It is not uncommon for most construction sites to have trenches. You will also find such trenches being dug for the laying of water pipes, sewers, electrical cables, telephone lines and many other utilities that need to be carried from one place to another. Trenches can be shallow or deep, and their walls will only support themselves, where depths are limited and the soil has the capacity to retain itself.
Trenches walls can collapse and prove to be a safety concern for the people working in them. It is then a matter of expediency to install supports for the trench walls in the form of trench boxes. These trench boxes can be made of steel, wood or even aluminum trench box. The function of these boxes is to prevent the collapse of the trench walls so that work can be safely carried on inside them.
Before any excavation is undertaken for trenches, it is important that the potential risks be identified. Trenches need to be wide enough to permit equipment and workers to work in them. The depth of the trenches is often governed by the nature of the utility that needs to be installed. Proper arrangements must also be made to enter and exit the trench, especially for those that go down to large depths.
Aluminum trench boxes are quite often used for manhole construction and are light aluminum shields that will abut against the wall of the trench, while they are braced against each other to form a box that is rigid and firm and will not allow the trench walls to collapse. Care has to be taken to design the supports in such a way that it does not obstruct the work to be carried out in the trench. It can be a critical factor in tranches where continuous pipes or cables are to be installed.
When trenches are excavated in populated areas or close to roads, care also has to be taken to see that the aluminum trench boxes installed can take the additional load imposed by moving traffic. Trenches must be fenced off and proper signage installed to warn people about their presence.
Most local authorities have strict rules about the digging of trenches and the shoring and support material that has to be provided. These boxes must be properly designed and installed. Their proper utilization can often be the difference between safe working and accidents that can at times be fatal.