The trenching and excavation guidelines established by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration were established to prevent worker injuries in Oklahoma and the rest of the country from two of the most hazardous construction operations. The guidelines aim to prevent the occurrence of cave-ins, which has been identified as the primary risk associated with trenching and excavation and most likely to result in a worker fatality. The regulations are also intended to prevent incidents involving mobile equipment, falls, falling loads and dangerous atmospheres.
Different types of protective systems are used to provide safety. Workers can be protected with shielding by using trench supports, such as boxes, to stop soil cave-ins. Sloping, or carving the trench wall at an angle that is slanted away from the excavation, can be implemented. Shoring can be applied through the installation of aluminum hydraulic supports to stop soil movement.