The Excavation and Trench Safety Regulations (520 CMR 14.00) have been amended.

Highlights of the changes are as follows:

  • Several definitions in section 14.02 have been amended. These changes include:
    • The definition of "public agency" specifically excludes cities and towns.
    • The term "general public" has been amended to include all people not engaged in construction activities at the trench. Consequently, any person engaged in construction activities at the trench is not a member of the general public.
    • The term "unattended trench" has been amended to mean that an "unattended trench" is when all people engaged in the construction activities at the trench are not present. Therefore, the trench will be attended if any individual engaged in construction activities is present at the trench.
  • A hoisting license number and the name of a competent person on the permit application are no longer required.
  • 520 CMR 14.03(2)(c) was amended to clarify that trenches created on land owned or controlled by a Public Agency should be permitted by that Public Agency which owns or controls the property, and not the city or town where the trench is located.
  • After a trench site has been shut down, re-inspection of the site must occur within two (2) business days of notification to the permitting authority that the repairs/corrections have been made.
  • The regulations now incorporate the statutory requirement that gas, water, telephone and community antenna companies that pay fees for permits to excavate a public way are exempt from paying a trench permit fee for the same excavation. See 520 CMR 14.03(6).
  • Permitting authorities are authorized to issue a single permit for multiple trenches dug during one project. See 520 CMR 14.03(2).
  • The permit must be shown to the hoisting operator in accordance with M.G.L. c. 82A, § 3(4).
  • Temporary fencing requirements have been amended by allowing openings greater than 4 inches to be protected by certain guards. See 520 CMR 14.04(2)(b)(5).


This is not a complete list of the changes. To view the regulations please click 520 CMR 14.00 pdf format of    520_cmr_14_trench.pdf  (364kb).