Summary Statement

A manual that helps a trainer provide information on a variety of roadway hazards, such as electrical, falls, slips and trips and ergonomics. Part of a collection. Click on the 'collection' button to access the other items.

This document is one in a program produced under an OSHA grant by a consortium of the Laborers' Health and Safety Fund N.A, the International Union of Operating Engineers, the American Road and Transportation Builders Assn, and the National Asphalt Pavement Assn. All of the documents from this set that are on eLCOSH can be found by clicking on Job Site, Heavy construction, and scrolling to the Street & highway heading. Or to download a complete version of the computerized program, go to

What Is the Main Hazard of Flagging?

Motorists kill about 20 flaggers each year. Many more are injured. Flagging can be dangerous:
  • high speed traffic,
  • angry or aggressive drivers, and
  • after seeing flagger, a motorist going 60 mph needs almost 400 feet to stop.
Under the best road conditions, a motorist going 60 miles per hour needs 400 feet to stop. With wet road conditions, on gravel roads, and under other less than ideal conditions, motorists need many times that distance to stop.

Fig. FS-1B.
Fig. FS-1B. At 60 mph, a motorist needs 400 feet to stop on dry pavement.

Fig. FS-1A
Fig. FS-1A. Motorists kill about 20 flaggers each year.


Ask trainees to name the biggest hazard for flaggers.

Ask trainees: How long would it take you to get out of the way if you saw a speeding car?

CD DEMO: Stopping DistancesIf you are using the CD, you can demonstrate various stopping distances like this:

At the bottom of the image of STOPPING DISTANCE DRY PAVEMENT is a green bar that says "Click Here to Look at Stopping Distances."
-Clicking this bar takes you to a separate screen. Here you must select a speed and a road condition from the two pull-down lists.
-Now click the START button.
-After the car starts, click the BRAKE button to see the stopping distance for that combination of speed and road condition.
-To see stopping distances for other speeds and distances, just make new selections and repeat.

How Can We Protect Ourselves?

Be visible and wear protective equipment. Wear high visibility clothing:
  • orange, yellow, or green vest,
  • retro-reflective vest at night.
Fig. FS-2A
Fig. FS-2A. Vests come in 3 classes, depending on the traffic conditions surrounding the work zone. Vests are orange, yellow, or green.

Wear protective equipment:
  • hard hat,
  • long-sleeved shirt and pants, and
  • appropriate clothes for expected weather (rain gear, warm coat).
If you have questions about what clothing to wear or what protective equipment is required, ask your supervisor.

Fig. FS-2B
Fig. FS-2B. For flagging in cold or wet weather, wear retro-reflective overcoat or rain gear.


Flaggers should be trained and certified.

Describe the 3 classes of vests and what each is used for, as found on pages 8 and 9 in the Runover/Backover module.

If possible, safety vests and clothing should contrast with traffic control devices to make it easier for motorists to see a flagger.

In addition to wearing proper gear, flaggers must stay alert and out of harm's way. Keep your guard up:
  • Stand alone on the shoulder in clear view.
  • Plan an escape route for emergencies.
  • Stay in communication with other traffic control workers.
  • Stay alert and keep focused on work.
  • Make sure your hand signals don't conflict with traffic signals.
  • Treat motorists with respect and courtesy. Don't pick fights or respond to anger. Notify law enforcement when motorists do not obey flaggers.

Fig. FS-3A.
Fig. FS-3A. Keep your guard up. Stand alone on the shoulder in clear view. Plan an escape route.

Fig. FS-3B.
Fig. FS-3B. Make sure your hand signals don't conflict with traffic signals.

Fig. FS-3C
Fig. FS-3C. Treat motorists with respect and courtesy.


Use an air horn or cones equipped with air horns to warn co-workers of an incursion.

NOTE: The new remote control flagger stations provide additional protection for flaggers.

What Should Flaggers Avoid?

Flaggers must avoid dangerous behavior. Here are some flagging DON'TS:
  • Don't stand where you can be crushed.
  • Don't stand in the shade over the crest of a hill or around a sharp curve.
  • Don't leave your position until properly relieved.
  • Don't stand near equipment.
  • Don't stand in a group.
  • Don't make unneeded conversation.
  • Don't read or daydream on duty.
  • Don't listen to music or use ear phones.
  • Don't turn your back to the traffic.
Fig. FS-4.
Fig. FS-4. Flaggers must avoid dangerous behavior.

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