Digging trenches can be very useful during construction, but they can also be very dangerous if not carefully shored up. Shoring up the sides of a trench will help prevent it from collapsing, creating a safe work environment for anyone who is in or around the trench.
There are a number of different types of equipment that can be used for shoring up trenches, and it’s important to always use one of these options. Using something such as concrete wall forms to create temporary brace is never a good idea since they aren’t created for that specific use.
Types of Shoring Equipment
There are a number of different types of shoring equipment that can be rented or purchased. The type used depends on the size of the trench, its depth, and what it will be used for.
One popular method is hydraulic shoring. This option uses hydraulic pistons to hold heavy plywood or steel plates in place along the sides of the trench. The plywood or plate is put into position, and then the piston is positioned behind it and activated, pressing the board or plate up against the side of the trench to prevent it from collapsing.
The plate and beam method is similar to this. Here, steel beams are actually positioned first. Once these beams have been driven into the floor of the trench, steel plates are slid down in front of them. The beams hold these plates up, creating trench walls. When wooden plates are used instead of steel plates, the process is known as soldier boarding.
Shoring vs. Shielding
It’s important to note that trench shoring is not the same as trench shielding, and the equipment used in each is different. Trench shielding is the technique used to keep workers safe if the trench were to collapse. These shields are usually made out of sidewalls held up by spreaders made from aluminum or steel. Shoring is considered the safer method and is often used over shielding.
What Does Shoring Provide?
When a trench is shored up, it will provide a number of different benefits to the construction crew.
Workers are Safer
The biggest benefit to shoring up a trench is that it makes it safer. Trenches can easily collapse, trapping workers within them. Workers who are near a trench when it collapses may also fall or be hurt by falling equipment. Any trench on a construction site needs to be shored up for safety.
It Saves Time
Shoring equipment is often used is to save time by ensuring that the crew only has to dig the trench once. If they did have a trench collapse, even if there was no injury or equipment damage, the trench would still have to be dug out again. This can put your entire project behind schedule.
It Provides Financial Security
If a trench collapses and hurts or even kills someone, the company is going to have to pay out on a workers’ compensation case. They may also have to replace damaged equipment. Then, there’s the chance that the company could be fined for an unsafe work environment or be sued by injured employees. By using shoring equipment, the company is protecting itself from these financial risks.
Workers Will Feel Safe
Workers who are concerned about their safety may not do quality work or may put off working in the trench for as long as possible. Showing them that their safety is a priority helps reassure them and improves worker efficiency.
Forming America Can Provide the Shoring Equipment You Need
If your company doesn’t have shoring equipment or is in need of additional pieces, Forming America can help. We have a wide range of shoring equipment for jobs of all sizes. Contact us today to discuss your shoring equipment needs.