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Tips for Using Trench Boxes Safely Trenches are quite common in many engineering and construction sites. They are meant for laying pipes, phone lines as well as lots of other constructions. While some are deep, others can be very shallow. Based on the soil’s quality, trench walls support themselves for a short time. 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 known as trench shields, manhole boxes, tap boxes, or sewer boxes. Pre-installation Before excavation starts, the location must go through a comprehensive risk assessment to identify any potential risks, the equipment needed as well as the employees needed. The need for additional access is also looked at.
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Then the trench will have to be looked at. How deep does it need to be? How large does it need to be? Trenches of more than 5 feet require support either from shoring, sloping, or trench box. If the trench is beyond 20 ft deep, its support needs to be done by a registered engineer. How is the trench going to be accessed? Is it through a ramp, steps or ladders? The trench needs to always be safe for access by workers within 25 feet, in emergency cases. The atmosphere within the trench might also require testing for poisonous gases or low levels of oxygen. Trench boxes are designed to allow for simple installation but it’s not safe to stack these 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 all heavy tools as well as equipment are kept far from the trench’s edge. Excavation It’s probably harder to extract a manhole box than install it due to 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–a sling is just attached to the two lifting or extraction points and lifted 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–this involves attaching a single chain sling leg to an extraction/lifting point and raising the panel corners in turns; once the manhole box moves easily, it’s taken out with the straight pull. To sum up, trenches do save lives. It’s legally required that they be used and they have to be planned for. Provided they’re well maintained and used, they do make work so much safer and easier.