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The Florida Statutes

The 2023 Florida Statutes (including Special Session C)

Chapter 556
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F.S. 556.116
556.116 High-priority subsurface installations; special procedures.
(1) When an excavator proposes to excavate or demolish within 15 feet of the horizontal route of an underground facility that has been identified as a high-priority subsurface installation by the operator of the facility, the operator shall, in addition to identifying the horizontal route of its facility as set forth in s. 556.105(5)(a) and (b), and within the time period set forth in s. 556.105(9)(a) for a positive response, notify the excavator that the facility is a high-priority subsurface installation. If the member operator provides such timely notice of the existence of a high-priority subsurface installation, an excavator shall notify the operator of the planned excavation start date and time before beginning excavation. If the member operator does not provide timely notice, the excavator may proceed, after waiting the prescribed time period set forth in s. 556.105(9)(a), to excavate without notifying the member operator of the excavation start date and time. The exemptions stated in s. 556.108 apply to the notification requirements in this subsection.
(2)(a) An alleged commission of an infraction listed in s. 556.107(1) which results in an incident must be reported to the system and the State Fire Marshal by a member operator or an excavator within 24 hours after learning of the alleged occurrence of an incident.
(b) Upon receipt of an allegation that an incident has occurred, the member operator or excavator shall transmit an incident report to the State Fire Marshal, who shall conduct an investigation to determine whether an incident has occurred, and, if so, whether a violation of s. 556.107(1)(a) was a proximate cause of the incident. The State Fire Marshal may authorize his or her agents, as provided in ss. 633.114, 633.116, and 633.118, to conduct investigations of incidents.
(c) The State Fire Marshal or his or her agents as provided in ss. 633.114, 633.116, and 633.118 may issue a citation and impose a civil penalty against a violator in an amount not to exceed $50,000 if the person violated a provision of s. 556.107(1)(a) and that violation was a proximate cause of the incident. However, if a state agency or political subdivision caused the incident, the state agency or political subdivision may not be fined in an amount in excess of $10,000.
(d) The civil penalty imposed under this subsection is in addition to any amount payable as a result of a citation relating to the incident under s. 556.107(1)(a).
(e) If an additional civil penalty is imposed by the State Fire Marshal or his or her agents, 5 percent of the civil penalty must be retained by the clerk to cover administrative costs, and the remainder of the civil penalty must be distributed equally between the system and the State Fire Marshal. The portion of the civil penalty distributed to the system must be used exclusively to fund damage-prevention education. The portion of the civil penalty distributed to the State Fire Marshal must be used exclusively to fund programs created within the State Fire Marshal’s office that provide need-based financial assistance to help fire departments, including volunteer fire departments, procure equipment, supplies, and educational training designed to mitigate firefighter exposure to hazardous, cancer-causing chemicals.
(f) Any excavator or member operator who commits a noncriminal infraction under paragraph (2)(c) must be provided a written warning at the time a citation is issued stating that any person who willfully fails to properly respond to a citation will be charged, in addition to the citation, with the offense of failing to respond to the citation and, if convicted, commits a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
(g) This section does not change the basis for civil liability. The findings and results of an investigation under this section may not be used as evidence of liability in any civil action.
History.s. 10, ch. 2010-100; s. 126, ch. 2013-18; s. 4, ch. 2020-137.