At Shore Hire, safety is their number one priority, especially when it comes to working around excavations and trenches. These can be some of the most dangerous places on a construction site – with a huge range of hazards to look out for such as falls from either people or equipment into the trench, nearby structures collapsing, all the way through to full trench failure and cave-in.
So, how can we stay safe around excavations?
One of the easiest ways to maximise safety before an excavation even begins is by using the ensuring you’ve chosen the best excavation support method. There are a number of factors that go into deciding what the best method is such as; soil type, nearby structures, works to complete and more. Some of the most common methods include:
- Shoring: Shoring is a solution or product that supports and/or reinforces an excavation or trench. Shoring typically involves a shoring box (that can come in various lengths, widths, and base materials) that braces against the two open sides of a trench in order to retain the braced soil.
- Benching: Benching is a series of even steps cut into the vertical surface of an excavation to safeguard against sites collapsing and sliding. It is traditionally done at a 1:1 length-height ratio to achieve the required level of stability so that if the top level were to collapse, it would not fall into the bottom of the trench.
- Battering: Battering is ‘any wall that has been built with an intentional slope’. This means that the sides are self-supporting, and the excavated slope is safe when the ground is stable.
- Shielding: Shielding is a system (often a shoring box) that is put in place that acts as a safeguard against potential collapse, rather than a preventative method. This is because the system inside the trench isn’t fully expanded against the material of the excavation, it just sits within it to ‘shield’ from any debris or soil collapsing inwards.
- Sheeting: Sheeting is a method where trench sheets or sheet piles made of corrugated steel are used to make continuous overlapping walls inside an excavation. They are commonly used in large tank installations, interceptor chambers, pump stations, stormwater pits, gross pollutant traps, bore pits, and lift wells.
Another important way to stay safe when working around excavations and trenches is by making sure the appropriate Edge Protection equipment is used with whatever shoring system you choose. This equipment can include:
- Edge Safe Handrail Systems: Handrails are a really easy and effective way to protect workers and equipment from falling into trenches and excavations. Shore Hire’s Edge Safe Handrail System features 3 rails and has provisions for a “Kick Rail” and toe board to be installed. The handrails are able to be fixed within the panel width and are lightweight, and easy to install.
- Davit Arms/Fall Arrest Systems: This fall arrest edge protection system works with Shore Hire’s safety winch to create an inertia-locked reel system designed to be used on their shoring products. Davit arm systems are essential for providing a safe and reliable way for workers to access and escape trenches, ensuring they can do their jobs without putting themselves in danger. Shore Hire’s Davit arms have a 136kg load capacity and a 24m cable length.
- Ladder Safe Platform: This innovative and robust access platform allows workers safe access to a shoring box and safe access into it via a ladder. It features a self-closing and locking gate for added safety, and a ladder pole to secure the ladder to the platform.
- Stair Access Platform: Shore Hire’s Stair Access Platform is similar to the Ladder Safe Platform, but features self-levelling stairs instead of a ladder. This platform is required for securing self-levelling stairs, via a ladder deck into an excavation. It also features a self-closing and locking gate and is very easy to secure to all of Shore Hire’s shoring systems.
Shore Hire has made certain that their edge protection equipment is as safe and versatile as possible. All of their equipment exceeds Australian safety standards, and the on-site support of their technical sales and engineering teams means customers can be confident they’re getting the right gear for the job.