Ditchmen • NUCA of Florida Ditchmen - March 2020 - Page 20

NUCA LEGISLATIVE UPDATE 2020 ★ ★ ★ for-profit corporation (Sunshine 811) to administer a free-access notification system. HB 1095 amends ch. 556, F.S., to: • Expand the list of entities that may issue citations for violations of ch. 556, F.S., to include the State Fire Marshal, or its designated agent, and local fire chiefs. • Increase the maximum civil penalty (up to $2,500 plus court costs) for certain violations that involve an underground pipe or facility transporting hazardous materials regulated by the U.S. DOT Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration (PHMSA). Eighty percent of the citation goes to the entity issuing the citation, and the remainder to the clerk of the court. The following violations are subject to this enhanced civil penalty: • Failure by an excavator to provide notice and certain information to the Sunshine 811 system within specified timeframes prior to beginning excavation of demolition work; • Failure by an excavator to use increased caution when working within a tolerance zone, such as hand digging, pot holing, soft digging, vacuum methods, or other similar procedures; • Failure by an excavator to avoid excavation in an area until whichever of the following occurs first: each member operator’s underground facilities have been located and marked; the excavator has been notified that no member operator has underground facilities in the area; or the time allowed for markings has expired; • Failure by an excavator to stop excavation and demolition activities in the vicinity of an underground facility and notify the Sunshine 811 system if the marking for the facility is removed or no longer visible; and, • Failure by an excavator to immediately notify the appropriate member operator if the excavator causes contact with or damage to a pipe and to immediately call 911 to report contact or damage that causes the escape of any natural gas or other hazardous substance or material regulated by PHMSA. Require each clerk of court to submit an annual report to the State Fire Marshal listing each citation issued for a violation of ch. 556, F.S., which was filed in that county during the preceding calendar year. • Defines the term “permanent marker” and establish a criminal penalty for knowingly and willfully removing or damaging a permanent marker placed to identify the location of an underground facility. • Require excavators and underground facility operators to transmit reports of incidents that involve high-priority subsurface installations (HPSI) for investigation by the State Fire Marshal, or its designated agent, who may issue a citation and impose a civil penalty for a violation of ch. 556, F.S., it finds to be a proximate cause of the incident. Upon collection, five percent of the civil penalty must be retained by 18 DITCHMEN • MARCH 2020