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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 extremely shallow, others can be quite deep. Depending on the quality of soil, trench walls won’t support themselves for a long time. A steel or aluminum trench box supports the trench walls to ensure it’s safe to work there without the danger of walls collapsing on equipment and people. Trench boxes are also called manhole boxes, tap boxes, sewer boxes, or trench shields. 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 extra access is also evaluated.
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Then the trench needs to be looked at. How deep should it be? How big should it 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? It is by steps, ladders or a ramp? 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 designed to allow for simple installation but it’s not safe to stack these boxes over each other.
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Taking care of the trench Check for any signs of movement or damage by inspecting the trench box/trench support daily. All staff must put on protective gear, steel-toed boots, high visibility clothing, hard hats and so on. Ensure that all heavy tools as well as equipment are kept far 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 best to extract using a chain sling, through any of these 3 ways. Straight pull–this involves simply attaching a sling to two extraction/lifting points and lifting it 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–a single chain sling leg is connected to a point of extraction or lifting and the panel corners are lifted in turns; when the manhole box moves freely, it’s removed with the straight pull. To sum up, trenches do save lives. They must be planned for and it’s a legal requirement to make use of them. So long as they’re used and maintained properly, they make work so much easier and safer.