How To Make Sure A Trench Is Safe

Posted on: 27 March 2019


In the past, the OSHA has cited businesses for failing to protect their employees from excavation hazards. Workers have the right to conditions that do not pose risk of serious harm. They must receive all of the necessary training about workplace hazards.

If there are any work-related injuries, the company must record them and review them. Workers should be allowed to review these records. They must also not receive any retaliation while exercising their rights. There are several risks associated with trenching, but there are also steps that can be taken to protect workers.

Trenching Dangers

The greatest threat for workers is a cave-in, since they have the greatest risk of causing injuries. When trenches collapse, they tend to cause hundreds of injuries a year.

Workers may also sustain injuries by falling into trenches. Some trenching activities can lead to hazardous atmospheres. Also, there are sometimes accidents involving mobile equipment.

Protecting a Trench

For employees to remain safe, it's important that they never enter an unprotected trench. All trenches need a protective system unless they are made out of solid rock. The protective systems must be designed by a professional engineer. Fortunately, there are many great protective systems that will help you avoid accidents.

The trenches need to be sloped so that they're inclined away from the excavation. Type A soil needs a 53 degree slope, type B requires a 45 degree slope, and type C requires a 34 degree slope.

Trenches are made safer through shoring. This involves installing supports in the trench, which are usually made out of hydraulic aluminum pistons. They extend outward until they push against the walls of the trench to provide support.

Workers should be shielded by trench boxes or other forms of support that protect them from cave-ins. There is on one-size-fits-all protective system to prevent hazards in a trench. Instead, the solution that must be chosen is based on the water content of the soil, the depth of the cut, surcharge loads, and any changes that result from the weather or climate. 

Proper Supervision

A competent and well-trained person must always inspect a trench before anyone enters it. He or she must be able to identify hazards that already exist or that can be predicted. They must also predict if the conditions are unsanitary. But with the right protective measures carried out by a trenching contractor, you may construct a trench that is safe.