A flagger in a yellow-green reflective vest holds a stop/slow sign while directing traffic on a suburban road.

What Are OSHA’s Flagger Requirements?

In 1924, the American Association of State Highway Officials created a report detailing various caution signs across the country. That report would become part of the very first traffic guide.

The Manual on Uniform Traffic Devices (MUTCD) was first published in 1935. Since then, it has gone through many editions. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) refers to the latest MUTCD for road work safety regulations.

What are OSHA’s regulations for flaggers?

Learn more about flagger responsibilities and OSHA safety regulations.

Characteristics of a Flagger

Do you want to be a traffic control flagger? Flagging requires you to stay focused and alert. Along with these mental abilities, good eyesight and hearing are necessary for a flagger to work safely around traffic and construction.

On top of everything, flaggers must be responsible. You should eliminate all distractions while working, including your phone or music player. As a flagger, you are responsible for yourself, your fellow workers, and drivers passing through the work zone.

OSHA Flagger Training

Every flagger must receive training before their first day on the job. The extent of certification you need to become a flagger varies by state. For your state’s requirements, visit the American Traffic Safety Services Association’s (ATSSA) list of state requirements. 

In flagger training courses, you learn procedures for directing traffic, using appropriate signage, and informing fellow workers of hazards. If you choose to get your flagger certification, you’ll have to pass a test and complete any requirements outlined by your state.

Seated and online flagger courses are available. Many programs, like the ATSSA, offer OSHA-approved flagger training courses. Once you are certified, you’ll receive a traffic control flagger card that’s good for four years.

Read more about getting your flagger certification here.

Flagger Dress Code

As a flagger, you need to be visible to drivers from a distance. What you wear should distinguish you from the lights of machinery and cars.

OSHA recommends you remain visible at a minimum distance of 1,000 feet. During the day, flaggers should wear bright yellow, orange, or green clothing. The clothing should be performance class 2 or 3. Retroreflective clothing should be worn at night.

Signaling to Traffic

Flaggers should use octagonal stop/slow paddles to signal to traffic. Personnel may use red flags to direct traffic in emergency situations or when working on low-volume roads.   

Signaling can be made easier with automated flagger assistance devices (AFADs). These devices use large, highly visible red/yellow lights or stop/slow signs to direct traffic. Automated flaggers are not only easier for drivers to see, but they also improve flagger safety. Since you control AFADs with a remote, human flaggers can stand at a distance or sit inside a vehicle near the area.

Flagging Stations

At your work zone, you may be flagging or controlling an AFAD. Either way, you should set up your designated flagger station ahead of the work zone.

Standing alone at your flagger station reduces driver confusion. When people congregate around a flagger, it makes the flagger less visible to drivers. If you are flagging, you should stand on the side of the road, apart from others in the work zone.

Flagging stations can be:

  • On the shoulder of the road (adjacent to the traffic controlled)
  • Inside of a barricaded lane
  • In the lane ONLY when traffic is stopped

Similar to human flaggers, you should place automated flaggers on the shoulder of the road. AFADs with gate arms must not intrude into the adjacent lane.

Do you want to make your work zones safer and more efficient?

Certified flaggers can control AFADs from a safe space. IntelliStrobe’s durable automated flaggers are easy to maneuver in and around work zones.

Contact IntelliStrobe today to get started using AFADs.

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