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Trenching in Construction Sectors

According to OSHA, trenches occur during excavation when the depth is more than wide (15 feet/ 4.5 meters). Trenching in construction is one of the risky excavation terms because of its dangerous movements and possibilities. Therefore, high-tech equipment and machinery are required to complete the task efficiently. 

Municipalities encourage the traditional trenching sometimes, though. However, this is the most cost-effective formula among other excavations. The trenchless method is such an irreplaceable formula that acts inevitably though there are several alternatives.

Trenching in Construction Overview

If you face a pipe defection that damages pipes, trenchless rehabilitation might not work perfectly instead of applying the trenching in the affected area. Thus, you can rectify your original problem through trenching. Since there are heavy vehicles and machinery requirements such as dump trucks and others that cost a lot of fuel and carbon footprint, sometimes the assumptions become wrong about trenching construction. 

Trenching is an essential section of any construction project, whether it’s large or small. It contains digging and eliminating the dirt, forming a narrow line into the ground, which contributes high to the project efficiency. Wide variations of civil and engineering combinations are put into this because of different suitable methods. 

Installation of Protective Systems

A secured system ensures the safety of workers from cave-ins and sometimes death. In fact, preventing accidents from cave-ins is one of OSHA’s fundamental goals. If the trench seems deeper than 5 feet, you must make the protective system. Among some most used trenching types, straight, bell-bottom pier hole trenches are noticeable. 

Some Standard Protective Systems Are Given Below:

Sloping and Benching

Sloping means cutting back the trench wall to create a slope. Typically, the cutting starts at an angle where the suitability remains perfectly. Benching helps to travel the earthen fence up and down by creating steps like long benches. 


Shoring intends to make a support system through timber, hydraulic systems, and mechanical parts that prevent accidents. Shoring tries to make an extra layer of protection to avoid collapse. 

Trench Shield

Trench shields are meant to protect the workers from sudden accidents. Pipe laying is a trench shield formula for a protective system. In trench shields, you must follow some guidelines sincerely.


Using Alternative Trenching Methods

Since trenching is a compulsory but dangerous facet of construction, no one will want to involve more than requirements. So, CDC recommends using several alternatives of trenching for better protection.

Let’s be familiar with some trenching alternatives.

Pipe Ramming

Pipe ramming is popular for horizontal projects mainly. This method is highly suitable for larger pipes and surfaces indeed.

Directional Boring

Directional boring exploits a boring machine that digs into the ground at an approach without disturbing the surface. Typically, it prevents most of the dangers that exist in trenching. 

Utility Tunnelling

Utility Tunnelling has some similarities with pipe jacking. The only difference is that the linear plates are bound, and workers pass in the borehole. This technique is mainly used in colder climates and large commercial sites.

Conduct Atmospheric Testing

Whenever an excavation trench line goes deeper than 4 feet, the requirement of Atmospheric testing turns up. Oxygen deficiency and the presence of carbon dioxide or methane gases make a dangerous environment, and that’s why the atmospheric technique is necessary. 

Cautions of Falling Loads

OSHA states that every worker should stay away from the lifting equipment that is being burdened. Since the chances of the accident are there, you must be careful about the warnings. 

Routine Inspection of Trenches

A sincere person must inspect the site for any possibilities of accidents or collapses. However, the inspection also has to occur after any natural proceedings like rainstorms or earthquakes. 

Install Safe Access and Door Points

The workers must keep easy access to trenching lines like ramps or ladders. Moreover, the entrances and exits root need not be more than 25 feet long for an employee. 

Local Utility Lines Before Digging

The worker must know the digging place well. Otherwise, an accidental hitting to gas, water, or electric line may cause a massacre. So, you must inform the local utility workers before starting work. 

Assign a Competent Person

The entire work needs adequate knowledge and experience as well. Therefore, you should not neglect to hire a competent person for your individual well-being. They must be:

The alternatives are enough to feel safe and secured during the procession if you can also follow the proper safety signs installation. 

Most Commonly Used Trenching Types.

Some Common Trenching Threats


Before Starting The Task, Make Sure You Have The Following Elements.


The Difference Between Excavating And Trenching In Construction

According to OSHA, excavation is any type of digging that can take place on the earth’s surface. It is a familiar term in construction that can even be used as an umbrella.

On the other hand, Trenching is a specific form of excavation that involves narrow digging for preparing cables or pipelines. Though the wide should not exceed 15 feet, the depth is much bigger than the width of a trench.


Ultimately, trenching defines the removal of dirt and other organic matter to effectively create a line in the ground. Typically, Trenching is just another form of excavation that is too dangerous to take over without massive knowledge and skill. 

Trenching in Construction offers many alternatives that are less dangerous than trenching. If you are knowledgeable enough of trenching terms and conditions, it is permissible to start the inspection. We suggest having a skilled and professional contractor for proceeding the work to stay safe from risks.