Why use a Trench Box?
The main use of trench boxes is for the protection of utility workers while performing excavation tasks within an excavation area.
Trench boxes are used to protect the employee in the event of a cave- in. OSHA requires a Competent Person trained in the Subpart P Excavation standard to determine the protective system needed for the job.
All trenches greater than 5′ require a protective system and in some cases the engineer my require the depth to only be 4′.
What is a Trench Box?
A Trench box, also known as Trench shield, is a structure that is made of either steel or aluminum which is used as a form of protection for utility workers while performing their construction responsibilities or task within a trench.
The most common type of shields are made of steel with either single wall or double wall sheeting. Steel Trench Boxes generally have a greater depth rating and are 4′-10′ tall and 6′ to 40′ in length. Wall thickness ranges from 4″ to 12″ depending in soil conditions and the depth of the excavation.
There are other types of Trench Boxes that are made of aluminum or a combination of aluminum and steel. Aluminum shields are generally used in shallower excavation to do point repairs or service connections. Aluminum shields are available in modular panel construction, which allows the user to configure the shield in either 2 sided, 3 sided or 4 sided. The customer can also pick panels from a variety of lengths up to 12′ and width to 12′. Most modular panels are 2′ tall and can be stacked to get the required height needed.
The other type of aluminum sheet is a 3″ wall foam filled aluminum panel with a steel frame around it to add durability for working in more severe conditions. This type of shield, known as a SFA shield, comes in 4′ 6′ 8′ heights and 4′-16′ in lengths and can be used when smaller excavators or backhoes are used.
In March of 1990 the Occupation Safety Health Administration (OSHA) added new rules and guide lines for the Subpart P Excavation Standard. The revisions were made to clarity the current standard to make them easier to understand. This revision was based on the fact that excavation is one of the most dangerous types of construction with more workers killed or seriously injured than most other phases of construction work.
Although the standard has been clarified there are now more defined rules that cover trench protection. One of these options is the use of Trench Protection equipment such as Trench Boxes.
Now all trench boxes must be designed and manufactured according to design of a Registered Professional Engineer in the structural field. Manufacturer Tabulated Data, with a signed P.E. stamp is required during installation and must be available at the request from an OSHA compliance officer.
Certified trench boxes can increase productivity by reducing the amount of material excavated for the work area. Along with reducing select material cost and the remediation foot print in the excavation area.
Trench Boxes and Their Importance.
Simply put, THEY SAVE LIVES!
Take a look at our line of Xterra Trench Boxes.