Although trenching and excavating both refer to excavation services that involve removing earth from the ground to create wide-open holes, there is a difference between the two.
It is important to understand the difference so that you will not suffer any miscommunication between your company and the earthmoving contractors that you will be working with. The consequences may be irreversible, but even if they can be remedied, they would be costly. Having a good understanding of the terms and how these services work will help you ensure that your project moves along smoothly.
In this article, we will cover the differences between trenching and excavating, and we will also review safety protocols involved in projects like these.
Excavating vs. Trenching
Because excavating and trenching both involve creating open holes on the ground, it can be easy to confuse one for the other. However, the difference is quite simple.
Excavating refers to the activity of removing earth from the ground to create a cavity. An excavation can be of any size or shape, and it can be used for a range of purposes. A trench, on the other hand, is more specific – it is a type of excavation that is narrow and deeper than the usual excavated hole. A trench is usually only less than 15 feet wide.
This, therefore, means that a trench is always an excavation, but not all excavations are trenches. When installing underground utility lines, pipes, or foundation footings, excavation services providers usually recommend for trenches to be created, as trenches are safer and more effective at preparing these underground utility lines.
Tools and machinery involved
For either of these activities, heavy machinery, such as earthmovers, is required. Contractors who perform excavation work can provide their own earthmovers and excavators. So, if you are planning on working with contractors, you would not have to worry too much about where to source heavy equipment.
However, if you plan on doing a DIY excavation project at home, you might need to rent out earthmovers. Make sure to use one that fits your space well. Homeowners usually prefer smaller ones such as 2-tonne excavators as this is can fit in a standard-sized backyard but is also powerful enough to remove earth from the ground efficiently.
Other tools involved include shovels and hoes with long and narrow blades, which are used to dig smaller trenches. Small-scale excavation projects may also be carried out using standard shovels and other hand digging tools. If you are simply looking to do a bit of landscaping or doing minor installations such as a retaining wall, you can get the job done using tools like these.
Whether you plan on doing an excavation or a trenching project, your priority must be your safety and that of your workers who will be in the area for the duration of the project (family members, pedestrians, etc.) Here are the safety tips that might be useful for your next project:
Study the soil thoroughly
This may go without saying, but plenty of those who are inexperienced in trenching and excavation are unaware that they have to study the soil thoroughly. Not all soil types are the same and they may react differently to force. Moreover, they also react differently to environmental conditions.
You have to study the soil to know how to handle the project in a way that does not put anyone at risk for falling if the earth becomes more unstable than expected. Additionally, you must check weather conditions before working so you can prepare for any environmental threats to your safety.
You should also conduct atmosphere tests in the trench to make sure workers do not work in an area with oxygen levels that are too low or where the air contains harmful gases.
Inspect your trench or excavation carefully
You have to check your trench or excavation carefully before starting work. Watch out for any loose materials or pieces of equipment: these can easily fall into the hole and injure your workers.
You also have to make sure that heavy equipment is placed far away from the trench when it is not in use. It may only take one engine malfunction to cause a machine to drive into the open hole. Accidents, injuries, and fatalities are fully avoidable if much care and attention are exercised.
Additionally, you should install protective systems such as benching, sloping, shoring, and shielding during your project.
Check for the location of underground utilities
Before you start digging, you have to check for the location of underground utilities. Professional excavation services should include this in their services. The reason why this is important is that you might be exposed to toxic elements when you accidentally break open an underground pipe. Not only will this be harmful to the health of the people working on-site, but this also causes land and air pollution, which could become harmful to the whole community.
Make sure everyone is wearing proper safety gear
Safety gear or personal protective equipment is extremely important for obvious reasons. But there are times when workers or experienced DIY excavators do away with it because they feel they are so used to the job that they can already carry out a task perfectly and end the day in one piece. Again, accidents are avoidable with discipline, so make sure to implement this strictly. If you are managing a project, make sure you can provide safety gears to workers.
Education goes a long way
Everyone working in the project must be on the same page when it comes to safety. Invest in training programs, refresher courses, and other relevant education strategies so that everyone on your team has the same attitude about safety.
Work with Blackwood Earthmoving today
Blackwood Earthmoving is your trusted earthmoving contractors. Whether you need excavation services, earthmovers, and excavators for your next project, we are here to help. Call us at 0412 815 978 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also leave us a message through our online contact form.