators / Designers’ (PECCS) project.
The project also involves professional training institutions and associations and consulting firms linked to the application of explosives.
“Increasing safety in the civilian use of explosives and improving the possibilities for vocational training and mobility of European explosives operators” is the main objective of the project, José Carlos Góis, quoted by FCTUC.
The researcher at the FCTUC’s Energetic and Detonation Laboratory, the only national research and development laboratory working with explosive products, points out that the qualification required of professionals working with explosives is very different in Europe.
He added that “an explosives operator who intends to carry on his trade in another country faces great difficulties until he can obtain recognition of his certificate of qualification. Mobility of citizens between countries that EU treaties consecrate does not work in this sector of activity “.
The PECCS “was designed to respond precisely to this type of problem“, through a course that “allows its participants to obtain a universal certificate, which is accepted in all  EFEE member countries,” stresses José Carlos Góis.
The didactic material formulated by the specialists is divided into eight chapters (each partner is the author of a chapter), supported by an explanatory script.
To this material, more theoretical is added in each chapter a set of questions and exercises of application. Although written in English, all work will be translated into several languages, including Portuguese, according to FCTUC.
The training plan addresses safety issues, explosive product hazards, manufacturing characteristics, storage, transport and application of explosives, as well as geology, drilling, explosive dismantling theory, vibration and environment.
In order to obtain feedback from the developed material and collect contributions for some type of improvement, three test courses (in Stockholm, Sweden, Paris, France, and Dresden, Germany) were carried out during the project. were evaluated by specialists in the field of explosives application engineering in the dismantling of rock masses (mines, quarries, tunnels, etc.).
In order to guarantee the quality and credibility of the training, the courses and training materials now produced will be evaluated every three years by experts, concludes the FCTUC.