OSHA Defense

Florida Trenching Safety and Protective Systems Part 2 featured image

Florida Trenching Safety and Protective Systems Part 2

Many different things can go wrong at a construction site without the proper safety precautions. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), on average, 40 workers die from trenching accidents each year. Collapses are one of the main causes of trenching accidents, trapping, suffocating, or crushing workers. The weight of soil per cubic yard can be as much as a small car.

In part one of this article, we discussed soil types and trenching safety. In this section, a  Hillsborough county construction lawyer further details trenching protection systems.


Benching keeps soil from falling into the trench by creating step-like plateaus at certain intervals. Simple benching features sloping and a single bench while multiple benches looks similar to a set of stairs. This method can be used in type A and B soils, but not type C soils, preventing this method from being utilized in much of Florida.


Shielding uses trench boxes with two large plates that are held by four cross bars or other bracing support. The area between the shielding box and the trench is often backfilled to make sure the shielding box stays in place. There are many factors to consider when planning a shielding system since there are limits as to the load they can bear. Sometimes shielding is combined with sloping or benching in open areas.


Used when sloping and benching are impractical, shoring systems use support to keep soil from moving or caving in. Shoring systems are commonly supported by timber, hydraulic technology, or pneumatic technology. Timber is becoming less popular than the newer systems: hydraulic shoring and pneumatic shoring.

Hydraulic shoring is quickly becoming more popular than timber because workers don’t have to get into the trench to install it, leading to an impressive advantage in worksite safety. It can also be installed in the trench by one worker because they’re so light.

Pneumatic shoring is similar to hydraulic shoring. The major difference is that pneumatic shoring requires an air compressor to be on the jobsite. There are several variants of the system, including screw jacks, underpinning, and single-cylinder hydraulic shores.

If an Accident Occurs

Accidents happen even on jobsites with the best safety plans. In the case of a medical emergency, it’s important to call 911 immediately. You may also need to notify OSHA within hours of the accident. If an accident happens at your jobsite, you need legal representation to protect your business.

If you would like to speak with one of our Hillsborough county construction lawyers, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.