ii.Trenches may pose a significant health and safety hazard. Pursuant to Section 1 of Chapter 82 of the General Laws, an
excavator shall not leave any open trench unattended without first making every reasonable effort to eliminate any
recognized safety hazard that may exist as a result of leaving said open trench unattended. Excavators should consult
regulations promulgated by the Department of Public Safety in order to familiarize themselves with the recognized safety
hazards associated with excavations and open trenches and the procedures required or recommended by said department
in order to make every reasonable effort to eliminate said safety hazards which may include covering, barricading or
otherwise protecting open trenches from accidental entry.
iii.Persons engaging in any trenching operation shall familiarize themselves with the federal safety standards
promulgated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration on excavations; 29 CFR 1926.650 et.seq., entitled
iv. Excavators engaging in any trenching operation who utilize hoisting or other mechanical equipment subject to chapter
146 shall only employ individuals licensed to operate said equipment by the Department of Public Safety pursuant to
said chapter and this permit must be presented to said licensed operator before any excavation is commenced.
v. By applying for, accepting and signing this permit, the applicant hereby attests to the following: (1) that they have read
and understands the regulations promulgated by the Department of Public Safety with regard to construction related
excavations and trench safety; (2) that he has read and understands the federal safety standards promulgated by the
Occupational Safety and Health Administration on excavations: 29 CMR 1926.650 et.seq., entitled Subpart P
"Excavations" as well as any other excavation requirements established by this municipality; and (3) that he is aware of
and has, with regard to the proposed trench excavation on private property or proposed excavation of a city or town
public way that forms the basis of the permit application, complied with the requirements of sections 40-40D of chapter
vi. This permit shall be posted in plain view on the site of the trench.
For additional information please visit the Department of Public Safety's website at
Summary of Excavation and Trench Safety Regulation (520 CMR 14.00 et seq.)
This summary was prepared by the Massachusetts Department of Public Safety pursuant to M.G.L.c.82A and does not include all
requirements of the 520 CMR 14.00. To view the full regulation and M.G.L.c.82A, go to www.mass.gov/dps.
Pursuant to M.G.L.c.82,§ 1, the Department of Public Safety, jointly with the Division of Occupational Safety, drafted regulations
relative to trench safety. The regulation is codified in section 14.00 of title 520 of the Code of Massachusetts Regulations. The
regulation requires all excavators to obtain a permit prior to the excavation of a trench made for a construction-related purpose on
public or private land or rights-of-way. All municipalities must establish a local permitting authority for the purpose of issuing
permits for trenches within their municipality. Trenches on land owned or controlled by a public (state) agency requires a permit to
be issued by that public agency unless otherwise designated.
In addition to the permitting 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 3/4" 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
The regulations further provide that local permitting authorities, the Department of Public Safety, or the Division of
Occupational Safety may order an immediate shutdown of a trench in the event of a death or serious injury; the failure to obtain a
permit; or the failure to implement or effectively use adequate protections for the general public. The trench shall remain shutdown
until re-inspected and authorized to re-open provided, however, that excavators shall have the right to appeal an immediate
shutdown. Permitting authorities are further authorized to suspend or revoke a permit following a hearing. Excavators may also be
subject to administrative fines issued by the Department of Public Safety for identified violations.
Summary of 1926 CFR Subpart P -OSHA Excavation Standard
This is a worker protection standard, and is designed to protect employees who are working inside a trench. This summary was
prepared by the Massachusetts Division of Occupational Safety and not OSHA for informational purposes only and does not constitute
an official interpretation by OSHA of their regulations, and may not include all aspects of the standard.
Rev01 June 20