Trenches are defined as being any below ground excavation which is deeper than it is wide. The deeper a trench the more dangerous it becomes, which is of particular significance for construction workers for whom trenches have become an industry staple. Because of this it’s incredibly important that trenches be excavated and retained in as safe a manner as is possible, to ensure that all individuals are able to carry out their work without fear.
There are many different types of trench retention which are in common usage today, but perhaps the most popular method is that of trench shoring. Shoring is preferred because, unlike so many other techniques which simply aim to reduce risk in the event of an accident, shoring actually works to prevent accidents from happening in the first place. This, combined with the relative ease of trench shoring installation, has resulted in this method becoming vastly popular with construction crews around the world.
Different Types of Trench Shoring
There are two main types of trench shoring materials – aluminium and timber – which can be installed using either hydraulic or pneumatic technology. Hydraulic aluminium shoring tends to be the preferred method for modern construction, as its benefits include being light enough to be installed by just one person and being easily adaptable to suit various trench depths and widths. Additionally, hydraulic shoring can be installed without the need for manual interaction, which makes it the safest shoring type. However, pneumatic shoring offers increased stability which is gained as a result of using underpinning to reinforce the shoring struts. Find out more about the different types of shoring.
When is Trench Shoring Required?
Trench shoring is required during any excavation which extends deeper than 5ft, unless the excavation is being carried out in stable rock. Trenches which are 20ft or deeper require proper assessment by a professional engineer, who must then design a specific system of support with which to reinforce the excavation. Sometimes it may be possible to slope the sides of the trench to enough of an angle so that shoring is not required, but when this isn’t possible it’s recommended that shoring be used.
Installation Safety Requirements
Because shoring is so vital for securing the safety of a trench environment, it’s absolutely essential that installation be carried out correctly. Shoring should be gauge regulated wherever possible, to help ensure the even regulation. Timber shoring should also be able to meet certain OSU charter requirements. All shoring should be installed top and down and removed from the bottom up, and shoring should be regularly checked to prevent cracks, breaks, leaks or distortion.