Understanding The System Of Trench Boxes

understanding trench boxes

Understanding The System Of Trench Boxes

Safety is an utmost priority in the construction industry. In digging trenches, construction companies are always recommended to install a system called a trench box to ensure the safety of the workers who are performing the task of digging in an excavation. Aside from that, it’s also an effective way of stabilizing the trench and preventing the excavated area from caving in.

Read more as we are going to understand the system of trench boxes and why it’s a necessary tool for trench safety.

Definition Of The Trench Box System

A trench box, or also known as trench shield, trench sheet, manhole box, sewer box, and tap box is a kind of safety device that is commonly used in construction areas. This system is usually square-shaped and is made of adjustable cross members and pre-constructed side sheets. The primary purpose of a trench box is to provide stability to the trench and maintain the safety of the utility workers as they carry out the excavation.

Types Of Trench Boxes/Shields

There’s 2 type of trench box system that is commonly used in construction work and these are:

  • Steel trench boxes/shields
  • Aluminum trench boxes/shields

And though each type is made of different metals, they still include the same components – the shield plates to be placed in lined with the trench walls and the spreaders which hold the plates apart.

As mentioned, the plates will be installed at the walls of the trench while the spreader beams will act as braces and will be attached perpendicular to the shield plates. Once all the components are in place, it will be welded together to increase the integrity of the system and make it more stable.

Aside from the safety feature of trench boxes, they are also designed to allow workers to get in out easily which is also very crucial for emergency situations where the workers need to evacuate the construction area immediately.

How Does It Differ From Trench Shoring?

Trench shoring is often confused with the concept of trench shielding because although they may appear to have the same function, the purpose of applying these systems is entirely different.

To be specific, the use of a trench box or trench shield is only intended as a precautionary measure to keep the workers safe should a collapse may occur. On the other hand, a trench shoring system is primarily designed as a preventive measure to keep trenches from collapsing.

Why Is It Necessary To Use A Trench Box?trench box

Construction companies are responsible for their worker’s safety and are accountable for any accidents that may happen in the work area due to negligence.

Using a trench box can reduce the risk of any accidents that might happen while undergoing excavation as their employees are protected from possible collapse which might result in injuries that can sometimes lead to death.

Here are some other reasons to consider why the usage of a trench box is necessary for construction work:

  1. Helps increase worker’s productivity – The apparent boon of trench boxes can serve as a motivating factor for workers in some ways as they are no longer distracted by the dangers involved in digging a trench. And because of this, they will be more focused on doing their job which, in turn, will lead to more productive results.
  2. It is also used for pouring the foundations – A trench box is also utilized during the pouring of the foundation in the trench. It ensures that the concrete is properly laid and evenly distributed inside the trench.
  3. Useful during piping and underground wiring works – A trench box is also handy during times of underground wiring installation and in situations when piping repairs are needed to be done in the construction area.


Trench boxes are necessary tools to ensure worker’s safety. And since the construction of new houses and buildings require excavation, it is always recommended to make use of this system to avoid the dangers involved during soil collapse.

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