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The Unexploded Explosive Ordnance (UXO) section has moved. Our current webpage will remain available until the move to Canada.ca is complete. Visit our new location for the latest information. Please be sure to update your bookmarks.

You need to be aware of UXO hazards if you are planning to build, demolish, work the ground or extract natural resources in an area that was once used by the military and contains UXO (unexploded explosive ordnance) – old bombs - on or under the ground.

Whether you are planning, ploughing or excavating, you and everyone you work with should be aware of the potential UXO hazard and what action to take.

Before beginning work, contact us to determine if a safety briefing is required. We recommend that you read the UXO Safety Handbook and ensure everyone at the work site knows its contents. In some cases it may be necessary to have UXO-qualified personnel on-site or on-call during the work.

Recognizing UXO Areas

You probably cannot give a definitive answer if asked whether or not there are UXO at your work site. Areas that contain UXO may not look any different than areas that don’t. Do not assume there is no UXO.

The land you are using may contain UXO if there are:

  • reports in the media or the community about the potential for UXO;
  • former or active military bases or training grounds in the area;
  • warning signs (however, because many sites do not have signs – no sign does not mean no danger);
  • reports of previous UXO-related work or incidents;
  • discarded boxes or containers that may have contained munitions;
  • metal fins or other oddly shaped pieces of metal pieces present;
  • circular depressions in the ground (old explosion craters), or
  • dead animals that have been severely injured.

The site may pose a risk even if the above indicators are not present. If you are not sure, we encourage you to contact us.

Advice for Organizations

Employers and organizations responsible for any work at a site potentially containing UXO should:

  • inquire if a UXO safety briefing is required;
  • ensure that everyone at the work site knows how to recognize UXO and what to do if it is found;
  • establish safety procedures, especially for activities that disturb the surface of the land;
  • establish a hazard-reporting procedure that employees must follow;
  • provide work site up-to-date information on known hazards, and
  • ensure that staff have undergone first aid training and have first aid supplies. 

Advice for Individuals

Anyone who might be going to the worksite should:

  • be aware of potential UXO hazards where you are working or visiting;
  • stay alert and exercise caution;
  • whenever possible, travel with a colleague;
  • remain aware of the potential UXO risk and not become careless or complacent.

You should not:

  • enter the area at night;
  • approach, touch or take home suspicious objects, or
  • try to uncover buried objects.

If you see something that looks like UXO:

1. Don't touch it!
UXO can explode and cause injury or death if touched or struck by a shovel or machinery.

2. Note the location and leave the area.
Remember where you saw the object. Go back the way that you came. If you see UXO from your vehicle, stay inside and back out. Prevent others from entering the area.

3. Call 911 or local police.
As soon as possible, call 911 or contact local police. Report to your manager what you found, where you found it and what you did.