What is Scaling


When scaling, the old saying was always ‘look up and live’. This is the best advice to give professionals before they start scaling.

Look up and live

Yes, you should have a go at a rock that could come down but please always look up before you start and see what else could come down.

Scaling is the act of knocking loose rock off the walls and backs (the roof of an underground mine is known as the backs). Using a scaling bar, you put the tip of the bar behind the rock and lever it off, thus taking away the risk of that rock falling by itself onto someone or something. This is a vital job in maintaining the mine and all mines should have a scaling program.

This program allows for one section of the mine at a time to be scaled until the whole mine has been scaled. This is usually done over a 6 month period, and then repeated. We always tell the class to think of what happens with the painting of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. As soon as they finish at one end they start painting at the other the very next day. It is the same with a scaling program it must be restarted straight away.

Scaling is about managing the ground around the mine, making your workplace safe. As we advance the mine with more blasting and as time goes by the joints between the rock can fail. This can cause areas of rock from the backs, to the walls to start to peel away creating a dangerous situation around the mine for employees and equipment. So why do we scale?