Trench Box: Basic Description And Application

If you are digging trenches or ditches on a site, you are in danger of collapsing walls and shifting soil. To avoid such tragedies, construction companies erect a trench box. These are essential pieces of equipment necessary whenever and wherever crumbling soil is possible.


Trench boxes are, as the name indicates, a box-like structure for use in trenches. Also called trench shields or sheets, they consist of four walls but lack a top or bottom. The thickness of these walls varies according to the application. Different types of trench work involves more or less force on the wall. In some work sites, the heaviness or amount of soil results in greater stress on the walls of the trench box, therefore indicating the need for thicker walls. However, if the material is more flexible (without bowing inwards), the walls can remain thinner, allowing for maximum protection but less soil displacement. This, in turn, results in the need for less backfill and compaction later.

The same need for options also applies to the construction material. Trench boxes are available in different types of metal to suit their applications. Two of the most common materials for use in trench shield construction are:

1. Aluminum

2. Steel

To ensure the walls of the box remain separated and supported, workers put in place spreaders. They, too, come in different thicknesses and lengths and are of aluminum and steel.

Trench Box

Whether your company is digging a trench, laying sewer pipes or repairing broken water mains, it is imperative to safeguard worker safety during this process. Shifting soil can result in cave-ins. Collapsing walls can smother unsuspecting workers resulting in fatalities. It is always possible to avoid this by putting into place the right safety measures. When excavating, this means installing a solid, trench box – one suitable to the application and able to address all concerns while not only meeting but also exceeding the standards of the OSHA.

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