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Tips for Using Trench Boxes Safely Trenches are fairly common in many an engineering or construction site. They’re designed for laying phone lines, pipes and several other constructions. While some are quite deep, others may be extremely shallow. Based on the soil’s quality, trench walls will not support themselves for long. 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 is it supposed 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. If the trench is beyond 20 ft deep, its support needs to be done by a registered engineer. How will people access the trench? It is by steps, ladders or a ramp? The trench must always be safely accessed by employees within 25 feet, in times of emergency. The atmosphere inside the trench may also need to be tested for toxic gases or low oxygen levels. Trench boxes are made to be simple to install but it’s unsafe to stack boxes over each other.
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Looking after the trench The trench box or trench support should be inspected daily for any signs of movement or damage. All workers on the location must wear protective gear, high visibility clothing, hard hats, steel-toed boots, etc. Ensure that all heavy tools as well as equipment are kept far from the trench’s edge. Excavation It’s probably easier to install a manhole box than extract it because of the moving earth in the area around the trench. It’s recommended that a chain sling be used for extraction, using any of these 3 methods. 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. It’s legally required that they be used and they have to be planned for. Provided they’re well maintained and used, they do make work so much safer and easier.