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How to spot sinkholes at a construction site

On Behalf of | Mar 4, 2024 | Construction Accidents

Sinkholes pose a significant risk on construction sites. These phenomena can topple structures and heavy equipment, thus endangering workers and others.

Identifying a sinkhole early can help prevent future accidents and project delays. Awareness of the signs that one is present improves the ability to catch them.

Depressions and cracks

One of the earliest indications of a potential sinkhole is the appearance of breaks and small crevices. Everyone should pay close attention to the ground around the construction site, especially where the soil seems to be settling. Fissures in the foundations of buildings, sidewalks or roads may also suggest shifting soil.

Water drainage

Sinkholes can affect how water drains on a property. If there are sudden differences, such as water pooling in new places or disappearing quickly into the turf, this could be due to a developing sinkhole. Inspect on-site ponds, lakes and other bodies of water for fluctuations.


Areas where sinkholes are forming might experience changes in vegetation. Plants may wilt or die in a specific zone due to a lack of hydration. Alternatively, lush patches of grass or plants in an otherwise dry area could indicate an underground cavity retaining moisture.


Hollow or cracking noises originating from the earth could signal the collapse of underground spaces. Observers should immediately report what they are hearing to a supervisor.

Project managers are responsible for making sure their construction sites are sinkhole-free. As soon as the hints of one develop, they are duty-bound to establish perimeters and order a geologic assessment.


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