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Flagging Best Practices: Ensuring Safety and Efficiency on the Road

Flaggers play a critical role in ensuring the safety of both workers and drivers in construction zones. They are responsible for directing traffic, communicating with drivers, and managing traffic flow to minimize delays and prevent accidents. However, flagging can be dangerous if proper safety measures are not followed. In this blog post, we will share some best practices and safety tips for flaggers to stay safe on the job and effectively manage traffic flow.

Wear the Proper Safety Gear

Wearing the right equipment is crucial for traffic flaggers to ensure their safety on the job. The most critical gear includes a high-visibility vest, hard hat, gloves, and sturdy footwear.

The high-visibility vest is essential for ensuring drivers see flaggers quickly, especially in low-light conditions or when working near traffic. The vest helps drivers identify flaggers from a distance and gives them ample time to react to signals.

A hard hat is another critical piece of equipment that protects flaggers from head injuries in case of falling objects or other hazards. It provides a layer of protection against potential impacts, ensuring the safety of flaggers in potentially hazardous environments.

Gloves and sturdy footwear are also essential for flaggers to protect their hands and feet from injuries. Gloves provide protection when handling equipment or materials, while sturdy footwear offers traction and support, reducing the risk of slips, trips, and falls.

By wearing the right equipment, flaggers can significantly reduce their risk of injury and ensure their safety while performing their duties on the road.

Learn How to Use the Equipment

In addition to wearing the proper safety gear, flaggers should know how to utilize the right equipment to manage traffic flow. This includes understanding how to use a stop/slow paddle by memorizing all signals and procedures needed to communicate with drivers and control traffic flow. 

It’s also important to know the role of a whistle. It’s used to get the attention of drivers when necessary and should be easy to access instantly at all times.  

A flashlight is a critical tool for safe and effective night flagging. After sundown, proper use of the flashlight increases the ability of drivers to see the flagger and follow their directions.

Position Yourself Properly

When flagging, it’s vital to position yourself in a way that maximizes your visibility to drivers. Stand in a conspicuous location where drivers can see you from a distance and always face oncoming traffic. Avoid standing in blind spots, and remember that even small obstacles could obstruct your view of approaching vehicles.

It’s also important to be aware of your surroundings and look for an escape route in case of emergency. When choosing a spot or position, pick one that offers quick escape in case a distracted driver becomes dangerous.

Communicate Clearly

Clear communication is essential for traffic flaggers to manage traffic flow and ensure safety on the road effectively. Using clear, simple hand signals helps drivers understand what is expected of them, reducing the risk of confusion and accidents. Making eye contact whenever possible ensures drivers pay attention to the flagger’s signals and are prepared to follow them.

A whistle can also be a valuable tool for getting the attention of drivers, especially in noisy environments. However, it is essential to use the whistle judiciously and avoid excessive use, as it can be distracting and lead to confusion among drivers.

By prioritizing clear communication, traffic flaggers can help create a safer and more efficient work environment, ensuring that traffic flows smoothly and accidents are minimized.

Stay Alert

Staying alert is a key safety precaution for traffic flaggers. Start by getting a good night’s sleep before coming to work. This ensures you are well-rested before your shift to maintain alertness throughout the day.

Proper hydration and nutrition can help maintain energy levels and mental acuity, so keep a water bottle handy and eat regularly. 

Short breaks can also help prevent fatigue and maintain alertness. One way to stay alert is to actively scan the environment for potential hazards. When possible, rotate positions with other flaggers throughout the day to avoid monotony and maintain focus.

Work as a Team

Working as a team is a crucial component of ensuring the safety and efficiency of traffic management operations. That’s why communication and coordination are essential to manage traffic flow and prevent accidents. Teamwork is a great way to ensure traffic is directed safely around work zones, minimizing delays and improving overall safety. 

By actively watching out for each other’s safety, team members prevent accidents and injuries, creating a safer work environment for everyone. When everyone is pitching in and coordinating duties, flaggers can achieve their goal of safely managing traffic flow in construction zones.

Put Safety First

Following safety procedures and guidelines is crucial for ensuring the safety of both flaggers and traffic in any construction zone. Summit’s procedures are designed to minimize risks and prevent accidents. That’s why it’s so important for every flagger to attend our mandatory training sessions to stay informed about the latest safety protocols and practices.

Be Safe and Stay Safe

Traffic flaggers can experience dangerous situations in almost any work zone. That’s why it’s so important to train, know your equipment, use the right gear, position yourself safely, communicate, stay alert, work as a team, and always put safety first. 

Flaggers can help ensure their own safety and the safety of others while effectively managing traffic flow in construction zones. By following these guidelines and staying up-to-dateup to date on training, Summit traffic flaggers create and maintain a safer work environment for themselves and others.