Blasting: Strict tort liability or negligence

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


At present blasters are strictly liable under tort law for personal injury and property damage caused by ground vibrations and/or air overpressures. The application of strict tort liability to vibration and air overpressure damage has resulted in litigation that has hapered and probably will continue to hamper the blasting industry. There are many case histories in which blasters have been sued for the appearance of cosmetic cracking, some of which have involved frivolous claims and marginal expert testimony (Oriard 1999). This litigation has resulted in additional costs to the blasting and construction industries and the American public because there are usually many plaintiffs involved and each case is usually adjudicated separately instead of under a class-action format. It is proposed herein that blasters not be held liable for vibration or air overpressure damages unless their conduct is proven to be negligent. A number of reasons are presented for raising the legal standard from strict liability to negligence including: (1) improvements in blasting technology that allow blasting to be conducted without substantial risk of damage and if damage does occur it is likely to be cosmetic, (2) establishment of conservative ground vibration and air overpressure damage limits for typical structures, and (3) established industry standards for construction blasting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)245-257
Number of pages13
JournalProceedings of the Annual Conference on Explosives and Blasting Technique
StatePublished - Jan 1 2002
Event28th Annual Conference on Expolsives and Blasting Technique - Las Vegas, NV, United States
Duration: Feb 10 2002Feb 13 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Building and Construction
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology

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