Short Course on Trenching – What You Should Know

Tips for Using Trench Boxes Safely Trenches are quite common in many engineering and construction sites. They’re used for laying telephone lines, pipes as well as many other constructions. While some are extremely shallow, others can be quite deep. Based on the soil’s quality, trench walls will not support themselves for long. Steel or aluminum trench boxes support trench walls to make sure it’s safe for work to be done without walls falling on equipment or people. Trench boxes are also called manhole boxes, tap boxes, sewer boxes, or trench shields. Pre-installation Before excavation starts, the site must undergo a thorough risk assessment to highlight any possible risks, the staffing required and the equipment required. The need for extra access is also evaluated.
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Then the trench needs to be looked at. How deep should it be? How large should it be? Trenches that over 5 ft need support from one of these: trench box, sloping, or shopping. But if the trench is over 20 ft deep, its support must be designed by a registered engineer. How will people enter the trench? Is it through a ramp, steps or ladders? The trench should always have safe access for workers within 25 feet , in case of emergency. The atmosphere inside the trench may also need to be tested for toxic gases or low oxygen levels. Trench boxes are made to be simple to install but it’s unsafe to stack boxes over each other.
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Tending to the trench Check for any signs of movement or damage by inspecting the trench box/trench support daily. All workers on the site need to wear their own protective gear, hard hat, steel-toed boots, high visibility clothing and so on. Ensure that heavy tools and equipment is kept far away from the trench’s edge. Excavation It is probably more difficult to extract a trench box than install it because of the earth’s movement around the trench. It’s recommended that a chain sling be used for extraction, using any of these 3 methods. Straight pull–this involves simply attaching a sling to two extraction/lifting points and lifting it out. Half pull–this is simply attaching a sling to one side of a manhole box, lifting it as much as possible, then switching the sling to the opposite side and repeating the action till the sewer box is removed. Single pull–a single chain sling leg is connected to a point of extraction or lifting and the panel corners are lifted in turns; when the manhole box moves freely, it’s removed with the straight pull. In summary, trenches help save lives. They must be planned for and it’s a legal requirement to make use of them. So long as they’re used and maintained properly, they make work so much easier and safer.

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