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How to Install a Trench Box

Employee safety is critical on a job site, especially those involving excavation. Installing trench boxes helps to prevent cave-ins, securing walls against collapse and protecting people and property. In order to ensure the trench box functions properly, it is essential that the equipment is installed properly and used under the right conditions.

Sage Rental Services has trench safety equipment available to keep your team safe. Learn more about how to choose and install a trench box.

What Is a Trench Box?

Trench boxes are metal structures that rest inside excavated areas, where they serve two purposes — providing workers with a way to enter and exit the excavation and promoting worker safety by minimizing the risk of cave-ins

The fixtures are made from steel or aluminum and consist of a barrier that rests against the trench or ditch wall. Spreaders support the barrier by stretching across the ditch’s width. You can adjust the width of the spreaders based on the size of the trench. 

Steel trench boxes are generally ideal for larger projects or in areas with rough terrain. Aluminum trench boxes weigh less than the steel variety and are typically appropriate for smaller projects or shallow trenches. Both types are designed to be weather-resistant and won’t bend or warp.

Trench Box Installation

Proper installation is crucial for the trench box to work effectively. 

  1. You’ll need heavy machinery, notably an excavator, to install the box correctly. 
  2. Once you have positioned a trench shield against the wall, it’s important to backfill the gap between the shield and the wall to ensure the space is as small as possible. 
  3. As digging continues, you may need to adjust the installation to ensure that there is no more than two feet of space between the bottom of the trench and the bottom of the box.

Trench Box Extraction Methods

Once the project is complete, you need to remove the trench box. Backfilling is part of this process. Don’t remove the trench box without adding and compacting the soil as noted in the trench box’s specifications. 

How to Prevent Trench Cave-Ins

Installing the trench box correctly reduces the likelihood of cave-ins. Along with ensuring that there are no more than two feet of space between the bottom of the trench box and the trench bottom, also verify that the trench box extends at least 18 inches above the soil surface. 

Your company may need to hire a registered professional engineer when installing a trench box. If the ditch is more than 20 feet deep, the trench system must be designed by a properly credentialed expert.

Rent Trench Safety Equipment From Sage Rental Services Today

Sage Rental Services is here to help you choose the right trench safety equipment for your project. We also have skilled professionals on hand to explain how to install a trench box for maximum safety and advise you on optimal trench box extraction methods.

Rent Trench Safety Equipment From Sage Rental Services Today