FLAGGER SAFETY

Flaggers are critical to work zone safety. Their position on the front lines requires them to possess a specific skill set.

FLAGGER SAFETY DOs & DON’Ts

  • Wear ANSI Class 2 or Class 3 high visibility apparel.
  • Always be visible to traffic.
  • Follow the traffic control plan.
  • Always use approved stop/slow paddles.
  • Communicate specific instructions to motorists.
  • Respond in an emergency.
  • Allow time and distance for drivers to react.
  • Coordinate with other flaggers.
  • Maintain good approach sight distance.
  • Never stand in a moving traffic lane.
  • Always have an escape route.
  • Remove signs if you’re not flagging.
  • Stand alone on the shoulder in clear view.
  • Never stand in the open traffic lane.
  • Warn others in a work zone of dangerous situations.
  • Allow reaction distance from signs – the flagger station should be the same distance in advance of the work zone as the buffer length.
  • Never turn your back on traffic.
  • Do not stand where you can be struck by construction equipment.
  • Do not stand in the shade, over the crest of a hill or around a sharp curve where you can’t be seen.
  • Do not use your cell phone.
  • Do not listen to music or use earphones.
  • Do not leave your position until you are properly relieved.

Download a printable PDF and recording form here.

Members can download the audio version of this toolbox talk soon.

Tips for Work Zone Safety

Originally published on 04/18/2018

Every day, highway, heavy and utility construction workers are exposed to traffic hazards as part of their daily work routine. Some of the hazards include moving construction vehicles, noise from motors and vehicles, limited visibility, night work and limited lighting, close proximity to traffic, inclement weather and slips, trips and falls.

Although work zone hazards vary, and there are no “one size fits all” procedures, here are a few tips that can be followed to help workers protect themselves in works zones.

When working in traffic, be sure to wear the required personal protective equipment such as:

  • Reflective, high-visibility vests or clothing
  • Hard hats
  • Eye protection
  • Protective footwear
  • Hearing protection

To help the motorist while protecting construction workers:

  • Have a traffic control plan and periodically review it to see if it needs to be changed. Set the work zone to avoid unclear lane markings and lane confusion.
  • Use flaggers who have been trained to use standard traffic control devices and signals. Be sure the flaggers are readily visible to traffic.
  • Observe traffic conditions to determine the volume condition of the work zone.
  • Avoid standing or parking in places that block road signage.
  • Remove construction debris that can become a hazard for motorists as well as construction workers.
  • Remove worn, old, non-reflective traffic control devices from service.
  • Strategically use vehicles and equipment as barriers between traffic and workers when other positive protections are not available.
  • Use appropriate and sufficient lighting for night work areas.

Other tips to help keep the work zone safe include:

  • Avoid complacency on the job.
  • Get plenty of rest, so you will be alert while working.
  • Be sure all underground and overhead utilities are located and marked.
  • Minimize the amount of time employees need to be exposed to traffic. Get in, get done and get out.
  • Limit the amount of personnel and equipment in the work zone to only those that are necessary for the job at hand.
  • Do not assume that equipment operators can see you. Make eye contact with the operator before crossing in front of or behind them.
  • Create out of bounds areas that are off limits to employees due to the traffic hazard.
  • Ensure that back up alarms on vehicles are functioning properly.
  • Do not run through moving traffic or machines.
  • Provide an emergency egress/escape route in case of emergency, and make sure employees know what it is.
  • Stay hydrated. Construction workers are susceptible to overexertion and heat-related illnesses. Drink plenty of water or liquids high in electrolytes like sports drinks or coconut water.

Follow these tips, and do all you can to ensure your safety and the safety of your co-workers.

Download a recording form here.

Emergency Vehicles in Work Areas

Originally published Aug. 12, 2015

Workers learn to direct traffic in work zones by participating in flagger training programs and consulting the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices, which extensively cover signs, signals and the proper techniques for starting and stopping traffic. But there is rarely a discussion on what to do if an emergency vehicle needs to pass through your work zone.

Emergencies occur when we least expect them, and emergency vehicles seem to appear out of nowhere – moving quickly with lights flashing and sirens blaring. The sense of urgency associated with emergency vehicles can undermine flagger or traffic control manager confidence, and can possibly cause them to react rather than think before responding. These unplanned actions can cause accidents or unnecessary delays for emergency responders.

Before work begins, learn the locations of hospitals, fire and police stations in the vicinity of your work zone. If your work zone is on a road with direct access to first responders, emergency vehicles will inevitably drive through it. Here are some steps you can take when emergency vehicles travel through your work zone:

  • If you have enough time when you first see or hear an approaching emergency vehicle, stop traffic in all directions, and create a clear and visible path.
  • The flagger should signal the “all clear” to the emergency vehicle, allowing it to navigate through the zone with full right of way.
  • When you have no advance warning of an approaching emergency vehicle, the safest response is to stop the emergency vehicle first and then stop all other traffic to create a clear travel path.
  • You may also need to stop or clear construction equipment before you allow the emergency vehicle to pass.
  • Make advance arrangements with local police if the work you are doing, such as blasting or excavating, makes the roadway impassable.

Download a recording form here.

LEOs in Work Zones

The latest improvement in the concerted efforts between INDOT and ICI to make working in highway work zones a safer experience is reflected in INDOT Construction Memo 17-17 and USP 801. The practice of having flashing blue lights in and near work zones (especially those without barrier walls) has proven to be an effective way to slow traffic — creating a safer environment for workers and motorists alike.

This special provision will supplement the use of ISP officers patrolling work zones by allowing contractors in certain situations to hire local Law Enforcement Officers (LEOs) who will be paid under a contract pay item.

This is a step in the right direction, and ICI will continue to work with INDOT to improve safety for our contractors and their people, as well as the motoring public.

Prosecutors Share Success in Work Zone Fatality Conviction

Here are the minutes from the October Safety Joint Coop meeting, in which we were fortunate to have a representative from the Marion County Prosecutors office, Christina Gull, as well as from the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council, Chris Daniels, to share and address concerns that our members had regarding the prosecution or a lack there of by motorists who injure or kill workers in work zones. Our members were eager to learn why the prosecutors were so successful in the case where a motorist was convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison for killing two highway workers in 2014 but not in other obvious situations of negligence involving highway worker deaths. They also wanted to know what contractors can do to assist in the success going forward.

Ms. Gull, who actually worked on the 2014 case, praised ICI members for their cooperation and willingness to help educate the attorneys as well as the jury on the specifics of a work zone and what goes into designing, building and disassembling them. She shared that they could have in no way been successful without the help of our members.

Mr. Daniels enlightened members to the fact that these cases a very challenging to prosecute because of the way the laws are written. The law is written in a way where when trying to try a case involving a motorist killing a worker with a vehicle is no different than a case attempting to prosecute an individual who used a gun to kill a person. His office is working with the legislature to fix these problems.

One of the major takeaways from the presentation was that there is no automatic path or process to prosecuting these violators. Contractors and others concerned should feel free to alert the local prosecutor’s office to ensure that they are aware of incidences that could warrant prosecution. In most cases this awareness comes from the police department; however, when they don’t recognize the opportunity for prosecution, they will not move the case forward.

The ICI Safety Joint Coop forum meets bimonthly and is a great platform for our members and their safety directors to gather to share and keep abreast of the latest industry happenings as they relate to road construction safety. These gatherings regularly involve representatives from IDOL, ISP and INDOT. One of the main features of the Safety Joint Coop meeting is the open discussion session in which members get the opportunity hear details of injuries that have occurred in the industry and learn ways to avoid them in their own shops. The group thinking here is one of the worst things that we can experience as an industry is for the same injury to occur in one member’s shop that has already occurred in another’s shop, and there was no platform to learn from others mistakes.

Download calendar appointments for the meetings scheduled for:

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Work Zone Safety Tips

Every day, highway, heavy and utility construction workers are exposed to traffic hazards as part of their daily work routine. Some of the hazards include moving construction vehicles, noise from motors and vehicles, limited visibility, night work and limited lighting, close proximity to traffic, inclement weather and slips, trips and falls.

Although work zone hazards vary, and there are no “one size fits all” procedures, here are a few tips to help workers protect themselves in work zones.

When working in traffic, be sure to wear the required personal protective equipment such as:

  • Reflective, high-visibility vests or clothing
  • Hard hats
  • Eye protection
  • Protective footwear

To help the motorist while protecting construction workers:

  • Have a traffic control plan, and periodically review it to see if it needs to be changed. Set the work zone to avoid unclear lane markings and lane confusion.
  • Use flaggers trained to use standard traffic control devices and signals. Be sure the flaggers are readily visible to traffic.
  • Observe traffic conditions to determine the volume condition of the work zone.
  • Avoid working in high traffic volume hours. Whenever possible, work during low traffic conditions.
  • Avoid standing or parking in places that block road signage.
  • Remove construction debris that can become a hazard for motorists as well as construction workers.
  • Remove worn, old, non-reflective traffic control devices from service.
  • Shield boom lifts and lift trucks from impact by oncoming motorists.
  • Use appropriate and sufficient lighting for night work areas.

Other tips to help keep the work zone safe include:

  • Avoid complacency on the job.
  • Get plenty of rest so that you’re alert while working.
  • Be sure all underground and overhead utilities are located and marked.
  • Minimize the amount of time employees need to be exposed to traffic. Get in; get done; and get out.
  • Limit the amount of personnel and equipment in the work zone to only those that are necessary for the job at hand.
  • Do not assume that equipment operators can see you. Make eye contact with the operator before crossing in front of or behind him.
  • Create out-of-bounds areas that are off limits to employees due to the traffic hazard.
  • Ensure that backup alarms on vehicles are functioning properly.
  • Do not run through moving traffic or machines.
  • Provide an emergency egress/escape route in case of emergency, and make sure employees know what it is.

Follow these tips, and do all you can to ensure your safety and the safety of your co-workers.

Download the recording form here.