OSHA Shoring Regulations

By Lisa Chinn
Shoring operations provide support to keep soil on the edges of trenches from moving.

Tiefbau image by Reiner Wellmann from Fotolia.com

OSHA regulations protect workers performing shoring, which the Occupational Safety and Health Administration defines as work to build support systems for trenches to prevent roads, dirt, foundations and underground utilities from moving. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is a part of the U.S. Department of Labor that formulates workplace regulations designed to provide safe and healthy work conditions for employees.

Installation Direction

OSHA shoring regulations state that workers must install shoring from the top down and remove it from the bottom up.

Timber Shoring Size and Spacing Requirements

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration produces a table that outlines the spacing and amount of timber braces that different-sized trenches require when workers install timber shoring. Employers of workers installing timber shoring should check these requirements and make sure they are followed so that the shoring can safely and adequately support the trench. When cross-braces are vertically spaced 4 feet apart, the top cross-brace should be 2 feet or less from the top of the trench. When cross-braces are vertically spaced 5 feet apart, the highest cross-brace should be 2.5 feet or less from the top of the trench.

Hydraulic Shoring Checks

Hydraulic shoring, which uses hydraulic pressure and aluminum sheets to keep trenches in place, should have checks at least once per work shift, according to OSHA regulations. These checks should look for leaky hoses, leaky cylinders, broken connections and other damaged or broken parts.

Hydraulic Shoring Spacing

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration also produces a table that outlines safe spacing for hydraulic shoring. Depending on the soil type, employers must follow spacing regulations regarding the width and depth of the trench as well as the maximum vertical and horizontal spacing allowed for hydraulic cylinders.

Hydraulic Cylinder Sizes

According to OSHA shoring regulations, 3-inch hydraulic cylinders used in hydraulic shoring should have inside diameters of at least 3 inches and be able to support loads of at least 30,000 pounds of axial compression.

About the Author

Lisa Chinn developed her research skills while working at a research university library. She writes for numerous publications, specializing in gardening, home care, wellness, copywriting, style and travel. Chinn also designs marketing materials, holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology and is working toward a PhD in cognitive neuroscience.

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