Flagger Safety 101
In 2017, 132 workers died in roadway work zone crashes, according to WorkZoneSafety.org.
Flaggers – workers who help control the flow of traffic in work zones – are at particular risk of injury or death. According to the Center for Construction Research and Training, also known as CPWR, flaggers’ safety risks include motorists driving at high speeds and aggressive drivers.
Although working as a flagger is dangerous, workers can take steps to make sure they are seen by drivers. CPWR notes that flaggers should wear high-visibility clothing. If working at night, add a reflective vest. Workers also should wear long-sleeved shirts and pants, a hard hat, and other clothing designed for adverse weather.
In addition, according to CPWR, flaggers should follow some do’s and don’ts when working.
- Pay attention to the surrounding conditions.
- Have an escape route plan in case of an emergency.
- Stay in communication with other flaggers.
- Stand within a lane of open traffic.
- Use hand signals that conflict with traffic signals.
- React to aggressive drivers.
- Stand in the shade, around a sharp curve or over the crest of a hill.
- Listen to music or use earphones.
- Turn your back to traffic.