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Safety Update: Responding to Subsidence

LEARN THESE TERMS

Subsidence: Motion of ground as it settles, moves or sinks, typically downward or laterally

Sink Hole: A sudden or gradual ground depression caused by dissolution of soil

Erosion: The dissolution of rock or earth by wind, water, or earth movement

REMEMBER

  • Subsidence can be caused by ground movement, hot or cold weather, water erosion, tree roots, or seismic activity
  • Seeing cracks in your walls or pavement does not necessarily indicate subsidence
  • Cracks that appear, worsen or spread suddenly could be cause for concern
  • Doors and windows that suddenly “stick” when attempting to open or close them are another cause for concern
  • Maintaining trees and shrubs is a good way to avoid water erosion, consult a surveyor about proper selection and placement of trees

IF YOUR FACILITY HAS SUDDEN WORSENING CRACKS IN GROUND OR WALLS

  • Contact a surveyor, geologist, engineer to assess the possibility of serious subsidence
  • Work with those professionals to shore up ground stability
  • Notify your insurance company, bearing in mind most policies exclude this type of incident under normal circumstances

IF YOUR FACILITY SUFFERS SUDDEN SEVERE SUBSIDENCE OR SINK HOLES

  • Evacuate the facility and get to ground that appears to be free of cracks or movement
  • Do not return until your facility is deemed to be safe by a surveyor, geologist, or emergency services personnel
  • Follow the advice of contractors, surveyors and engineers to assess the best options for your facility
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