Sandblasters or metal fabrication labourers remove excess metal and unwanted materials from metal parts, castings, and other metal products and perform other labouring activities for metal fabrication trades. They do so using sandblasters, grinders, buffers, and other hand-held and powered tools. 

Similar to a regular labourer, this occupation is responsible for ensuring metalworking areas are clean, and assists all metal-based tradespeople with everyday activities. General construction labourer experience is often an asset as a sandblaster works in much of the same capacity, except their labour activities are focused more on structural steel, boiler & platework, heavy machinery manufacturing and sheet metal fabrication.

  • Assist structural steel & platework fitters, sheet metal workers, metalworking machine operators and other metal workers with general duties, including reading and interpreting work orders.
  • Operate metal cleaning equipment such as wheelabrators, deburrers and shotblasters to remove excess welds, rust, scale and other material from the surfaces of metal parts, castings and other metal products.
  • Clean and prepare work areas, including loading and unloading vehicles and sorting metal sheets, parts, and scrap materials.
  • Immerse metal products in cleaning solutions and/or polish metal products to a mirror finish.
  • You enjoy physical labour and performing different tasks and duties from day to day.
  • You are keen to work with metal-based tradespeople on a common project.
  • You consider yourself a good assistant/helper and are keen to learn as you go.
  • You are keen to add work experience to a future metal-based trades apprenticeship career pathway.
  • You are someone who knows you want to get into metal-based trades but doesn’t really know where to begin.


Careers as a sandblaster in the BC shipbuilding & ship repair industry usually begin with with a job directly at a shipyard. Many get their start in shipbuilding as a shipyard labourer prior to moving on to becoming a sandblaster. 

Discuss possible career steps with your school counsellor, career counsellor, or a union hall representative and consider high school trades programs and post-secondary pre-apprenticeship programs as a great place to start learning about the trades.


Currently, there are no defined academic requirements for someone to be eligible to become a sandblaster. Certification for abrasive blasters can be done through the Steel Structures Painting Council (SSPC). In BC, only the holder of a valid Blaster’s Certificate issued by WorkSafeBC, or acceptable to WorkSafeBC, is permitted to conduct or direct a blasting operation, and then only if the work involved is within the scope of that certificate.