(1) The employer shall ensure that all members of avalanche control blasting crews are competent ski mountaineers in good physical and mental condition.
(2) Each avalanche control blasting crew or team shall consist of a qualified and licensed blaster and at least one trained assistant.
(3) Untrained personnel may accompany blasting crews for training purposes but shall not participate in actual firing of charges until trained and authorized.
(4) The blaster in charge of each crew or team shall be responsible for all phases of preparation and placement of charges.
(5) Avalanche control blasting should be conducted during daylight hours whenever possible.
(6) Escape route.
(a) The avalanche control crew or team shall preplan the escape route before igniting any charge.
(b) The escape route shall be as safe and foolproof as possible and shall culminate behind a terrain barrier or at least one hundred feet from the blast site by the time of detonation.
(7) Hand-thrown charges.
(a) A blaster shall only work with one charge at a time.
(b) Before attaching the igniter, the blaster must:
(i) Be at the start of the escape route;
(ii) Check the runout zone for personnel;
(iii) Check the blast area for personnel.
(c) After the blaster attaches and activates the igniter:
(i) The blaster shall check to see that the fuse is ignited;
(ii) If the fuse did not ignite, no attempt shall be made to relight it. The blaster shall immediately remove the fuse cap from the charge to sidearm it. The fuse cap shall be treated as a misfire and be put in an appropriately safe place separate from all other explosive components. It shall not be approached for at least thirty minutes, after which time it shall be properly disposed of;
(iii) The practice of double fusing hand charges shall be allowed. An attempt shall be made to light both fuses. If only one of the two fuses lights, the charge shall be deployed as normal;
(iv) As soon as the fuse is ignited, the blaster shall promptly throw the charge into the target area;
(v) All personnel shall be in a safe place when the charge detonates.
(d) Where hand-thrown charges will slide down the hill on hard frozen snow or ice surface, charges shall be belayed with light cord.
(8) Hand charges thrown from ski lifts or trams.
(a) The number of charges thrown from ski lifts or trams shall be kept to a minimum.
(b) The lift operating crew shall be informed of the blasting plans.
(c) The lift crew shall stand by for emergency procedures such as transfer of lift onto auxiliary power, evacuation, etc.
(d) The lift crew and the blaster in charge shall be in direct radio contact at all times during the blasting operations.
(e) Only the avalanche control blasting crew and the essential lift operating personnel shall be on a lift or tram during blasting operations.
(f) The avalanche control blasting crew shall be traveling up slope when a charge is thrown.
(g) A charge shall always be thrown down slope and to the side, away from towers, haulropes and other equipment or facilities.
(h) The minimum distance from the blast target to the closest point of the lift shall be sixty feet.
(i) Hand charges shall not exceed 4.5 pounds of TNT equivalent.
(j) Fuses shall be timed and cut to such length that all personnel on the lift will have moved a minimum of three hundred feet from the blast target by the time of detonation.
(k) Precautions shall be taken to avoid tossing charges into any of the lift equipment, moving chairs, cables, towers, etc.
(9) Aerial avalanche control blasting.
(a) Blasting from aircraft shall require a written program approved by the Federal Aviation Administration and the director, or designee of the department of labor and industries.
(b) A written program shall include the following:
(i) Written procedures to be followed including provisions for safety in the avalanche runout zone and emergency rescue plans.
(ii) Hand charge makeup and handling procedures.
(iii) The type of explosives to be used.
(iv) The qualifications of all avalanche control personnel involved in aerial blasting must meet the requirements of WAC 296-52-64030
(v) The specific locations where aircraft blasting is to take place.
(c) An aerial avalanche control team shall be established consisting of (at minimum) a pilot, a blaster in charge and an observer/controller.
(d) Blasting from an aircraft shall require the blaster in charge to be a licensed avalanche blaster with an endorsement for aerial blasting. The blaster in charge will be on board during each aerial blasting mission.
|Note: ||Blasting from aircraft should only be used when it is determined that conventional methods are not the safest means to mitigate the existing avalanche hazard. |
(10) Avalauncher requirements.
(a) Management shall develop a written training program and ensure that every person who will be authorized to work on an avalauncher firing team is thoroughly trained. Training shall include:
(i) All operating instructions;
(ii) Safety precautions;
(iii) Emergency procedures;
(iv) Securing requirements for the equipment.
(b) Each employer shall have a list of authorized operators listed on a posted operator's list.
(c) Only trained and authorized personnel shall be permitted to point and fire an avalauncher with explosive rounds.
(d) During firing of explosive loaded rounds, the firing team shall consist of two qualified operators and not more than one adequately trained helper.
(e) Operators must have a current state blasting license.
(f) Each operator shall individually check the elevation, pointing and pressure settings of the gun before each shot is fired.
(g) Operators shall attempt to determine and record whether or not each round which is fired actually explodes on contact.
(h) The approximate location of all known misfired explosives (or duds) shall be recorded.
(i) Initial shooting coordinates for each avalauncher mount shall be made during periods of good visibility.
(j) Testing shall include test firing in various wind conditions.
(k) The correct coordinates for the various conditions encountered shall be carefully recorded.
(l) When spotter personnel are used in the target area, shooting shall be conducted with nonexplosive projectiles.
(m) Firing of explosive avalauncher rounds shall only be conducted when personnel are not in the target area.
(n) The avalauncher apparatus shall be stored in a nonfunctional condition when not in use. This shall be accomplished by:
(i) Locking out the firing mechanism or gas source in accordance with the lockout requirements of this chapter; or
(ii) Disassembly of functional components rendering the gun inoperable and separate storage of components removed; or
(iii) Removal of the entire gun to secure storage.
(o) With established avalauncher mounts, each autumn when reinstalling guns, the following procedures shall be accomplished before the gun is considered operable:
(i) All components shall be carefully inspected by qualified personnel;
(ii) After assembly and installation, the gun shall first be test fired using a nonexplosive projectile;
(iii) The established firing coordinates shall be checked by test firing.
(11) Cornice control requirements.
(a) Cornice buildup hazards shall be evaluated regularly by qualified personnel, particularly after heavy snowfall periods which are accompanied by high wind or other snow transport weather conditions.
(b) Cornice hazards shall be controlled whenever the buildup appears to offer potential hazard to areas accessible by personnel.
(c) The control team shall establish the tension breakline of the cornice roof as accurately as conditions permit before starting any other control work on the cornice.
(d) The tension breakline shall be marked when necessary.
(e) Small lightly packed cornices may be kicked off with a ski, ski pole, or shovel by an unbelayed control team member if the ridgeline can be clearly established and all work can be done from the safe side of the ridgeline.
(f) When working along an anticipated cornice breakline, control team members shall retreat back from the breakline to change work positions rather than traverse along the breakline.
(g) The following factors shall be given careful consideration before commencing control activities on any relatively larger cornice:
(i) The older and larger a cornice becomes, the more densely it compacts. Densely packed cornices release into larger blocks offering a higher level of danger to an extended runout zone. The control team leader shall therefore take highest level of precautions to assure that the runout zone is clear of personnel;
(ii) Larger size cornices result in increased suspended weight and leverage which may cause the breakline release fracture to occur behind the actual ridgeline. The actual ridgeline may also be obscured by the simple mass of larger cornices. Control team members shall stay off the cornice roof and must be protected by a secure belay when working near the suspected breakline;
(iii) All large cornices shall be released by explosives. Explosives shall be transported, made up and fired in accordance with the following requirements:
(A) The ignition system for single hand charge blasts shall be safety fuse and cap or a system approved by the department.
(B) Detonating cord or shock tube shall be used to connect multiple charge blasts.
(C) When detonating cord is used, one end shall be securely anchored where premature cornice collapse will not disturb the anchor. The fuse and cap shall be attached to the free end of the detonating cord after all charges are connected to the detonating cord.
(D) Safety fuse length shall be sufficient to permit adequate escapement time for all personnel from the area influenced by the blast. Safety fuse shall be not less than three feet long, approximately two minutes and twenty seconds, in all instances.
(h) Cornice control work on large cornices shall be conducted during daylight hours and preferably during favorable weather conditions. As a minimum, clear visibility shall exist across the full length of any cornice which the control team is attempting to release.
(12) Belaying practices.
(a) Belay rope shall be standard 11 mm mountaineering rope or the equivalent.
(i) Belay rope shall be inspected at not less than thirty-day intervals and maintained in excellent condition.
(ii) Defective belay rope shall not be used for belaying purposes.
(b) Adequate trees or other suitable natural belay anchors shall be used in preference to a human belay anchor when such natural anchors are available.
(c) The belay anchor position shall be as near to ninety degrees from the tension breakline as the terrain conditions will permit.
(d) With either a natural belay anchor or human belay anchor, the belay line shall be tended to keep slack out of the line.
(e) When either the belayed person or belay anchor needs to change position, the belayed person shall retreat back from the cornice to a safe position until the belay anchor is reestablished.
(f) When a human belay anchor is used:
(i) The belay anchor person shall establish the anchor position as far back away from the cornice as conditions permit;
(ii) The anchor person shall remain in a seated position with their legs pointed toward the belayed person until such time as the belayed person has retreated back from the cornice to a position considered to be safe.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 49.17.010, 49.17.040, 49.17.050, 49.17.060. 06-19-074, § 296-52-807, filed 9/19/06, effective 12/1/06.]