Certain activities or safety procedures at a construction site require design, inspection or supervision by a Competent Person. The OSHA Construction Standard defines a competent person as someone who is:
Capable of identifying existing and predictable hazards in the surroundings, or working conditions which are unsanitary, hazardous, or dangerous to employees, and who has authorization to take prompt corrective measures to eliminate them. Trenching and excavation work is dependent on these specialized employees because its highly technical nature, as well as its inherent hazards, require a greater level of training and experience than a normal worker would possess. The items below specify the trenching and excavation activities where a competent person is necessary. Trenching and Shoring course is designed to give supervisors, inspectors, site managers, and workers, the ability to identify existing and predictable hazards in the surroundings of an open trench. The trainee will learn of the working conditions that are hazardous and dangerous to those who enter open trenches. In order to be a “Competent Person”, one must have had specific training in, and be knowledgeable about; soils analysis, the use of protective systems, and the requirements of state and federal standards.