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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 extremely shallow, others can be quite deep. Based on the soil's quality, trench walls support themselves for a short 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. Other names for trench boxes are manhole boxes, sewer boxes, tap boxes, or trench shields. Pre-installation Before excavation commences, the site must go through a complete risk assessment to check for any potential risks, the employees needed and the equipment needed. The need for extra access is also evaluated.
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Then the trench will have to be looked at. How deep does it need to be? How big should it be? Trenches that are more than 5 ft require support from either shoring, trench box, or sloping. But if it's more than 20 feet deep, a registered engineer is required to design the trench's support. How is the trench going to be accessed? Is it through a ramp, steps or ladders? The trench should always have safe access for workers within 25 feet , in case of emergency. The atmosphere of the trench may also require testing for low levels of oxygen or poisonous gases. While trench boxes allow for simple installation, it's not safe to pile boxes over each other.
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Looking after the trench Check for any signs of movement or damage by inspecting the trench box/trench support daily. All workers on the location must wear protective gear, high visibility clothing, hard hats, steel-toed boots, etc. 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 recommended that a chain sling be used for extraction, using any of these 3 methods. Straight pull--this simply involves attaching a sling to two lifting/extraction points and lifting it out. Half pull--this involves attaching a sling to the side of a manhole box, lifting it as high as possible, switching the sling to the other side and repeating the action until the manhole 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. As long as they're properly maintained and used, they make work a lot safer and easier.