Eliminating Harm through Rock Wheel Trencher

The traditional method of saw cutting trenches can be time consuming and expose workers to risks such as noise and flying debris as well as  fatigue if carrying out the task over prolonged periods of night time closures.

In order to minimise these risks, athe contractor trialed the use of a rock wheel trencher on their projecy and it significantly improved the time taken to carry out the task and there was far less exposure of risks to site operatives.

The traditional method of undertaking this work would be to saw cut the trenches across the carriageway, break them out using an excavator and breaker attachment, excavate the trench to the required depth and then install ducts and reinstate. This method was time consuming with each individual gang usually able to complete one crossing across 2-3 lanes in one night. The team sourced the use of a specialist trenching machine from a supply chain partner which is able to dig trenches from 300-910mm in width and 3.3m in depth.

The use of the rock wheel significantly reduces the risk of people and plant interface. Adopting this new method of road crossing installation eliminates the need for two operatives using a floor saw, as well as an excavator operator and banksman. An engineer would set out the road crossing position and the trencher would track to that location with the operator securely in the cab and begin the works.

Key benefits included: 5,750+ exposure hours saved, 19 nightshift road closures saved (overall 66% reduction in programme), and cost in savings too. The use of the rock wheel trencher has had clear, positive impacts on the project and the safety of the workforce.

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Entry submitted by Costain

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