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T: 01793 422 040

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Essential safety tips for digging a drainage trench

Installing your own underground drainage system is a great way to save money and time. It's important, however, as with all things DIY, that you understand how to do the job safely. If you're considering digging your own underground drainage trench, bear these top tips in mind.

Remember your legal requirements

If your trench is more than 4ft (1200mm) deep then you're legally required to properly shore it up. This prevents it from collapsing and potentially injuring you. Consider during the planning stage how far you intend to dig, then keep regular tabs when you're actually digging to make sure you're not going too deep. Many people forget their legal obligations and just reach straight for the shovel. Don't be one of them.

Don't dig alone

It can be tempting to just jump in on your own and get the job done. It's never a good idea, however, to dig without at least one other person present. And, if possible, tell someone else what you're doing and when you intend to be finished. You might not think it dangerous, but digging puts your body under a lot of strain. Accidents can happen, even in your own back garden, so don't take any chances.

Properly fence off your trench

This is especially important if you share your home with anyone else, or if you have any pets. You must clearly mark the edges of the trench you've dug, to give a clear warning to anyone who might be walking near. It's tempting to think a big hole in the ground is obvious and that people will avoid it. Take into account, however, that people might be distracted or unobservant, and plan accordingly.

Don't dig in bad weather

If you want to get the job done fast, you might be tempted to dig even if it's raining. This is a terrible idea because you're making a very unsafe working environment. It's so much easier to slip and lose your footing when the soil has turned to mud, dramatically increasing the chance of injuring yourself. There'll also be water flowing through your trench, potentially ruining it.

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