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How to Use Trench Boxes Safely Trenches are quite common in many engineering and construction sites. They’re used for laying telephone lines, pipes as well as many other constructions. While some are deep, others can be very shallow. Depending on the quality of soil, trench walls won’t support themselves for a long time. An aluminum or steel trench box secures the trench walls to make it safe to work there without the risk of walls collapsing on people or equipment. Other names for trench boxes are manhole boxes, sewer boxes, tap 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 need for additional access is also looked at.
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Then the trench will have to be looked at. How deep does it need to be? How large does it need to be? Trenches that over 5 ft need support from one of these: trench box, sloping, or shopping. But if the trench is over 20 ft deep, its support must be designed by a registered engineer. How is the trench going to be accessed? Is it via a ramp, ladders or steps? 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. While trench boxes allow for simple installation, it’s not safe to pile boxes over each other.
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Tending to 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 heavy tools and equipment is kept far away from the trench’s edge. Excavation It’s probably harder to extract a manhole box than install it due to 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–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. To summarize, trenches save lives. They must be planned for and it’s a legal requirement to make use of them. As long as they’re properly maintained and used, they make work a lot safer and easier.