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Trench Box Safety Tips

Trench Box Safety Tips

Workers in the construction industry who perform digging and excavating tasks are highly familiar with trench box systems. Trench boxes — also called trench shields, sewer boxes, tap boxes and several other names — are vital for providing stability to a trench and keeping workers safe during construction. Because excavation areas pose a significant hazard to workers, knowing how to evaluate a trench, understanding the box’s structure and using it appropriately are vital for ensuring the highest safety levels.

5 Safety Tips in Trench Shoring

At Sage Rental Services, we understand the importance of trench shields in an excavation operation. This trench box safety checklist contains five critical trench-shoring safety tips:

  1. Inspecting all shoring equipment: One qualified person should thoroughly inspect all safety devices and trench box components at the start of each shift and after every heavy downpour. The inspection should include the spreader pipe, which is often susceptible to damage during placement. Because boxes can shift as work progresses, workers should conduct cursory inspections throughout the operation to ensure stability.
  2. Following the equipment manufacturer’s recommendations: Contractors must follow the trench box manufacturer’s guidelines precisely when building the structure and establishing the maximum allowable depth. This information shows contractors the appropriate box configuration, the correct assembly and the proper placement in a trench.
  3. Knowing how deep a trench can be without shoring: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) specifies various regulations in OSHA Standard 1926.252 that apply to the installation and use of trench boxes. When any trench reaches a depth of 5 feet or greater, OSHA requires workers to implement a protective system. Trenches less than 5 feet deep need shoring if the soil shows a possibility of caving in when digging.
  4. Being aware of the trench box’s top and bottom: OSHA requires that the maximum distance between the bottom of the trench and the bottom of the box be no more than 2 feet. The 2-foot maximum is allowable only if the soil is not collapsing and the shield meets the required depth ratings. 
  5. Backfilling the gaps: Backfilling the gap between the shield and the trench helps stabilize the shield. It does so by restricting movement in case the surrounding soil caves or shifts.

Contact the Professionals at Sage Rental Services Today

Sage Rental Services offers a comprehensive line of trench safety systems at our convenient locations throughout Southeast Texas. Our experienced team can help you choose an affordable solution for your application with a flexible rental contract to meet your needs. Connect with us online today to learn more.