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Explosive hazard (EH)

Definition In military operations, an Explosive Hazard (EH) refers to any form of explosive device that presents a risk. This could include conventional munitions, improvised explosive devices, unexploded ordnance, or other devices intended to cause harm or damage. The term is broadly used to cover all forms of explosives that pose safety threats in conflict […]


In military operations, an Explosive Hazard (EH) refers to any form of explosive device that presents a risk. This could include conventional munitions, improvised explosive devices, unexploded ordnance, or other devices intended to cause harm or damage. The term is broadly used to cover all forms of explosives that pose safety threats in conflict or post-conflict environments.

Key Takeaways

  1. The term “Explosive Hazard (EH)” broadly refers to devices or materials that are explosive in nature and can cause significant harm or damage, often utilized in military operations or in conflict zones. These are risks that must be systematically identified, evaluated, and appropriately disposed of by qualified personnel.
  2. Explosive hazards can typically include unexploded ordnance (UXO), landmines, improvised explosive devices (IEDs), booby traps, or other types of explosives. Despite their various forms, all pose a considerable threat not just to the armed forces but also to civilians and infrastructure, especially in post-conflict recovery situations.
  3. Decisive steps are often undertaken by military and humanitarian entities in EH clearance operations. Aside from doing preliminary surveys and risk assessments, the process typically involves using specific protective measures, technical equipment, and specialized knowledge and training. The aim is to locate, disarm, or dispose of these hazardous items safely and effectively.


The term “Explosive Hazard (EH)” is crucial in military operations as it denotes potential threats that can cause immediate harm or death to personnel, destruction to equipment or facilities, and interruption in the operation strategy.

EH could refer to various unexploded ordnances, improvised explosive devices, land mines, ammunition, or rockets that are armed and capable of causing significant damage.

Understanding, identifying, and effectively dealing with explosive hazards provide a level of safety for military personnel, enabling strategic planning in warzones, and ensuring the successful execution of missions.

It also underscores the need for specialized training in Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) teams to manage these threats.


An explosive hazard (EH) is a key concept in military operations, particularly concerned with security, safety and strategic planning. Its purpose is to denote and handle any situation, object, or environment which poses a threat due to the potential of causing an explosive event.

These hazards can encompass a broad range of explosive materials, such as landmines, unexploded ordnance (UXO), leftover explosives of war, and improvised explosive devices (IEDs). A primary function of acknowledging these hazards is to minimise risks and secure areas of operation for military personnel and local inhabitants, aiding in the prevention of casualties and unnecessary damage. The approach to an explosive hazard involves careful detection, identification, evaluation, and finally, clearance or disposal of these explosive materials.

This process not only aids in bolstering defense measures but also supports successful execution of military missions, creating a safer environment for operations to proceed unimpeded. For this reason, properly trained Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) teams are essential in military operability, as they are specialized in handling and neutralizing these hazards.

The management of explosive hazards is thus crucial for operational safety, the success of military missions, and the protection of civilian lives and infrastructure in conflict and post-conflict zones.

Examples of Explosive hazard (EH)

The Landmine Crisis: Extensive use of landmines in many conflict zones like Afghanistan, Cambodia, and Angola is a prime example of an explosive hazard. These mines stay inactive underground for years and can explode on slight pressure, causing severe harm to civilians and military personnel.

Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) in Laos: During the Vietnam War, the U.S. dropped more than two million tons of ordnance over Laos, of which approximately 30% did not explode. As a result, vast areas of Laos remain contaminated with unexploded bombs, making it a significant explosive hazard.

The Syrian Civil War: The ongoing war in Syria has led to the extensive use of explosive weapons in populated areas. The International Network on Explosive Weapons (INEW) has reported that the unexploded remnants of these weapons pose a long-term threat to civilian life, marking them as explosive hazards.

Frequently Asked Questions about Explosive Hazards (EH)

What is an Explosive Hazard (EH)?

An Explosive Hazard (EH) refers to any explosive ordnance or remains of explosive ordnance that constitutes a risk to human health and safety. This can include unexploded artillery shells, bombs, grenades, and landmines.

What is the impact of Explosive Hazards?

Explosive Hazards can pose a severe threat to both military and civilian populations. They can prevent the safe usage of land and infrastructure, resulting in harm to individuals and disruption to economic and social development.

How are Explosive Hazards dealt with in military operations?

In military operations, specialized teams are trained in detecting, accessing, identifying, rendering safe, and disposing of EHs. These are often referred to as Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) teams.

What precautions are taken to prevent Explosive Hazards?

The armed forces take many precautions to prevent Explosive Hazards. This can include careful planning and execution of military operations to minimize the use and abandonment of unexploded ordnance, as well as thorough training to ensure personnel know how to correctly handle and dispose of EHs.

What is the process if an Explosive Hazard is discovered?

If an Explosive Hazard is discovered, it is critical that the area be secured and the hazard not be touched or disturbed in any way. The exact location should be reported to the appropriate authorities so specialized EOD teams can safely dispose of the hazard.

Related Military Operation Terms

  • Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) Vehicle
  • Improvised Explosive Device (IED)
  • Blast Injury
  • Unexploded Ordnance (UXO)
  • Demining Operations

Sources for More Information

  • GlobalSecurity.org: A leading source of military, geopolitical, and security-related information.
  • U.S. Army: The official website of the United States Army has in-depth information on military operations and related terms.
  • U.S. Department of Defense (DoD): The DoD’s official website provides comprehensive information about military operations and terminology.
  • The Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS): As the principal military advisory body to the President and Secretary of Defense, JCS offers a wealth of information on military operations and terms.

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