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Assessing And Monitoring Open Pit Mine Highwalls
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    INTRODUCTION Slope stability accidents are one of the leading causes of fatalities at U.S. surface mining operations. The Spokane Research Laboratory of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is currently conducting research to reduce the fatalities associated with slope failures and other unexpected failures of ground. The purpose of this paper is to introduce various warning signs of slope instability so operators are better able to recognize hazards. The most common slope monitoring equipment and practical methods of installation are discussed as well as the limitations of these systems. CONSEQUENCES OF SLOPE FAILURES Unexpected movement of ground causes the potential to endanger lives, demolish equipment, or destroy property. Between 1995 and 2001 (2nd quarter), 34 fatalities were caused by ground instability. This accounts for approximately 15% of all surface mine fatalities (Figure 1). These figures include fatalities classified by the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) as fall of face or highwall, powered haulage, equipment, and other MSHA accident categories, where the primary cause of the accident was unanticipated movement of the ground. This includes fatalities resulting from bench and highwall failures, rock falls, waste dump and stockpile failures, and the collapse of unknown underground workings. [ ]

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