SAQA All qualifications and part qualifications registered on the National Qualifications Framework are public property. Thus the only payment that can be made for them is for service and reproduction. It is illegal to sell this material for profit. If the material is reproduced or quoted, the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) should be acknowledged as the source.
SOUTH AFRICAN QUALIFICATIONS AUTHORITY 
REGISTERED UNIT STANDARD: 

Demonstrate an understanding of various slope failure modes 
SAQA US ID UNIT STANDARD TITLE
256865  Demonstrate an understanding of various slope failure modes 
ORIGINATOR
SGB Mining and Minerals 
PRIMARY OR DELEGATED QUALITY ASSURANCE FUNCTIONARY
-  
FIELD SUBFIELD
Field 06 - Manufacturing, Engineering and Technology Fabrication and Extraction 
ABET BAND UNIT STANDARD TYPE PRE-2009 NQF LEVEL NQF LEVEL CREDITS
Undefined  Regular  Level 4  NQF Level 04 
REGISTRATION STATUS REGISTRATION START DATE REGISTRATION END DATE SAQA DECISION NUMBER
Reregistered  2018-07-01  2023-06-30  SAQA 06120/18 
LAST DATE FOR ENROLMENT LAST DATE FOR ACHIEVEMENT
2024-06-30   2027-06-30  

In all of the tables in this document, both the pre-2009 NQF Level and the NQF Level is shown. In the text (purpose statements, qualification rules, etc), any references to NQF Levels are to the pre-2009 levels unless specifically stated otherwise.  

This unit standard does not replace any other unit standard and is not replaced by any other unit standard. 

PURPOSE OF THE UNIT STANDARD 
This unit standard will be useful for people who are pursuing a career in Rock Engineering.

This unit standard is intended to promote general skills and understanding of various slope failure modes in the mining and minerals sector in order to ensure knowledgeable and informed workers.

People credited with this unit standard are able to:
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the factors that influence the stability of rock slopes.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the typical types of slope failures.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the concept of factor of safety as applied to slope failure.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the techniques used to assess slope stability. 

  • LEARNING ASSUMED TO BE IN PLACE AND RECOGNITION OF PRIOR LEARNING 
    It is assumed that learners are already competent in:
  • Communication and Mathematical literacy at NQF Level 3. 

  • UNIT STANDARD RANGE 
    N/A 

    Specific Outcomes and Assessment Criteria: 

    SPECIFIC OUTCOME 1 
    Demonstrate an understanding of the factors that influence the stability of rock slopes. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERIA
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 1 
    Basic descriptions of the components of rock slopes are provided using neat, well annotated sketches. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Must include:
  • Bench.
  • Berm.
  • Batter.
  • Overall slope angle.
  • Bench angle.
  • Haul road.
  • Upper surface and footprint of slope.
  • Crest of slope.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 2 
    The role of the constituent rock and mineralogical properties of the slope is explained in terms of the potential effect on the stability of the slope. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Must include:
  • Stratigraphic thickness of weathered horizon.
  • Variations in rock and soil types.
  • Engineering properties of the rock and soil.
  • Mineralogical composition of the rock and soil.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 3 
    The role of discontinuities is explained in terms of the potential effect on the stability of the slope. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Must include:
  • Frequency and orientation.
  • Intersection of multiple discontinuities.
  • Roughness, infilling, wall strength, persistence.
  • Cohesion and friction angle.
  • Permeability.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 4 
    The effects of loading direction and magnitude are explained in terms of the stability of rock slopes. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 5 
    The influences of pore water pressure are explained in terms of the stability of rock slopes. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 6 
    The effects of blasting practice are explained in terms of potential changes in rock slope stability. 

    SPECIFIC OUTCOME 2 
    Demonstrate an understanding of the typical types of slope failures. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERIA
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 1 
    The common failure modes for rock slopes are described using diagrammatic representations. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Must include:
  • Plane failure.
  • Toppling failure.
  • Wedge failure.
  • Circular failure.
  • Ravelling.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 2 
    The prerequisites for plane failure are provided with respect to the nature and orientation of discontinuities. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Must include:
  • Potential for discontinuity undercutting the slope face.
  • Properties of the discontinuity related to loading regime.
  • Slope face angle relative to orientation of discontinuity.
  • Existence or absence of tension cracks.
  • Infiltration of water.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 3 
    The prerequisites for toppling failure are provided with respect to the nature and orientation of discontinuities. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Must include:
  • Orientation relative to the face.
  • Blasting practice.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 4 
    The prerequisites for wedge failure are provided with respect to the nature and orientation of discontinuities. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Must include:
  • Minimum of two intersecting discontinuities.
  • Direction of line of intersection.
  • Direction of sliding relative to the slope face.
  • Properties of the discontinuity related to loading regime.
  • Infiltration of water.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 5 
    The prerequisites for circular failure are provided with respect to the nature of the rock mass. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Must include:
  • Potential sliding plane/surface.
  • Weak material.
  • Heavily jointed rock mass.
  • Broken rock mass (storage or waste dumps).
     

  • SPECIFIC OUTCOME 3 
    Demonstrate an understanding of the concept of factor of safety as applied to slope failure. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERIA
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 1 
    The two primary variables that constitute the safety factor are described using a simple block diagram. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Must include:
  • Strength of sliding surface.
  • Stress along the sliding plane (shear).
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 2 
    The methods used to calculate the gravitational loading of a slope are provided in the context of mining operations. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Must include:
  • Analytical.
  • Numerical.
  • Instrumentation and monitoring.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 3 
    The importance of accounting for pore water pressure when calculating the load on the slope is explained in terms of its effect on normal stress. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 4 
    The methods used to estimate the properties of rocks and discontinuities are provided and related to slope stability in the context of mining operations. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Must include:
  • Laboratory testing.
  • In situ testing.
  • Rock mass ratings.
  • ISRM indices for properties.
  • Hoek and Brown simulations.
     

  • SPECIFIC OUTCOME 4 
    Demonstrate an understanding of the techniques used to assess slope stability. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERIA
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 1 
    The use of graphical methods to capture, display and analyse discontinuity data for input into slope stability assessment techniques is explained in the context of mining operations. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Consequences must include:
  • Lower hemispherical equal area/angle stereonet.
  • Polar stereonet.
  • Rose diagrams.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 2 
    The influence of improper depiction of the geometry of the slope to be assessed is explained and related to the calculation of the applied load. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 3 
    Examples of numerical modelling codes available for the analyses of slope stability are listed in the context of mining operations. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Consequences must include:
  • UDEC.
  • 3DEC.
  • FLAC.
  • PHASE2.
  • SLIDE.
  • UNWEDGE.
  • SWEDGE.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 4 
    The importance of a planned programme of instrumentation and monitoring is provided in terms of its impact on assessing slope stability. 


    UNIT STANDARD ACCREDITATION AND MODERATION OPTIONS 
  • Anyone assessing a learner or moderating the assessment of a learner against this unit standard must be registered as an assessor with the relevant Education, Training, Quality, Assurance (ETQA) Body, or with an ETQA that has a Memorandum of Understanding with the relevant ETQA.
  • Any institution offering learning that will enable the achievement of this unit standard must be accredited as a provider with the relevant Education, Training, Quality, Assurance (ETQA) Body, or with an ETQA that has a Memorandum of Understanding with the relevant ETQA.
  • Assessment and moderation of assessment will be overseen by the relevant Education, Training, Quality, Assurance (ETQA) Body, or with an ETQA that has a Memorandum of Understanding with the relevant ETQA, according to the ETQA's policies and guidelines for assessment and moderation.
  • Moderation must include both internal and external moderation of assessments, unless ETQA policies specify otherwise.
  • Anyone wishing to be assessed against this unit standard may apply to be assessed by any assessment agency, assessor or provider institution that is accredited by the relevant ETQA. 

  • UNIT STANDARD ESSENTIAL EMBEDDED KNOWLEDGE 
    The following essential embedded knowledge is addressed in an integrated way in the unit standard:

    Knowledge and understanding that the assessor will evaluate:
  • The factors that influence the stability of rock slopes.
  • The typical types of slope failures.
  • The concept of factor of safety as applied to slope failure.
  • The techniques used to assess slope stability.

    Causes and effects (Occupational Health and Safety):
  • Use of equipment.
  • Use of personal protective equipment.
  • Adherence to occupational health and safety requirements.
  • Work related hazards and associated risks.

    Regulations, legislation, agreements, policies and standards:
  • Occupational health, safety and environmental legislation and regulations.
  • Quality policies, standards and agreements. 

  • UNIT STANDARD DEVELOPMENTAL OUTCOME 
    N/A 

    UNIT STANDARD LINKAGES 
    N/A 


    Critical Cross-field Outcomes (CCFO): 

    UNIT STANDARD CCFO IDENTIFYING 
    Identify and solve problems and make decisions using critical and creative thinking.
  • Note: The use of knowledge and understanding of the prerequisites for the various modes of failure to establish the type of failure. 

  • UNIT STANDARD CCFO WORKING 
    Work effectively with others as members of a team, group, organisation or community.
  • Note: Not applicable to this unit standard. 

  • UNIT STANDARD CCFO ORGANISING 
    Organise and manage themselves and their activities responsibly and effectively.
  • Note: The learner's ability to systematically assess the possibility of encountering each of the failure modes when assessing slope stability. 

  • UNIT STANDARD CCFO COLLECTING 
    Collect, analyse, organise and critically evaluate information.
  • Note: The ability of the learner to assess information and investigate possible failure modes. 

  • UNIT STANDARD CCFO COMMUNICATING 
    Communicate effectively, using visual, mathematical and/or language skills in the modes of oral and/or written presentations.
  • Note: The use of neat annotated sketches and simple data capture sheets. 

  • UNIT STANDARD CCFO SCIENCE 
    Use science and technology effectively and critically showing responsibility towards the environment and health of others.
  • Note: The understanding that computational techniques can greatly enhance understanding of complex slope failure modes. 

  • UNIT STANDARD CCFO DEMONSTRATING 
    Demonstrate an understanding of the world as a set of related systems by recognising that problem-solving contexts do not exist in isolation.
  • Note: The ability to relate slope failure to the stability of not only isolated benches but an entire surface mine. 

  • UNIT STANDARD ASSESSOR CRITERIA 
    N/A 

    REREGISTRATION HISTORY 
    As per the SAQA Board decision/s at that time, this unit standard was Reregistered in 2012; 2015. 

    UNIT STANDARD NOTES 
    Terminology:

    Specified Requirements:

    Specified requirements include legal and site-specific requirements and are contained in one or more of the following documents:

    Legal:
  • Relevant Acts: e.g. Mine Health & Safety Act and Regulations, 1996 (Act 29/1996), and Minerals Act and Regulations, 1991 (Act 50/1991).
  • Mandatory Codes of Practice.
  • SANS and other relevant Standards.
  • Chief Inspector of Mines' Directives/Instructions.
  • Guidelines issued by the Chief Inspector of Mines.

    Site-Specific:
  • Hazard Identification and Risk Assessments (HIRA).
  • Occupational Health and Safety Risk Management Programme.
  • Managerial Instructions.
  • Mine Standard Procedures.
  • List of Recorded OH&S Risks.
  • Working Guides.
  • Equipment and Materials Specifications. 

  • QUALIFICATIONS UTILISING THIS UNIT STANDARD: 
      ID QUALIFICATION TITLE PRE-2009 NQF LEVEL NQF LEVEL STATUS END DATE PRIMARY OR DELEGATED QA FUNCTIONARY
    Elective  62796   Further Education and Training Certificate: Strata Control Operations  Level 4  NQF Level 04  Reregistered  2023-06-30  MQA 


    PROVIDERS CURRENTLY ACCREDITED TO OFFER THIS UNIT STANDARD: 
    This information shows the current accreditations (i.e. those not past their accreditation end dates), and is the most complete record available to SAQA as of today. Some Primary or Delegated Quality Assurance Functionaries have a lag in their recording systems for provider accreditation, in turn leading to a lag in notifying SAQA of all the providers that they have accredited to offer qualifications and unit standards, as well as any extensions to accreditation end dates. The relevant Primary or Delegated Quality Assurance Functionary should be notified if a record appears to be missing from here.
     
    NONE 



    All qualifications and part qualifications registered on the National Qualifications Framework are public property. Thus the only payment that can be made for them is for service and reproduction. It is illegal to sell this material for profit. If the material is reproduced or quoted, the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) should be acknowledged as the source.