Flaggers keep motorists and road workers safe during temporary roadwork by following the safe work practices and training requirements from OSHA and the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD).
Get training from a qualified person on safe work practices, traffic control procedures, and communication techniques with the public. Understand the different traffic control setups and roadwork hazards. Recognize hazards and emergency situations, respond and maneuver quickly, and warn coworkers if needed. Demonstrate that you can control traffic with the correct procedures during your training.
Wear high visibility safety apparel that meets Performance Class 2 (daytime) and Class 3 (nighttime) requirements of the ANSI 107-2004 standard. The apparel background should be fluorescent orange-red or fluorescent yellow-green background. The retroreflective material can be orange, yellow, white, silver, yellow-green, or a fluorescent version of these colors, and needs to be visible at a minimum distance of 1,000 feet. Wear a hardhat, safety boots, and gloves.
Locate the flagger station far enough in front of the work zone to give motorists time to recognize construction activity, slow down, and stop. Consider road speed, visibility, and other road conditions when choosing the flagger station location. Use advance warning signs spaced and sized according to the road conditions and speed. Place stations out of the way of moving construction vehicles to avoid backing accidents. Locate stations where vehicles accidentally running through the area can have access to an escape route. At night, light the flagger station. Signs and lighting are not required in emergency situations.
Control traffic in the roadwork zone by using STOP/SLOW paddles, lights, or red flags for emergencies. Use deliberate, easy to understand hand gestures and body postures so drivers can see you, follow your instructions, and maneuver safely through the area. Where flaggers can’t see each other, use communication devices.
Remain alert at all times while on duty. Face traffic and stand off to the side on the shoulder or in the closed lane of traffic to avoid moving vehicles. Don’t enter the open roadway until traffic has stopped. Don’t multi-task while you are flagging. A split second awareness and emergency response on your part can save lives.