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NIOSH Computer Programs For Bench Crest Failure Analysis In Fractured Rock - Synopsis
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  • Description:
    A package of bench design programs is being publicly released by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). These programs are designed to provide a probabilistic estimate of the likelihood that various widths of catch bench will be retained. Program modules address the mechanisms of plane, plane step path, and wedge failure. Results are drawn from statistical and geostatistical descriptions of fracture characteristics and other input parameters, and reported as the statistical chance that a given width of catch bench will survive, that is, that a catch bench will remain wide enough to catch rolling and sliding material and prevent such material from posing hazards to miners operating below. The capabilities and application of this software are demonstrated through a case example. Comparing bench width estimates obtained using geologic data with actual widths is a key step in verifying that a program is appropriate for particular site conditions and that proper statistical descriptions of fracture parameters for that site have been developed. Such verification efforts improve confidence, and hence usefulness, of this method for designing future slope benches. Development and release of these programs appears particularly timely given recent progress in photoanalysis methods, which promise to greatly reduce the cost of collecting fracture data.

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