Blasting in residential neighbourhoods
Following several incidents in my ward (Lucerne) I’m passing on information about explosives and the responsibility of entrepreneurs blasting in residential neighbourhoods. With the ground thawing, the blasting may resume or increase in scale.
First, companies using or transport explosives must obtain a general explosive permit from the Sûreté du Québec and a licence from the Régie du bâtiment du Québec.
The provincial police assigns an explosive agent for each district. The agent responsible for Outaouais is Marie-Claude Lord. Her phone number is 819 994-6019 or 1 800 731-4000 extension 7153.
The Régie du bâtiment has teamed up with the ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux (MSSS) in view of inciting contractors doing explosive work to distribute to anyone concerned a carbon monoxide detector as well as the leaflet entitled Danger: Explosives. Carbon monoxide is a normal by-product of blasting operations. This invisible gas can enter homes through the ground, during the day or at night, even several days after blasting. It seeps through broken underground channels, fragmented rock, underground piping, highly porous soils, road fill and service connections.
To avoid carbon monoxide poisoning, residents must install a carbon monoxide detector in the basement where the gas usually infiltrates. Similar to a smoke detector, residents should test the detector to ensure that they can hear the alarm from every room in the house.
On the day of the blasting, residents are encouraged to open two windows to improve air flow and help ventilate the home. If the building is equipped with an air exchange system, it should run continuously at the highest setting for at least 48 hours.
Companies should advise residents within a 100-metre radius of the blasting zone, ideally 24 hours in advance of
blasting. Companies should also furnish residents with a carbon monoxide detector and install it. It should also provide residents with the project supervisor’s contact information and inform them about the risks of carbon monoxide. A company representative should ask residents to sign a registry with the date and the time after notification. Detectors should remain functional 14 days after blasting.
The company representative should make at least three attempts to reach the occupants. If unsuccessful, the resident should still have at their disposal the project supervisor’s contact information, the date and time of the blasting and a leaflet.
If the carbon monoxide detector goes off, the situation should be treated as an emergency. Evacuate the building and call 9-1-1. This type of intervention is usually handled by firefighters.
According to the government of Quebec, the business in question remains responsible for any damages caused by their activities or those of their employees, as well as the consequences of all that ensues.
Councillor Mike Duggan
Lucerne District, Aylmer Sector