AB 811, as introduced, Lowenthal. Excavations: regional notification center system: contractor certification.
Existing law generally requires any person planning to conduct an excavation to contact a regional notification center prior to excavation, and, if practical, to delineate the areas to be excavated. Existing law authorizes the Attorney General, a district attorney, or the state or a local agency that issued a permit to excavate to bring an action for the enforcement of a civil penalty against an operator or excavator who negligently or knowingly and willfully violates the requirements of these and related provisions.
This bill would provide that these requirements may also be enforced by the Contractors’ State License Board or by an action for civil damages brought in a court of competent jurisdiction by the person or entity that has sustained damages due to a violation of these requirements. The bill would provide that an operator or excavator that violates any of these requirements may be required to attend an education program, in addition to, or instead of, any other applicable penalty or enforcement mechanism. The bill would authorize specified entities, which have responsibility for the safety of operator facilities, to require operators and excavators to attend an education program. The bill would require the regional notification centers to post on their Internet Web sites statewide information provided by operators and excavators regarding violations of these requirements and damages resulting from those violations.
The Contractors’ State License Law provides for licensing and regulation of contractors by the Contractors’ State License Board. Existing law requires contractors to obtain special certifications in order to perform asbestos-related work or to engage in hazardous substance removal or remedial action, as specified.
This bill would prohibit a contractor from engaging in any excavation activity, as defined, unless the qualifier for the license had passed an approved excavation certification examination. The bill would require the board to develop a written examination, as specified.
Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: yes. State-mandated local program: no.
The people of the State of California do enact as follows:
The Legislature finds and declares all of the
3(a) Public health and safety are benefitted by safe excavation
4practices that protect underground operator infrastructure.
5(b) The law provides various rules and requirements in order
6to ensure that excavations that may impact underground operator
7infrastructure be done in the safest and most efficient manner
9(c) Violations of excavation rules and requirements may range
10from minor violations with no damage to violations that result in
11serious damage, including major property damage, service outages,
12and serious bodily injury or death.
13(d) Violators may range from homeowners or small contractors
14to major contractors, operators, and municipalities.
15(e) Construction, maintenance, and repair of public
16infrastructure, private and public buildings, and residences are an
17important part of the economy and the well being of Californians.
18(f) Enforcement of excavation rules and requirements should
19achieve the public safety goal of safe excavation practices, while
20not unduly burdening the operators and excavators involved in the
21construction, maintenance, and repair of public infrastructure,
P3 1private and public buildings, and residences with unnecessary costs
2and time delays.
3(g) The enforcement options contained in Section 4 of this act
4are intended to achieve both goals by providing the flexibility
5needed to apply the enforcement method that will best achieve
6safe excavation practices in a given case, and in the most
7cost-efficient and timely manner possible.
Section 7058.3 is added to the Business and Professions
9Code, to read:
(a) A contractor shall not engage in any excavation
11activity, as defined in subdivision (c) of Section 4216 of the
12Government Code, unless the qualifier for the license passes an
13approved excavation certification examination.
14(b) The Contractors’ State License Board shall develop a written
15examination for the certification of contractors engaged in
16excavation activities, in consultation with the Division of
17Occupational Safety and Health in the Department of Industrial
18Relations, the Northern and Southern California One Call Centers,
19and the California Common Ground Alliance.
20(c) A contractor or an employee of the contractor shall not
21excavate unless the contractor or the employee doing the excavation
22has passed the excavation certification examination.
23(d) A contractor who is not certified may bid on, or contract
24for, the excavation if the work is performed by a contractor who
25is certified pursuant to this section.
Section 4216 of the Government Code is amended to
As used in this article the following definitions apply:
29(a) “Approximate location of subsurface installations” means
30a strip of land not more than 24 inches on either side of the exterior
31surface of the subsurface installation. “Approximate location” does
32not mean depth.
39 “Excavation” means
begin delete anyend delete operation in which earth, rock,
40or other material in the ground is moved, removed, or otherwise
P4 1displaced by means of tools, equipment, or explosives in any of
2the following ways: grading, trenching, digging, ditching, drilling,
3augering, tunneling, scraping, cable or pipe plowing and driving,
4or any other way.
6 Except as provided in Section 4216.8, “excavator” means
7any person, firm, contractor or subcontractor, owner, operator,
8utility, association, corporation, partnership, business trust, public
9agency, or other entity that, with
begin delete theirend delete, or his or her, own
10employees or equipment performs any excavation.
12 “Emergency” means a sudden, unexpected occurrence,
13involving a clear and imminent danger, demanding immediate
14action to prevent or mitigate loss of, or damage to, life, health,
15property, or essential public services. “Unexpected occurrence”
16includes, but is not limited to, fires, floods, earthquakes or other
17soil or geologic movements, riots, accidents, damage to a
18subsurface installation requiring immediate repair, or sabotage.
20 “High priority subsurface installation” means high-pressure
21natural gas pipelines with normal operating pressures greater than
22415kPA gauge (60psig), petroleum pipelines, pressurized sewage
23pipelines, high-voltage electric supply lines, conductors, or cables
24that have a potential to ground of greater than or equal to 60kv, or
25hazardous materials pipelines that are potentially hazardous to
26workers or the public if damaged.
28 “Inquiry identification number” means the number that is
29provided by a regional notification center to every person who
30contacts the center pursuant to Section 4216.2. The inquiry
31identification number shall remain valid for not more than 28
32calendar days from the date of issuance, and after that date shall
33require regional notification center revalidation.
35 “Local agency” means a city, county, city and county, school
36district, or special district.
38 “Operator” means any person, corporation, partnership,
39business trust, public agency, or other entity that owns, operates,
40or maintains a subsurface installation. For purposes of Section
P5 14216.1, an “operator” does not include an owner of real property
2where subsurface facilities are exclusively located if they are used
3exclusively to furnish services on that property and the subsurface
4facilities are under the operation and control of that owner.
6 “Qualified person” means a person who completes a training
7program in accordance with the requirements of
begin delete Title 8, California Injury
8Code of Regulations, Section 1509,end delete
10Program, that meets the minimum training guidelines and practices
11of Common Ground Alliance current Best Practices.
13 “Regional notification center” means a nonprofit association
14or other organization of operators of subsurface installations that
15provides advance warning of excavations or other work close to
16existing subsurface installations, for the purpose of protecting
17those installations from damage, removal, relocation, or repair.
19 “State agency” means every state agency, department,
20division, bureau, board, or commission.
22 “Subsurface installation” means any underground pipeline,
23conduit, duct, wire, or other structure, except nonpressurized
24sewerlines, nonpressurized storm drains, or other nonpressurized
Section 4216.6 of the Government Code is amended
(a) (1) Any operator or excavator
begin delete whoend delete negligently
29violates this article is subject to a civil penalty
30in an amount not to exceed ten thousand dollars ($10,000).
31(2) Any operator or excavator
begin delete whoend delete
knowingly and willfully
begin delete any of the provisionsend delete of this article is subject
33to a civil penalty in an amount not to exceed fifty thousand dollars
35(3) Except as otherwise
begin delete specificallyend delete provided in this article, this
begin delete is not intended toend delete affect any civil remedies
37otherwise provided by law for personal injury or for property
38damage, including any damage to subsurface installations, nor
begin delete isend delete
39 this section
begin delete intended toend delete
create any new civil remedies for
40those injuries or that damage.
P6 1(4) This article
begin delete shallend delete not begin delete be construed toend delete limit any other
begin delete provision ofend delete law granting governmental immunity to state or local
3agencies or to impose any liability or duty of care not otherwise
4imposed by law upon
begin delete anyend delete state or local agency.
5(b) An action may
be brought by the Attorney General, the
6district attorney, or the local or state agency
begin delete whichend delete issued the
7permit to excavate, for the enforcement of the civil penalty pursuant
8to this section. If penalties are collected as a result of a civil suit
9brought by a state or local agency for collection of those civil
10penalties, the penalties imposed shall be paid to the general fund
11of the agency. If more than one agency is involved in enforcement,
12the penalties imposed shall be apportioned among them by the
13court in a manner that will fairly offset the relative costs incurred
begin delete state or local agencies, or both,end delete in collecting these