The Automation of the ‘Making Safe’ Process in South African Hard-Rock Underground Mines
S. R. Teleka1, J. J. Green2, S. Brink3, J. Sheer4, K. Hlophe5
1S. R. Teleka, CSIR, Centre for Mining Innovation, Auckland Park, Johannesburg, South Africa.
2J. J. Green, CSIR, Centre for Mining Innovation, Auckland Park, Johannesburg, South Africa.
3S. Brink, CSIR, Centre for Mining Innovation, Auckland Park, Johannesburg, South Africa.
4J. Sheer, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa.
5K. Hlophe, CSIR, Centre for Mining Innovation, Auckland Park, Johannesburg, South Africa.
Manuscript received on March 02, 2012. | Revised Manuscript received on March 31, 2012. | Manuscript published on April 30, 2012. | PP: 1-7 | Volume-1 Issue-4, April 2012 | Retrieval Number: D0230031412/2012©BEIESP
Open Access | Ethics and Policies | Cite
© The Authors. Blue Eyes Intelligence Engineering and Sciences Publication (BEIESP). This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/)
Abstract: In South African hard-rock mines, best practice dictates that the hanging walls be inspected after blasting. This process is known as ‘making safe’ and, although intended to save lives, it is both laborious and subjective. Pressure is placed on the barrer (inspector) to conduct the test quickly and efficiently, as daily operations can only continue after the area has been declared safe. The process involves the barrer tapping the potentially loose rock mass with a sounding bar, listening to and assessing the generated acoustics, and deciding whether it is intact or loose. For a loose rock mass, the barrer would either bar it down or support it. For the purposes of this report, only the inspection task of the ‘making safe’ process is considered. It is highly dangerous and limits the critical decision making to the experienced barrer. Fatality rates due to falls of ground (FOG) can be reduced by using a simple tool that will produce consistent results in the ‘making safe’ exercise.
Keywords: Fall of ground (FOG), Hard-rock, Pre-entry examination, Sounding.