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What to Look for in Trench Covers

August 18, 2015 0 Comments
Civil Construction Trench Covers

Trench Covers are a Safety Measure on-site

Every day, hundreds of people in the construction and civil construction industry – including utility workers, transport maintenance operatives, agricultural specialists, DIY enthusiasts and many more, start a project by digging a trench. Unfortunately, if not correctly dug out, supported and maintained, a simple hole in the ground has the potential to cause serious injury and even death. A number of straightforward safety measures can go a long way to reducing the risk of trench related accidents, including the use of trench covers and trench shields. If you’re keen to ensure the safety of workers and the public, find out more below about the advantages these items can bring.

Trench Covers and Trench Shields Help Satisfy Australian Health and Safety Requirements

Ensuring your employees and the personnel entering your site are kept safe isn’t just good manners and the right thing to do; it’s also a legal requirement that employers and property developers neglect at their peril. Companies that fail to meet Australian WHS standards, causing preventable risk to their workforce, can be heavily fined. In extreme cases, particularly where negligence has sadly resulted in a preventable death, an organisation might even find itself facing a corporate manslaughter charge. A trench cover or road plate safely covers a hole when it’s not being worked on, allowing traffic and pedestrians to pass over the excavation with minimal risk. On-going projects involving larger trenches need trench boxes (also known as trench shields) to reinforce the walls of the trench whilst work is taking place. These installations protect workers from the risk of subsidence or being buried due to a wall of the trench collapsing.

Selecting the Right Trench Cover

Just like trenches, trench covers come in a wide variety of sizes and specifications. Factors such as ground composition, size of the proposed excavation, type of traffic, the nature of the work being carried out and space constraints all play a role in determining what type of trench cover is going to be most appropriate.

In general terms, a trench cover needs to be an item that’s been specifically designed for the purpose. Boards, tarpaulins or other makeshift covers will not offer the high degree of safety that a bespoke product can provide. Leading manufacturers of these products ensure that they comply with all relevant legislation, allowing you to use them with confidence. In addition to obvious characteristics such as dimensions and load bearing limits, look for features such as:

  • chamfered edges (to minimise tripping hazards),
  • slip resistance
  • strength/weight ratio.

High strength plastic reinforced with steel is a popular composition for effective trench covers, as it combines high visibility and low theft potential with superior strength, whilst still being relatively light weight.

Remember that protecting site workers and other site users is a major part of any successful construction operation, so it makes sense to ensure that the right equipment is in place to minimise the risk of accidental injury – or worse! Ensuring appropriate trench covers and trench shields are readily available and correctly utilised is essential to a safe working environment.

Filed in: On Site

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