What makes a safe and successful shoring system?
In relation to excavations and earthmoving works, shoring is defined as “a positive ground support system that can be used when the location or depth of an excavation makes battering and benching impracticable” . As such shoring is commonly used during large and small excavations to prevent the movement of soil and potential ground collapse.
In trench excavations where unstable ground conditions are often encountered, shoring is a common method of ground support particularly when working in ground that is liable to be wet during excavation such as sand, silt or soft moist clay. Shoring is not only used for ground support, but for the health and safety of people entering excavations on site whenever there is a risk of a person being buried, struck or trapped by dislodged or falling material during the excavation work.
In the case of earthmoving machinery being used, a risk assessment is essential to determine where and when a trench requires support. The shoring face should also be regularly reviewed and monitored so that shoring the face of an excavation progresses as the excavation work progresses. It is advised for the safety of workers that they should not work ahead of the shoring protection if it is being progressively installed.
What are the different types of shoring available?
There are a number of basic shoring options such as hydraulically operated metal shoring and timber shoring. Hydraulic jacks and steel struts, walls and sheeting are some of the most common, and aluminium or timber components are sometimes used as well. Over the years metal shoring has largely replaced timber shoring due to its adaptability to various trench depths and widths, and ability to ensure even distribution of pressure along the trench line
The most common types of shoring used are:
- Hydraulic bracing systems
- Steel sheet piling
- Steel trench sheeting
- Steel or Aluminium trench boxes or shields
- Timber systems (i.e. Soldier sets)
Why use a hydraulic shoring system?
Hydraulic support or bracing systems are commonly used to provide temporary or mobile ground support while other ground supports are being installed. The hydraulic bracing system should be designed in consultation with a geotechnical engineer, to resist the expected ground pressures and potential for collapse.
Hydraulic bracing systems return decreased time and material costs during both installation and removal. Look for a product range that is fast to assemble onsite, coupled with heavy-duty hydraulic struts. It is important to regularly maintain and inspect systems to ensure they remain reliable and safe.
When is steel trench sheeting used?
Steel trench sheeting is lighter weight than normal sheet piling, and in some circumstances may be driven by hand-held pneumatic hammers or electrical operated vibrating hammers.
Trench sheets are used to make continuous overlapping walls during excavation and are used in conjunction with a variety of trench shoring systems including timber walers, aluminium walers and hydraulic bracing systems. Look for trench sheets that have been designed for quick and easy installation and extraction.
What is the difference between shoring and a trench box?
Shields and boxes used in trenches are often referred to as trench shields or trench boxes, and are designed and constructed to withstand the earth pressures of particular trench depths and ground types. While shoring is designed to prevent the ground from collapsing, the shielding and boxes are primarily designed to protect workers on site should there be a collapse. Trench shields and boxes are very useful in situations where it is not practical to install other support systems, are often used in low access open areas to allow install in and out of the trench.
Used correctly, shields and boxes can provide a safe workspace for workers needing to enter an excavation. Maintenance and regular inspection is critical and instructions for installation must be followed. It is critical that they should never be subjected to loads exceeding those which the system was designed to withstand.
How to select the right shoring solution for you project
The most important message here is not just about having shoring in place, it’s about having the right shoring for the right project to create a safe working environment. You need to work with a shoring company that can bring in the experts to ensure the right shoring system is selected and installed correctly. When choosing a shoring solution or shoring company consider the following
- Are they designed, manufactured and certified to meet Australian standards
- Do they offer small to large scale shoring systems?
- Do they have lightweight systems?
- Do they provide a range of options such as steel and aluminium trench boxes?
- Do they have a hydraulic bracing system?
- Do they have edge safe protection range?
- Are they designed for ease of use?
- Do they offer engineering and on-site support?
From hand operated shoring systems to large scale hydraulic bracing systems, Australian companies like shore hire can provide detailed specifications on all of their products to make it easier when selecting your shoring solution, with technical sales team, in-house engineers and on-site support. From large to small excavations, if you’re digging deeper than one metre, shore hire has a shoring solution to suit your needs. Designed, manufactured and tested in Australia, they are committed to helping provide safer work environments.
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