The Difference Between Trenching and Excavating

July 9, 2018 5:13 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Excavating and trenching are two of the most common means of moving (and removing) earth to create large manmade holes in the ground. According to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), what defines the difference between the two is the type of shape the hole takes on, and its overall depth.

Of course, any type of trenching or excavating job can be highly dangerous, especially if you do not have the proper equipment or training to complete the project, so only professionals should do that type of work to ensure it’s completed safely and effectively.

Here is some additional information from a utility contractor about the differences between excavating and trenching in Roseville, CA.

OSHA’s definition

OSHA defines an excavation specifically as a hole or cavity in the ground created by human action with the intent of removing earth from the surface. The excavation can be of any shape or size.

A trench, however, is a specific type of excavation that features a much more narrow surface hole that goes deeper than it is wide (typically less than 15 feet wide). This means a trench is always an excavation, but an excavation is not necessarily a trench (you can think of this the way you’d think about the distinction between squares and rectangles).

The term “trench” usually refers to the types of narrow cavities used when digging out areas for underground utility lines, foundation footings and plumbing infrastructure.

Tools used

Beyond the width and depth of trenches versus general excavations, you might also be able to determine whether a given excavation is a trenching job by the types of tools used to dig out the section of earth.

Smaller excavations and trenches can be completed with hand tools, such as shovels and hoes that have long, narrow blades. But there are special types of equipment for larger trenches that you won’t find at just any excavation job. Power trenchers are available in both walk-behind and ride-on models, with the ride-on models generating even more power in their digging, resulting in deeper, larger holes.

Excavation jobs, again, can use standard shovels and other digging tools if it’s going to be a relatively small project. However, larger jobs will often require the use of tractor-mounted backhoes that have dirt-scooping buckets at the end of articulated booms. When large-scale excavation occurs, self-propelled crawler machines that have large buckets capable of moving a lot of earth at once are also frequently used. These machines tend to have swiveling and/or telescoping booms.

While a trenching job might start out with the use of some of these tools described for excavation purposes, they will eventually make use of trenching-specific equipment to complete the holes being dug out from underground.

Interested in learning more about excavating versus trenching in Roseville, CA and when each type of job is most frequently used? Reach out to Es7 Comm-2 U, Inc. today. Contact one of our utility contractors for more information, and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you have for us.

Categorised in:

This post was written by Writer

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *