If your work regularly includes excavations, appropriate shoring methods must be an essential piece in your mental toolbox. Properly chosen shoring increases worker safety and can even keep a job on schedule. While both scaffolding and shoring are often used in construction projects, it is important to note that shoring is vastly different from scaffolding even though both are important for worker safety.
Why Does Shoring Matter For Excavation Projects?
What is shoring equipment? Shoring is simply the practice of creating a temporary system of support for a building, structure, or trench. For trenches, the most common types are hydraulic shoring and pneumatic shoring, and trench shoring.
How Shoring Increases Safety When Working in Trenches.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) details excavations as a man-made cut, depression, or cavity made by removing the requisite amount of earth. Trenches are defined as any man-made excavation deeper than it is wide, but no wider than 15 feet. Any trench deeper than five feet, and not being cut from solid rock, must have shoring equipment installed for safety. For very deep trenches measuring 20 or more feet in depth, a special protective system designed by a registered engineer must be installed.
Hydraulic shoring aims to prevent cave-ins from happening, but even so it is necessary to have a plan. OSHA requires shoring for deep trenches, but the organization also requires safe access and egress in the form of ramps, steps, and ladders from excavations four feet or deeper. These must be within 25 feet of workers at all times, meaning there cannot be just one near the start of the excavation, but access/ egress route present every 25 feet.
Proper Shoring Can Keep Excavation Jobs On Schedule.
Shoring is meant to prevent the sides of the trench from caving into the cleared area where the workers are located. The first concern, of course, is the safety of the workers in the event of a cave-in. However, the secondary concern is the loss of time. A cave-in can set back a timeline. There is also the possibility of equipment becoming damaged or lost.
A good shoring system for trenches, whether hydraulic shoring, pneumatic shoring, or a trench shoring, should protect the workers. But it would be preferable if the shoring could do a good job of preventing or minimizing shifts in the soil, such as with hydraulic shoring. Choose the one that works best for your excavation.