Trench Collapses

Trenches have been used and formed by people for hundreds of years for many different purposes including, agricultural uses, and installing utilities and pipelines. The construction of trenches is not simply digging in the soil, as it comes with risks and hazards.
Some of the feared dangers associated with Trench construction are the trench collapses, cave-ins and side wall collapses. There are also some invisible dangers of trench contractions are asphyxiation inhalation of toxic fumes and suffocation. Out of these risks, trench collapse is the frequently happened incident on construction sites.

If a Trench collapse happens unfortunately it does cause a lot of injuries to the workers digging the trench. Such injuries include broken leg or arm, death due to lack of oxygen when weight of collapses trench is on the buried worker leaving very little or no space for the proper supply of oxygen. Construction workers working on trenches face high risk of Trench collapse dangers and there are many reasons contribution in Trench collapses. Some of the commonly recognised reasons are that trench walls are not supported by shoring or trench boxes, trenches dig on previously disturbed soil, vibration of the land around the trench area due to the vehicles running too close to the trench, unsafe distance between spoil pile and the lip of the trench, dried trench walls that make trenches weak and heavy rain falls.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has many rules to minimize the Trench collapses and risks associated with it. For example as per OSHA regulations trenches deeper than five feet must be shored for support; this is because of the fact that most of the Trench collapses happen in trenches less than 12 feet deep. While most employers hesitate to use supportive trench boxes due to the added cost and put the lives of labors at higher trench collapse risks.

Trench collapse incidents should not be taken lightly but there should be effective trench collapse preventive measures. Trench collapse risks can be minimized by shifting the soil weight away from the trench opening. Trench collapses can also be minimised by placing trench sheets on both sides of the trench. The party responsible for carrying out construction work for trenches should carefully examine the soil conditions should employ a person qualified in trench safety to carry out tests to ensure there are no poisonous gases inside the soil prepared for trenches. The responsibility to reduce risks associated with trench collapses lies on the shoulders of both employer and workers. It is wise if both undertake necessary training on trenches collapse before executing work for the construction of trenches.

Groundforce is the UK and Ireland’s leading supplier to the construction industry. With over 20 years of experience they offer technical solutions to shoring, trench boxes, piling equipment, formwork equipment, pipe stoppers, trenchless technology and pump hire and sales. To find out more information on these services from Groundforce call 0800 000 345 or email: