If you are involved in an excavation project, selecting the right shoring system is of utmost importance. Several types of shoring systems are available, each serving its unique purpose. Deciding which works best for your job depends on various factors, such as soil conditions and the size/depth required for your excavation. To help you choose the optimal option for your specific requirements, we will discuss the various types of shoring systems and how they work.
Shoring in excavation is a process that involves constructing temporary or permanent supports for the sides of an excavation to help stabilize it during construction and provide access for workers. Depending on the excavation’s depth, soil type, and purpose, it can involve anything from installing wooden braces to large steel wall structures. Shoring helps protect against cave-ins, which can occur when the soil around the excavation is not adequately supported, and it also helps provide safe access for workers.
In addition to preventing cave-ins, shoring also helps keep soil from rolling into the excavation and provides additional support for heavy machinery that might be used in the excavation. Shoring is a critical part of any excavation project and must be carefully planned and executed to ensure a safe and successful outcome.
Different Types Of Shoring Systems
Shoring is part of a support system for trench faces. It is used to prevent the movement of soil, underground utilities, roadways, and foundations. Shoring or shielding is used when the location or depth of the cut makes sloping back to the maximum allowable slope impractical. Shoring consists of posts, struts, and sheeting. There are two types of shoring: timber and aluminium hydraulic.
1. Hydraulic Shoring
Hydraulic shoring is a pre-fabricated strut and/or wale system made from aluminium or steel. Hydraulic shoring provides a critical safety advantage over timber shoring because workers do NOT have to enter the trench to install or remove hydraulic shoring.
Other advantages of most hydraulic systems include the following:
- Light enough to be installed by one worker
- Gauge-regulated to ensure even distribution of pressure along the trench line
- Can have their trench faces “pre-loaded” to use the soil’s natural cohesion to prevent movement
- Can be adapted easily to various trench depths and widths
All shoring should be installed from the top down and removed from the bottom up. Hydraulic shoring should be checked at least once per shift for leaking hoses and/or cylinders, broken connections, cracked nipples, bent bases, and other damaged or defective parts.
2. Pneumatic Shoring
Pneumatic shoring works like hydraulic shoring. The primary difference is that pneumatic shoring uses air pressure instead of hydraulic pressure. However, when using pneumatic shoring, you must have an air compressor on site. Air shoring involves using compressed air instead of hydraulic fluid to expand the trench jacks into position.
Using the air type of system, pins are put in place to lock the jacks when a desired level of stability is achieved. To remove this trenching system, air is injected into the jacks to extend them. This allows the pin to be removed. These types of jacks are popular since they are cleaner than hydraulic jacks, and there isn’t a danger of leaking fluids or other lubrication.
Other Protective Systems
As mentioned earlier, when a trench is excavated, employees who work in the area must be protected from cave-ins. Therefore, the contractor should consider excavating a wider area than the minimum. When this is done, it provides a more comfortable working environment for your employees in the trench. This extra working area may provide a way for workers to escape an unexpected crisis, such as falling objects or debris.
Contractors should also reduce risk by limiting the number of workers in the trench at all times. The only workers allowed in the trench should be those absolutely needed to perform the task. As the trench is backfilled, the braces and planks can be removed to be used at another site. If installed and removed correctly, vertical planks and trench braces may be used several times!