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Soil Erosion: What is it and What are its Causes?

Soil erosion is a serious environmental issue that can have devastating effects on our ecosystems. It is the process in which soil is removed from one area and moved to another. So, what is soil erosion and what are the causes of it? In this blog post, we’ll dive into the answer to these questions and explore the impacts soil erosion can have on our environment.

Soil Erosion Definition

Soil erosion is the process of the topsoil layer being displaced and moved away from its original location by wind, water, or other environmental factors. Soil erosion can be caused by a variety of different factors such as overgrazing, deforestation, and plowing. It can also occur naturally due to climate changes, floods, and droughts. Soil erosion can lead to serious environmental issues such as land degradation, decreased crop yields, and increased sediment in waterways. 

Soil erosion has been a problem for many years and has become more pronounced in recent decades due to a number of factors, including human activity and changes in the climate. To prevent soil erosion, there are various methods that can be employed, including land management practices such as crop rotation, terracing, and contour plowing. These techniques help to reduce the amount of soil that is lost to wind and water erosion. Additionally, planting vegetation, such as trees and shrubs, can act as barriers and help hold the soil in place. Finally, minimizing the use of heavy machinery on sloped areas can help prevent soil loss.

The Effects of Soil Erosion

Soil erosion can have devastating effects on the environment, leading to drastic consequences that can be felt both short-term and long-term. In addition to affecting land fertility and reducing agricultural productivity, soil erosion can also contribute to water pollution. When soil erodes, the particles are carried away by wind or water and eventually end up in streams, rivers, or oceans. These particles contain nutrients and pollutants, which can disrupt natural water systems and lead to the contamination of water sources.

Erosion can also contribute to landslides and mudslides, which can threaten people’s safety and cause costly damage. As soil erodes away, the land may become less stable, making it more susceptible to these disasters. Soil erosion can also lead to greater flooding due to the lack of vegetation or soil structure that would typically absorb large amounts of water.

In order to prevent soil erosion and its associated risks, there are a few steps that can be taken. These include: planting vegetation to anchor the soil, creating buffers such as terraces and cover crops, and implementing conservation practices like contour farming and crop rotation. Additionally, avoiding construction on steep slopes and keeping construction sites clear of debris can also help protect against soil erosion.

The Causes of Soil Erosion

Soil erosion is a naturally occurring process caused by the forces of wind, water, and climate. When soil erodes, valuable topsoil is removed from an area, leading to land degradation and decreased crop yields. There are several factors that can contribute to erosion, such as poor agricultural practices, deforestation, overgrazing, and inadequate drainage systems.

Poor agricultural practices such as tillage and plowing can cause soil erosion. Tillage disturbs the natural layering of the soil and exposes the upper layer of topsoil to wind and rain erosion. Plowing can also lead to soil compaction, which prevents water from soaking into the ground and increases runoff.

Deforestation is another major contributor to soil erosion. When trees are removed from an area, the roots that once held the soil in place are no longer present. Without these roots, the soil is more easily carried away by wind and water.

Overgrazing is a common cause of soil erosion, particularly on slopes. Livestock tend to graze on vegetation down to its roots, leaving the soil unprotected and vulnerable to erosion.

Inadequate drainage systems can also lead to soil erosion. Poorly designed or unmaintained drainage systems can cause water to flow in a concentrated pattern over a single area for extended periods of time, leading to soil erosion in that area.

How to Prevent Soil Erosion

Soil erosion can be a serious problem if not addressed quickly and correctly. Thankfully, there are many different ways to prevent soil erosion and help keep our environment healthy and safe.

The first step in preventing soil erosion is to reduce activities that can contribute to it. This includes things like deforestation, overgrazing, tilling, and construction activities that disturb the natural ground cover. Planting vegetation, such as grasses and trees, helps to hold the soil in place. It is also important to keep soil covered by plants or mulch to minimize exposure to wind and rain.

Another way to prevent soil erosion is to improve drainage systems. Poor drainage often leads to water pooling and eroding away at the soil. Installing terraces, swales, diversion ditches, and other erosion control measures can help to divert excess water away from the land.

Finally, soil erosion can be prevented by using conservation tillage techniques. This involves leaving crop residue on the surface of the soil instead of tilling it back into the ground. This helps to slow down the rate of runoff and reduces the amount of sediment that is carried away.

In conclusion, there are many ways to prevent soil erosion and protect our environment. By reducing activities that can contribute to erosion, improving drainage systems, and using conservation tillage techniques, we can help to ensure that our land remains healthy and strong for years to come.

If you are looking for a company in Charleston for erosion control, contact us.


The Importance of Workplace Safety

Many safety risks haunt groundwork projects, earthwork activities, and the entire construction industry. The good news is that you can keep them at bay if you have a robust safety culture.

Dedicated safety planning saves you and your employees from multiple hazards. On top of that, safety lowers your expenses, cements your reputation, helps attract more skilled workers, and more.

What are The Most Common Construction Safety Risks?

Whether you’re dealing with earthwork, road construction, or any other type of construction, you need to keep an eye on these risks:

  • Working in elevated locations: Falling off high positions, ladders, ledges, aerial equipment, or scaffolding can be catastrophic.
  • Prolonged vibrations: Vibrating machinery can affect your employee’s joints, blood vessels, and nerves.
  • Moving machinery: Heavy-duty behemoths are parts of the construction sites. Any mishap when using them can be life-threatening.
  • Prolonged Noise: Excessive noise from large machinery and loud activities often causes hearing loss.
  • Trip and slip hazards: These risks often happen on uneven, wet, and disorganized surfaces.
  • Falling debris or objects: People caught under collapsing objects can sustain severe injuries and fatalities.
  • Electrical shock: Exposure to electricity risk comes from faulty insulation, connections, or tools.
  • Breathing risks: Dust and chemical fumes are airborne hazards that pose health issues.
  • Material handling: Moving heavy material and equipment requires proper handling to prevent joint and muscle injuries.

So What Are The Benefits Of Safety Measures In Construction Sites?

Safety comes with a perk of benefits. Let’s dive deeper into some of them:

  • Slashes The Frequency Of Work-Related Accidents

According to the ILO, construction sites worldwide witness at least 60,000 fatal accidents yearly. And OSHA says the construction industry is responsible for almost 25% of work-related fatalities and injuries.

The most common causes of accidents include getting struck, electrocution, getting trapped between objects, and falls—such depressing facts. But with robust safety policies, you can keep accidents and injuries at bay.

  • Saves Money and Profits

In 2020, the total costs of work-related accidents hit the $163.9 billion mark. A work injury or fatality skyrockets your insurance premiums.

Also, injured workers cannot perform at their best, losing valuable time. You may need to hire a replacement or postpone the project until the worker returns.

A safety culture promotes employees’ confidence to perform without fearing the worst. You can bid farewell to ballooning absenteeism or insurance costs.

  • Boosts Productivity

When a skilled worker is absent due to an injury, the remaining ones are left with more challenging work. And it takes time for replacements to fill the gap.

A worker’s injury can also spark stress, distrust, and lower morale across the entire organization. The result is reduced productivity.

  • Reduces Costs In Wages and Delays

Often, you must pay the injured worker’s wages while they recuperate at home or in the hospital. The accident can also lead to delays due to damaged resources, equipment, tools, or completed work.

You have to spend money replacing damaged equipment and re-do the work. Delays can also portray a negative brand image, leading to a loss of business opportunities.

  • Reduces Costly Investigations

According to OSHA, the company should investigate all close calls, illnesses, injuries, and fatalities. Is the incident catastrophic or severe? The workplace may have to close down for thorough investigation and corrective measures.

Closure of a worksite means delayed revenue generation. And the site work contractors or other construction authorities might face possible imprisonment or hefty fines if found negligent.

  • Cements a Positive Reputation

The labor market is increasingly tightening. And the issue was there even before COVID hit the scene. According to Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), 80% of construction firms struggle to get skilled employees. Candidates are increasingly enjoying an upper hand when it comes to bargaining. So, how can you outcompete your rivals and attract top-in-class talents?

The trick is to offer a safe and inclusive working environment.

Workplace incidents are the leading stressors for job hunters and people in general. And the pandemic proved that workers are humans with needs- not just a bundle of skills.

That means a record of work-related accidents in your company can spread like wildfire. After all, potential employees research a company before applying for a job with it.

This can hurt your chances of creating a powerful team and firm.

  • Safeguards Your Health and Insanity Too!

As you protect your workforce and company, you’re protecting yourself too. Establishing proper safety measures ensures you don’t get hurt when inspecting job sites, managing employees, or performing other daily duties.

You can also bid farewell to the mental stress and sleepless nights of handling multiple injury and fatality cases. Who wants to deal with daily legal fights and compensations instead of making more profits?

Get a Construction Company That Puts Your Safety First

When hunting for a groundwork construction company, be sure it prioritizes safety above its own profits. A professional company works with you to assess risks. It has a dedicated safety crew or a person responsible for pinpointing risks. Plus, its management can advise on eliminating or working around hazardous situations.

The company also understands that the right equipment is crucial in getting the job done and dusted safely. It comes fully equipped with appropriate ladders, aerial lifts, scaffolding, and heavy equipment.

Continuous safety training is part of a professional firm’s culture. That way, every employee can immediately identify potential risks and rush to prevent a fatality.

And that company is O.L. Thompson.

O.L Thompson is a 100+-year-old company. Our roots are deep within the Charleston, SC market. Our sitework and concrete contractors have been part of large-scale projects and developments in the Charleston, SC, area. And our safety record is fantastic- we know the importance of safety for our clients and employees.

Are you looking for a company to handle your groundwork and earthwork projects? O.L. Thompson is the company to call for a safe and professional working relationship.



Why You Should Choose O.L. Thompson As A Site Work Contractor

Chances are that you are likely in the market for a firm that could take on grading, demolition, clearing, erosion control, stone base, or asphalt paving in the tri-county area. In that case, you are in luck because OL Thompson has established itself as a premier site work construction firm in the Lowcountry. We delve into OL Thompson’s company profile to inform your decision to choose the firm as your site work contractor.

History of OL Thompson

OL Thompson was founded in 1948 by O.L Thompson Jr. in Hanahan, South Carolina. Initially, the company was a small grading and hauling company that took on smaller site contracts. Steadily, the company has grown to take on more significant projects cementing it as one of the largest and most sought-after contracting firms in South Carolina. The core business model and support base have equally evolved to include Thompson Trucking Co., Inc. and various development, material, and management facets.

Notably, while the company has a long tradition of maintaining long-term employees, it is equally committed to bringing in new talent. As part of the continuity plan, management works towards bringing in a steady influx of talent.

As a prospective client, the management in place and the continuity plan presented by the company means that you are assured that no internal turbulence will halt or bring perturbation to your project. Regardless of any changes, you are sure that the project or contract in place stays on course.

In hindsight, the long history translates to a wealth of experience, which you would then be leveraging if you went with OL Thompson as your site work contractor. You are assured that your project will be completed safely and within the agreed-upon time and budget.

Scope of Work

As it pertains to the scope of work, OL Thompson takes contracts on commercial, government, industrial, and residential projects. Seeing as most sites will have to deal with the transport of bulk materials, OL Thompson has within its portfolio up to 100 haulers per day. This means that the company is capable of hauling as much material as you need safely and efficiently. Other than being able to haul large amounts of dirt and debris, the company is well versed in clearing, grubbing, excavation, storm drainage, sanitary sewers, curbing, asphalt paving, and material recycling.

As it pertains to licensing, the company has all the proper paperwork. For starters, the firm has the South Carolina Unlimited Contractor license, which is proof of the company’s commitment to doing things the right way on the first try.

Recent Projects

As part of the firm’s portfolio, the firm was involved in signature projects which stand as some of the most recognizable landmarks in Lowcountry. Some of the projects include The Ravenel Bridge Project, Nucor Steel, Daniel Island Development, North Charleston Coliseum, Boeing, and the Volvo Car Tennis Stadium, among others.

This wealth of experience shows the trust the local community has in the firm. What’s more, these previous projects are evidence of expertise within residential, multifamily, commercial, and industrial projects. Note that while the firm has been involved in a host of mega projects, it still takes on seemingly smaller projects. You can trust that the amount of attention to detail you will find in the bigger projects is what will be replicated when they work with individual entities. Overall, there is evidence of commitment to quality site work regardless of the project’s scope.

Commitment to Safety

Liability is a great cause for concern for anyone considering having a third party on-site for any construction or clean-up work. It is in consideration of this that OL Thompson has safety measures in place to prevent any accidents on site. The company’s mantra is that safety doesn’t happen by accident.

To best understand the firm’s commitment to safety, it would be best first to understand the sheer magnitude of the projects they have been involved in. In total, OL Thompson employees have clocked in 700,000 hours while working with 3,000,000 cubic yards of soil, laying 270,000 tons of stone base and 50,000 tons of asphalt. Additionally, the subcontractors have worked with 90,000 tons of CTB and laid 8 miles of underground storm systems. For all these projects, there hasn’t been even a single lost time accident. When you consider the numbers and the most adverse conditions that the employees work in, this is quite impressive. As a prospective client, this should matter to you as you want a site work contractor that has a zero lost time statistic and one that creates a safe environment for everyone that works at the site. Safety is quite important, seeing as you do not want to have work potentially halted or incur the financial ramifications of having someone get hurt on site.

Concisely, as a site manager or owner, there are a couple of factors to consider when looking for a contractor. You want to find a contractor that has the proper licensing, a contractor insurance policy that covers you from the ramifications when someone gets hurt on-site, and a steady and trained pool of experts. What’s more, you want to find one with a positive reputation and an almost 100% satisfaction rate. Finally, be conscious of how the contractor performs as it pertains to the turnaround time.

It would be best if you considered choosing OL Thompson as your site work contractor in South Carolina based on the firm’s location, the accrued experience, the capabilities of the experts we have on board, and their ability to perform regardless of the scope of the project. Besides, the firm is financially stable with a bonding capability which would mean no financial constraints when working on the site. If you would like more information about the company or a pre-construction or planning budget or value engineering, be sure to contact us.

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