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Tips for Using Trench Boxes Safely Trenches are quite common in many engineering and construction sites. They’re designed for laying phone lines, pipes and several other constructions. While some are quite deep, others may be extremely shallow. Depending on the quality of soil, trench walls won’t support themselves for a long 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 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 necessity of additional access is also assessed.
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Then the trench will have to be looked at. How deep does it need to be? How large should it be? Trenches that are more than 5 ft require support from either shoring, trench box, or sloping. 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 within the trench might also require testing for poisonous gases or low levels of oxygen. Trench boxes are made to be simple to install but it’s unsafe to stack boxes over each other.
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Taking care of the trench The trench box or trench support should be inspected daily for any signs of movement or damage. All staff must put on protective gear, steel-toed boots, high visibility clothing, hard hats and so on. Be sure to keep heavy tools and equipment 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 advisable to use a chain sling for extraction, using any of these three methods. Straight pull–a sling is just attached to the two lifting or extraction points and lifted out. Half pull–a sling is attached to one side of a trench box, lifted as high as possible, then the sling is switched to the opposite side and the action repeated till the trench support 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. In summary, trenches help save lives. It’s legally required that they be used and they have to be planned for. So long as they’re used and maintained properly, they make work so much easier and safer.