Rotational slope failure is a major risk at many worksites, and it's important to take the necessary steps to prevent this type of failure. But what is it, and how can you mitigate the risk of this potentially dangerous situation?
What is Rotational Slope Failure?
Rotational slope failure occurs when soil slips along a curved surface, resulting in a landslide or debris flow. This type of failure happens when the underlying material is weak and is unable to withstand the forces of gravity and water pressure. It could be caused by a base failure, face failure, or toe failure, with the latter being the most common. When rotational slope failure occurs, it can push outward and down to cause significant damage to property and infrastructure. In the worst case, it could cause injury or death if people are nearby.
Fortunately, there are several ways you can take preventive measures against rotational slope failures at your worksite. Here are some tips for minimising risks associated with rotational slope failures:
- Ensure that your soils are stable by conducting regular assessments. You should also consider engaging in regular maintenance activities such as vegetation management and drainage systems to reduce the chances of soil slippage.
- Create an emergency plan that outlines steps for evacuation if a rotational slope failure does occur. The plan should include contact information for local emergency services and an evacuation route for personnel in case of an incident.
- Conduct regular inspections of slopes on your worksite to identify any potential problems before they become serious issues. Make sure all employees are aware of any identified hazards so they can take appropriate action if necessary.
- Implement adequate drainage systems on your work site so water doesn't build up behind slopes and cause them to fail due to increased pressure from the water build-up. Additionally, you should make sure all areas on your site are free from debris that could clog up drains or otherwise impede proper drainage.
- If necessary, create reinforced retaining walls around areas prone to rotational slope failures to help stabilise the soil and provide additional support during heavy rains or other weather events that may increase the risk of a landslide occurring.
What to Remember
By taking the necessary precautions, you can minimise your chances of experiencing rotational slope failure at your worksite – protecting personnel and property from harm. Although preventive measures require time and effort upfront, they will be well worth it in terms of providing peace of mind knowing that you have taken all possible precautions in order to protect against this type of catastrophic event at your site,
For further advice and to assess the risks at your worksite, contact a local structural engineer.