All excavators must obtain a permit prior to the creation of a trench made for a construction-related purpose on public or private land or rights-of-way. All municipalities must also establish a local permitting authority for the purpose of issuing these permits, with the designation of the local permitting authority left to the discretion of the individual municipalities.

In addition to the permit and local permitting authority requirements mandated by statute, the trench safety regulations require that all excavators, whether public or private, take specific precautions to protect the general public and prevent unauthorized access to unattended trenches. Accordingly, unattended trenches must be covered, barricaded or backfilled. Covers must be road plates at least ¾" thick or equivalent; barricades must be fences at least 6' high with no openings greater than 4" between vertical supports; backfilling must be sufficient to eliminate the trench. Alternatively, excavators may choose to attend trenches at all times, for instance by hiring a police detail, security guard or other attendant who will be present during times when the trench will be unattended by the excavator.

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