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How do sinkholes on construction sites lead to work injuries?

On Behalf of | May 27, 2024 | Workers' Compensation |

Sinkholes are a problem construction workers may not think about much. However, when these holes appear on construction sites, they could lead to severe work injuries.

Understanding how sinkholes form and the risks they pose can help keep workers safe.

Discovering sinkholes

Sinkholes form when the ground beneath the surface dissolves due to water erosion. This process often happens in areas with limestone or other types of rock. When water flows through these rocks, it gradually erodes them and makes empty spaces.

Over time, the ground above these spaces can collapse, forming a sinkhole. Heavy rainfall, construction activities and broken underground pipes can trigger sinkholes.

Learning about hazards

Sinkholes present several hazards on construction sites. One major risk is that they can appear without warning. Workers may not notice any signs before the ground gives way, leading to sudden falls. Sinkholes also typically destabilize the surrounding ground, making it unsafe for anyone near a certain area.

Understanding common sinkhole injuries

Injuries from sinkholes can be severe. Workers may suffer broken bones and fractures from falls. If machinery falls into a sinkhole, it could crush or trap operators, leading to life-threatening injuries.

Workers trapped in sinkholes might also experience dehydration, hypothermia or suffocation. This all depends on the sinkhole’s depth and the time it takes for rescue.

Preventing injuries

Preventing injuries from sinkholes requires careful monitoring. Construction site managers should conduct thorough geological surveys before starting any project. These surveys can find areas at risk for sinkholes. Workers should also receive training on recognizing signs of an underground problem.

By taking preventive measures, employers can minimize issues and ensure a safer working environment. Contact your Workers’ Compensation Specialist for a free, no obligation consultation to learn how we can help you. Call 610-892-9300 or reach us online.