Construction workers in Oklahoma will likely all be exposed to the hazards associated with excavations, but not all of them realize that they are entitled to refuse to enter unprotected trenches. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, every excavation has the potential to collapse or cave-in. Safety authorities are putting additional emphasis on trenching hazards and steps required to prevent incidents of workplace injury.
Due to the number of trench-related injuries and deaths nationwide, Compliance and Safety and Health Officers (CSHOs) have been instructed to inspect any open trenches they come across in their day-to-day travels or during inspections. This is regardless of whether any safety violations were readily evident. According to OSHA standards, before the start of work every day, the protective systems in every trench must be inspected by a competent person because changing conditions could compromise the stability of trench walls overnight.