If you have a construction business you are likely familiar with the dangers posed to workers from trench cave-ins and the benefits of aluminum shoring material. A construction worker can easily suffer permanent injury or even die as the result of a cave-in while in a trench. Even relatively shallow trenches can pose significant dangers. Employers not only have a duty to consider the safety of their workers and mitigate risks but must also consider how to protect their company. An injured worker can easily result in lawsuits and fines from the Occupational Health and Safety Administration. Criminal penalties may even be possible if appropriate safety equipment was not used.
Using quality safety equipment like aluminum hydraulic shoring can keep your workers safe and your business running smoothly. Unlike trench boxes which aim to protect workers in the event of a cave-in, hydraulic shoring prevents the trenches from collapsing in the first place. Hydraulic shoring has some significant benefits over trench boxes when used in the right conditions.
Aluminum hydraulic shoring is best suited to relatively shallow, narrow trenches. In these conditions, you need safety equipment that is easily moved and that means small, lightweight systems. Aluminum is the perfect material for this application as it is much lighter than other metals while still retaining the strength to maintain worker safety and trench integrity.
Aluminum Shoring Material vs. Alternatives
One of the primary benefits of hydraulic shoring is the ease of installation. Trench cages tend to be quite large and require heavy machinery to maneuver. Just the installation can require multiple workers and take over a significant portion of the work day. The smaller, lighter nature of the aluminum shoring material means that in general you only need a single worker for installation rather than a crew and a someone capable of driving a backhoe. Even larger hydraulic shoring devices typically only require a small piece of equipment to install.
When cost is a consideration you will likely find that hydraulic shoring is a cheaper alternative to steel trench cages. Of course, there are certain situations where hydraulic shoring just will not suffice to provide protection for workers. There may also be certain situations where state regulations or standards set by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration mandate a particular set up. If your trench is no more than a few feet across and does not exceed a depth of twelve feet you can likely reap the benefits of hydraulic shoring. Very deep or wide trenches will likely need trench cages.
Similar to trench cages, hydraulic shoring is available as off the shelf units for sale or rent. If you only infrequently work in the tight, narrow trenches where hydraulic shoring offers the most benefit you may want to consider renting on an as needed basis. You can also work with a company to custom engineer hydraulic shoring for specialized or unusual jobs. Custom built shoring is a more expensive option but making sure you have the right shoring for your job will likely save time and money in the long run. Worker safety is not an area to cut corners and jobs may even be shut down by safety inspectors if they feel you have not adequately secured a trench.