When you think about construction, excavation, and trenching, safety isn’t always the first thing you consider, however it should be. No one goes into a trench thinking they are not going to go home to their family. There are numerous factors that go into trench safety, such as length, depth, soil, equipment around the trench, and how you are going to secure it. Trench collapses can be prevented with these methods: SLOPE or bench trench walls, SHORE trench walls with supports, or SHIELD trench walls with trench boxes. OSHA defines a trench as, “a narrow excavation (in relation to its length) made below the surface of the ground. In general, the depth of a trench is greater than its width, but the width of a trench (measured at the bottom) is not greater than 15 feet (4.6 m).” Inspections by a competent person must be done prior to the start of work and as needed throughout the shift. Inspections are also required after natural events, such as rainstorms, or other hazard-increasing occurrences, such as blasting work. If an inspector finds any unsafe conditions during an inspection, the employer must clear workers from the hazardous area until the necessary safety precautions have been taken.
The reason most people don’t take precautions with trenching is that they think they can get out in time. Trench safety takes time, preparation, and a financial investment. Some don’t realize that 1 cubic yard of dry dirt is approximately 2,000 lbs. (or one ton) and this weight increase significantly when the product is wet. Trench collapses happen quickly and without much, if any, advance notice. Once the investment is made with trench shoring, shielding, and/or trench boxes, they can be reused. What is the life of one of your employees really worth? From a business owner standpoint, numerous lawsuits and millions of dollars in court costs, payments to loved ones, and OSHA fines that could devastate or even cripple your business to the point of closing. Allen Trench Safety cares about your employees, your business, and YOU. Please check out our website, allentrenchsafety.com, and feel free to call us at 877-854-3552 with questions. Allen Trench Safety supplies lightweight, portable and easy to assemble trench boxes and equipment.