Excavation and trench support is an essential part of many construction related projects, but many trenching systems are sold or hired with limited instructions and nothing in the way of practical training. This is particularly surprising considering that the task of trenching is not without significant risk.
A high profile incident saw a company become the first to be convicted of corporate manslaughter under the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007, when a 3.8 metre deep pit collapsed, killing a worker. The company was fined £385,000, which many saw as lenient. Under the 2007 legislation the penalty is an unlimited fine.
Kevin Parsons, Operations Director at C&G Training explains the benefits of : “Effective excavation trenching training can reduce your risks and, more importantly, can save lives. Training also makes your workforce more efficient at installing trenching systems, which can save time on construction. We have recently completed our third training programme for South Gloucestershire Council, training their staff on “MGF” trench support box systems which are quick and easy to install, ensure compliance and keep your workforce safe.
“We firmly believe that the safety of workers is of the upmost importance, which is why C&G are launching a new campaign to stop workers digging their own graves. We plan on promoting excavation trenching training as much as possible in an effort to keep people safe, both locally and nationally.”
Beyond C&G’s campaign, excavation trenching is benefitting from a raft of innovative advancements in box systems, with lighter aluminium and glass reinforced plastic (GRP) systems greatly reducing the weight of the equipment. “Lighter systems can be fitted by fewer people,” continues Kevin. “Whereas it can take six workers to manoeuvre the standard trench boxes, lighter aluminium and GRP systems can be fitted by far fewer people and are generally quicker and easier to install”.
As many trench system manufacturers don’t provide any training directly it is fortunate that there are training providers with specialist trainers who can lead and deliver trenching training courses. “We carry out training throughout the country, as well as internationally. We have a number of training centres and can also carry out some of our training at customer locations. We’re fortunate to have our own heavy plant equipment and construction training sites, providing real-world, live-site experience for our trainees.”