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Explosive Safety Specialist
Significant Points

This series includes positions which manage, supervise, administer, lead, advise on, or perform explosives safety work including protecting personnel and property from the hazardous consequences of and reducing and mitigating the risks associated with intentional and unintentional detonations, managing the risk of handling ammunition and explosives, and ensuring compliance with explosives safety policy and regulations.

The work requires knowledge of:

  • explosives safety laws, policies, regulations, rules, procedures, and methods;
  • munitions, explosives, and energetic materials, and related disciplines, the effects of munitions, the means of preventing or reducing explosive mishaps, and the relationship between quantity-distance siting criteria and personnel safety; and
  • explosives hazard classification, munitions storage, explosive ordnance disposal, Arms, Ammunition and Explosives Physical Security.
  • Nature of the Work

    Explosives safety work involves protecting personnel and property from the consequences of munitions, explosives, and energetic materials and identifying, eliminating, or reducing hazards to mitigate risks. Typical explosives safety programs deal with such areas as explosive mishap risk assessment; explosion effects; hazard classification; storage and compatibility groups; separation distances; quantity-distance and siting; and munitions response.

    Explosives safety work does not cover positions responsible for protecting personnel and property associated with small arms munitions (up to .50 caliber weapons, hand grenades, etc.); positions associated with operation of small arms training facilities (i.e., shooting ranges); and positions associated with safe handling and storage of nuclear ordnance and nuclear waste. The Explosives Safety Series does not cover positions responsible for performing “bomb disposal” functions typically performed by law enforcement organizations.

    Explosives safety specialists often use data and information collected and developed by scientists (e.g., chemists, physicists) and engineers. They work closely with and receive support from occupational safety and health personnel, legal advisors, land managers, emergency response personnel, military ordnance and weapons specialists, public affairs specialists, and others involved with explosives safety plans and programs.

    Typical duties include:

  • advising on or resolving technical matters dealing with explosives/ordnance safety requirements; determining appropriate explosives/ordnance marking, packaging, storage, and shipping requirements; determining the serviceability of ammunition and performing ammunition sentencing functions; and serving as a member of explosives safety Qualification/Certification Board;
  • managing components of explosives safety program(s) including appropriate ordnance safety precautions, security procedures, and documentation requirements;
  • developing and recommending explosives safety policy and plans to higher levels of management;
  • developing and implementing explosives safety standards, regulations, practices, and procedures to minimize or eliminate potential safety hazards and threats;
  • developing and implementing programs to reduce the frequency, severity, and cost of explosives accidents, injuries and fatalities;
  • identifying ordnance and determining procedures and methods for its disposal;
  • inspecting or evaluating workplaces, processes, or products for compliance with established explosives policies and standards; and to identify potential new explosives safety hazards and threats;
  • designing or modifying workplaces, processes, or products to minimize or eliminate explosives safety hazards and threats;
  • training workforce in explosives safety; and
  • providing ordnance identification, demolition, and emergency response training and assistance to military, Federal, State, and local law enforcement agencies.
  • Explosive Ordnance: For purposes of this web page, all munitions contain explosives. This includes bombs and warheads; guided and ballistic missiles; artillery, mortar, rocket, and small arms ammunition; mines, torpedoes, and depth charges; demolition charges; pyrotechnics; clusters and dispensers; cartridge and propellant actuated devices; electro-explosive devices; clandestine and improvised explosive devices; and all similar or related items or components explosive in nature.

    Explosive Safety Specialist (Handler), GS-0017-09

    (1) Handles, identifies, and examines ammunition and explosives items, components, storage areas, and transportation conveyances to detect defects, serviceability, and deterioration; and assures compliance with directions and regulations. Uses a variety of test gauges and equipment, such as, multi-meters, galvanometers, ring gauges, pull a part test tables, etc.

    (2) Handles, identifies and examines stored ammunition and explosives to determine true condition, deterioration trends, and non-standard and hazardous methods of storage. Assures that associated reports are completed. Visually examines and tests lightening protection systems by performing electrical tests and records findings to assure proper documentation. Properly condition codes ammunition and completes appropriate documentation of ammunition transfer records, condition reports, etc.

    (3) Handles, identifies, and examines the live turn-in of ammunition to determine the condition and packaging of ammunition. Takes appropriate action to return ammunition to a serviceable condition and properly packages unserviceable ammunition for storage. Determines causes of ammunition un-serviceability and takes appropriate action when ammunition deterioration is found to be other than “fair wear and tear”.

    (4) Performs damage-in-transit, periodic, receipt, and visual examination of ammunition received by ASP to determine the true condition. Assigns condition codes. Completes the proper and required documentation of ammunition transfer records, surveillance records, ammunition condition reports, quality deficiency reports, magazine data cards and numerous other documentation and/or reports.

    (5) Visually examines vehicles prior to loading to determine if the vehicle is suitable for transportation of hazardous materials and ensure that the correct ammunition has been issued and is properly packaged, marked and labeled, and in compliance with directives and regulations. Assures the load is compatible and properly blocked and braced for transportation and that all hazardous material manifests, fire fighting instructions, vehicle inspection reports, and issue documentation has been properly prepared. Briefs ammunition drivers on proper route plans, fire fighting procedures and safety concerns prior to release of the vehicle.

    (6) Advises using units on the proper procedures for completion of documentation for issue and turn-in of ammunition and residue. This requires an in-depth knowledge of ammunition administrative procedures as outlined in Department of the Army (DA) regulations, pamphlets, and other applicable regulations.

    (7) Operates forklifts, stake bed trucks, pallet jacks, and various hand tools, as needed.

    (8) Performs other duties assigned.

    Explosive Safety Specialist, GS-0017-11

    Provides expertise in the composition and formulation of military, commercial and improvised types of explosives and improvised explosive devices (IEDs), including ability to design and construct IED configurations that may be concealed within passenger bags, on personnel, or in other medium that could lead to placement on an aircraft.  Applicant is well versed in explosives effects mitigation, safe separation distances, and risk management related to operations involving energetic materials.  Requires some supervision.  Has experience with non-destructive inspection (NDI) technologies and their application to detecting explosive materials.  Familiar with chemical formulations and properties related to NDI technologies.

    Explosive Safety Specialist (Detection), GS-0017-12
  • Provides explosive detection and countermeasures equipment program management and technical oversight.
  • Establishes parameters and evaluation standards in the identification and delivery of state-of-the-art equipment to manage the threat level of the host country.
  • Directs the logistics of explosive detection equipment procurement and delivery.
  • Develops standard operating procedures for the operation and maintenance of explosive detection equipment in support of the explosive detection.
  • Conducts explosive detection equipment analyses to identify potential vulnerability of overseas Department of State facilities to terrorist threats and to advise senior level managers in the planning, development and implementation of safeguards to ensure that the Local Guard Program maintains maximum explosive detection security safeguards.
  • Develops and implements new methods and techniques that satisfy policy and operational requirements characteristic of the host country threat level.
  • Explosive Safety Specialist ( Explosives Countermeasures Instructor), GS-0017-12

    The Specialist serves as an instructor for explosives and Improvised Explosive Device (IED) recognition and avoidance techniques with responsibility for planning, organizing, and presenting and/or managing the presentation of one or more of these courses and for evaluating training effectiveness to ensure that objectives are met. The incumbent also serves as a DS Training Center subject matter expert in explosives and IED recognition.

    Major Duties:

    • Plans, organizes and manages the presentation of explosive training courses
    • Reviews established training objectives, lesson plans, training materials, and instructional methods prior to the beginning of assigned courses
    • Researches and reviews current intelligence related to the diplomatic security mission and introduces applicable information into ECU courses
    • Coordinates logistics arrangements for assigned courses including student travel and lodging, interpreters, escort officers, space availability, facilities, and equipment at training sites
    • Arranges for guest speakers, approves shipments of special equipment and materials, and other related activities
    • Complies with all FLETA accreditation standards
    • Resolves problems that occur in the preparation for and during training
    • Evaluates training effectiveness to ensure that training objectives have been met
    • Reviews and analyzes trainee evaluations, feedback from instructors, and personal observations
    • Identifies need for revision to course content and materials or instructional methods as necessary to improve the driver training curriculum effectiveness and quality
    • Evaluates the impact of planned or projected changes in DS security programs and associated training requirements on the existing content, materials, and methods used for explosive training
    • Recommends minor updates/revisions to courses or recommends the need for a complete curriculum review to the Unit Chief
    • Develops budget estimates for assigned courses
    • Monitors the expenditure of funds to ensure optimum efficiency in the use of assigned resources
    • Participates in curriculum review conferences as a subject matter expert in explosives training
    • Assists instructors in other security related subjects
    • Provides assistance in conducting practical exercises when needed
    • Presents security awareness briefings to a wide range or audiences, including senior officials
    • Establishes and maintains liaison with a broad array of law enforcement, security, military, government and civilian organizations interested in or affected by security/defensive driving
    • Keeps abreast of current security techniques, methods, and procedures in the EOD through attendance at training sessions, seminars, and workshops
    • Assists in scheduling and planning classes by developing and maintaining close contact with program coordinators as well as with other appropriate training entities
    • Submits training records in a timely manner
    • Serve as subject matter expert for the design of new training
    • Tests/evaluates new training courses and instructional materials
    •  Accounts for equipment inventory and maintenance for assigned training programs
    Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement

    Successful completion of either Naval School, Explosives Ordnance Disposal, Indian Head, MD; or Hazardous Devices School, Huntsville, AL; or equivalent specialized instruction and training on the handling and safe use of explosive and energetic materials.  Ten (10) years in the explosives field, which demonstrates a thorough knowledge of military, commercial, and improvised types of explosives and improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

    Experience in an explosive detection security specialization specifically as it applies to physical security and related hostile threat tactics employed by terrorists.

    Experience as a technical authority in the field and provide authoritative recommendations to senor level management for explosive detection program improvement.

    Experience researching and implementing new and improved explosive detection security methods for the protection of facilities and personnel overseas.

    SECURITY CLEARANCE REQUIRED:  Must  be able to obtain a favorable Public Trust (NAC).

    Sources of Additional Information

    Information on obtaining Exploxive Safety Specialist positions with the Federal Government is available from the Office of Personnel Management through USAJOBS, the Federal Government's official employment information system. This resource for locating and applying for job opportunities can be accessed through the Internet at or through an interactive voice response telephone system at (703) 724–1850 or  (703) 724–1850  or TDD (978) 461–8404 and   (978) 461–8404. These numbers are not toll free, and charges may result. For advice on how to find and apply for Federal jobs, download the Insider's Guide to the Federal Hiring Process” online here.


    • Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition; and
    • Office of Personnel Management, Position Classification Standards.

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