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Trench Shielding vs. Trench Shoring

Excavation tasks involving repairs, installation or construction often require shielding or shoring systems to ensure worker safety by preventing cave-ins or collapses inside trenches. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires that contractors utilize a protective solution when an excavation reaches a depth of 5 feet or more. When installing these systems, the contractor must choose between shielding and shoring equipment to provide the best protection.

What’s the Difference Between Trench Shielding and Shoring?

Though people refer to shielding and shoring as synonyms, there are many differences. Trench shielding involves using a box or a shield to protect the workers in case the trench caves in or collapses. Depending on the box manufacturer’s specifications and recommendations, some shields are stackable, while others rate for specific depths in the ground.

Shoring requires placing plates, boards or braces against a trench’s walls and maintaining the separation with posts, screw jacks or hydraulic cylinders. While trench shielding keeps workers safe in the event of a collapse, trench shoring systems prevent the actual collapse from occurring.  

Each work site requires a qualified employee familiar with trench shielding and shoring operations to help determine the best method for a particular job. The manufacturer’s guidelines typically spell out the placement, assembly instructions, soil types and maximum depths for a specific equipment type. For complex excavation projects, contractors often consult with an engineer or another industry professional familiar with the job’s scope and local regulations. 

Trench Shielding and Shoring Types

Many protective system designs exist to comply with OSHA guidelines. The system type a contractor selects must be appropriate for the soil conditions at a work site. The system must also consider the amount of workspace needed, constructability and the required excavation depth. Some of the specific equipment includes:

  • Shielding: While shielding system designs do not prevent trench collapses like shoring equipment, they offer significant protection to workers in case a cave-in occurs. Types of shielding equipment include steel and aluminum trench shields in two-, three- or four-side configurations.
  • Shoring: Shoring equipment applies positive pressure along the trench walls to prevent cave-ins and soil collapse. Some common examples of shoring equipment include vertical hydraulic shores, slide rail systems, guide frames, screw jacks, manhole braces and pneumatic shoring systems.
Connect With the Experts at Sage Rental Services Today

Connect With the Experts at Sage Rental Services Today

Because our experts realize the importance of trench shields and shoring equipment, we offer a comprehensive line of rental products at all of our convenient locations to meet the needs of your excavation project. Contact us online to learn more about our equipment and how it can benefit your operation.