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General Laws

Section 1. An excavator shall not leave an open trench unattended without first making reasonable effort to eliminate any recognized safety hazard that may exist as a result of leaving the open trench unattended. The commissioner of public safety, in conjunction with the director of labor and workforce development, or his designee, shall promulgate rules and regulations governing all construction related excavations and trench safety. The rules and regulations shall include, but not be limited to, a description of recognized safety hazards that may exist as a result of leaving open trenches or excavations unattended, a description of the procedures required or recommended by the department to eliminate safety hazards which may include covering, barricading or otherwise protecting open trenches from accidental entry, and a penalty structure for each violation of the proposed rules and regulations to be imposed by the department empowered with ensuring compliance with the rules and regulations. This penalty structure shall include the imposition of a fine for each violation of the regulations promulgated pursuant to this section. Any such fines collected by the department of public safety or the department of labor and workforce development shall be available for expenditure, without further appropriation, by those departments in an amount not to exceed $100,000 during each fiscal year for the sole purpose of providing construction safety training for licensed operators of hoisting equipment, police department officials, fire department officials and building officials. Those departments may also charge a reasonable fee to help defray the costs associated with said training. Any monies collected from the imposition of these fines in excess of $100,000 shall be transmitted monthly by those departments to the state treasurer who shall then deposit the excess funds into the General Fund. The department of public safety, in conjunction with the department of labor and workforce development, shall file a report detailing the amount of fines imposed, collected and expended pursuant to this section with the house and senate committees on ways and means and with the joint committee on public safety not later than August 15 of each year. The rules and regulations shall not be effective until the department of public safety has received a formal determination from the United States Secretary of Labor that the proposed rules or regulations do not seek to assume responsibility for development and enforcement therein of occupational safety and health standards relating to any occupational safety or health issue with respect to which a federal standard has already been promulgated under 29 U.S.C. section 667 or until the rules and regulations are approved by the United States Secretary of Labor as a state plan for the development of the standards and their enforcement pursuant to 29 U.S.C. section 667(c).

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