Permits and notifications - Charger's certificate - Yleistä
Chargers are individuals who have a valid charger’s certificate and who work with explosives. Pursuant to the Finnish Charger Act, chargers’ certificates include a pyrotechnician’s certificate, a junior charger’s certificate, a senior charger’s certificate, a chief charger’s certificate and a blasting coordinator’s certificate.
Pyrotechnicians have their own certificate, as their work differs from that of other professionals who work with explosives. The educational requirements are also different. A pyrotechnician’s certificate can be issued to anyone who was issued a charger’s certificate or a chief charger’s certificate prior to 1 September 2016 and who has at least six months of experience in pyrotechnics.
A junior charger’s certificate can be issued to individuals who have work experience in, for example, clearance, ice jams, laboratory experiments, rock blasting or explosion welding, using explosives to blast structural, hardened or hot materials or seismic blasting.
Senior chargers and chief chargers can be certified to work either above ground or underground. Chargers with the right training and experience can apply for both certificates.
The blasting coordinator’s certificate is a new addition to the range of chargers’ qualifications. Blasting coordinators are certified to handle explosives similarly to other chargers, but their responsibilities mainly relate to planning and coordinating the use of explosives. Only a blasting coordinator can be in charge of blasting operations in residential areas.
Chargers’ certificates are issued for five years at a time. Applicants must be at least 20 years of age, and the certificate expires on the charger’s 68th birthday at the latest.
Applicants must have completed a training course and attended an interview, in addition to which they must have enough work experience. The training and work experience requirements depend on the certificate that the applicant is seeking.
Applicants also need to be medically and otherwise fit for the work.
As chargers are authorised to handle and use explosives, the Regional State Administrative Agency for Western and Inland Finland has a duty to request a concise security clearance for all chargers. Applicants must complete and sign a concise security clearance form and send it to the Regional State Administrative Agency with their application.
Health care professionals have a duty to let occupational safety and health authorities know if they deem an applicant to be unfit for the work by filling in a health care professional’s report on the suitability of applicants for a charger’s certificate.
The licensing authority charges a fee of EUR 315 for processing each application. A charger’s certificate is a personal document the bill for which is payable by the certificate holder personally and always sent to their home address.
Links for applicants for chargers’ certificates (material in Finnish)
- Application form
- Instructions for applying for chargers’ certificates
- Instructions for renewing chargers’ certificates
- Concise security clearance form
- List of training courses for chargers
- List of qualified experts
Individuals who were issued a charger’s certificate prior to 1 September 2016 can continue to work with explosives until the expiry of their certificate, however not beyond 1 September 2021.
The new senior charger’s certificate equates to the old charger’s certificate. The new and old chief charger’s certificates are essentially the same.
Old versus new chargers’ certificates (in Finnish)
Individuals who were in possession of a chief charger’s certificate and had sufficient work experience when the new regulations entered into force qualify for a blasting coordinator’s certificate as long as they attend the requisite interview by 31 December 2019.
Applying for and renewing chargers’ certificates
The authority responsible for issuing and cancelling chargers’ certificates is the Division of Occupational Safety and Health of the Regional State Administrative Agency for Western and Inland Finland. Applications for chargers’ certificates must be made in writing.
Certificate holders who complete a refresher course before the expiry of their existing certificate can apply to have the period of validity of their certificate extended by five years.
Chargers’ training and refresher courses
Applicants for chargers’ certificates must have completed the requisite basic training course before they can sit the exam.
The minimum length of basic training for junior chargers and pyrotechnicians is 40 lessons.
Senior chargers must complete at least 224 lessons of basic training. Shorter training may be enough if an applicant has previous work experience or other experience that they can be given credit for, but the minimum number of lessons is always at least 164. The exact number of lessons depends on each individual’s work experience and other experience.
The minimum length of basic training for chief chargers is 90 lessons. Trainees can be given credit for previous experience. However, at least 80 lessons must always be completed.
Blasting coordinators must complete at least 40 lessons of basic training.
Once they have passed their exam, applicants must attend an interview with an expert approved by the licensing authority.
The refresher course required for renewing certificates consists of eight lessons. The refresher course is the same for all certificate holders. The refresher course focuses on any relevant legislative reforms that have been introduced.
Applicants must complete the refresher course before their certificate expires. If a course is cancelled for reasons beyond an applicant’s control, they can apply for an extension to their certificate from the licensing authority.
Charger training notices
Charger training is overseen and coordinated by the licensing authority. Each basic training and refresher course must have a designated course leader, chosen by the institution running the course. The course leader must notify the Regional State Administrative Agency of each new course well in advance and in any case no later than 14 days before the scheduled start of the course.
Charger training notices must be sent to the Division of Occupational Safety and Health of the Regional State Administrative Agency for Western and Inland Finland at PO Box 272, FI-33101 TAMPERE.
The licensing authority keeps a register of holders of chargers’ certificates pursuant to the Finnish Charger Act. The register contains the details of all chargers’ certificates that are valid in Finland at any given time. More information about the register is available from the Regional State Administrative Agency for Western and Inland Finland on +358 (0)29 501 8450 (general enquiries).