A flagger is a person who provides temporary traffic control.
Because flaggers are responsible for public safety and make the greatest number of contacts with the public of all highway workers, they should be trained in safe traffic control practices and public contact techniques.
Flaggers should be able to satisfactorily demonstrate the following abilities:
1. Ability to receive and communicate specific instructions clearly, firmly, and courteously;
2. Ability to move and maneuver quickly in order to avoid danger from errant vehicles;
3. Ability to control signaling devices (such as paddles and flags) in order to provide clear and positive guidance to drivers approaching a Temporary Traffic Control (TTC) zone in frequently changing situations;
4. Ability to understand and apply safe traffic control practices, sometimes in stressful or emergency situations; and
5. Ability to recognize dangerous traffic situations and warn workers in sufficient time to avoid injury.
As a flagger, you are required to be clean, neat, and fully dressed at all times when on the job, either day or night. Be prepared for changing weather conditions by bringing suitable clothing and other necessary things such as sun screen, insect repellant and water. You are the first person the traveling public will encounter; sloppy dress or appearance will not be tolerated and will present a nonprofessional image. Remember, a neat appearance commands respect.
Prior to the start of flagging operations, all signs should be in place. A good flagger location is one where the sight distance is sufficient and the flagger is clearly visible to approaching motorists, workers and, when practical, the other flagger(s).
In stationary operations, the flagger should be positioned a distance equal to the appropriate sign spacing, typically 500 ft. from the flagger symbol sign. For mobile operations, spacing between flagger and flagger symbol sign shall not exceed one mile. When the maximum allowable work zone length cannot be attained due to this limitation, additional flagger symbol signs may be staged throughout the length of the work zone. In such instances, the flagger symbol signs are set up and knocked down as work progresses so only one sign is displayed in each direction and that sign is no more than one mile in advance of the flagger.
When more than one flagger is being used, all communication procedures should be clear before any flagging begins. If there is a major intersection within the closed area, an additional flagger may be needed to control traffic entering the temporary traffic control zone from the major intersection.
Law enforcement personnel should be secured to perform flagging functions, when needed, at intersections fully-controlled by an active traffic signal or stop signs. Law enforcement personnel are the only ones who can legally assign right of way through an intersection when the assignment is opposed to inplace traffic control.
When flagging on a rural undivided highway, the length of the work zone should not exceed three miles. When flagging in an Urban area, the length of a work zone should not exceed one mile. When work is completed and flaggers are off the road, remove work zone signs promptly.
Emergency vehicles have right of way priority in a work zone; only allow them to proceed when safe to do so and communications. between all flaggers have occurred.
Flagger Training & Testing
California Department of Transportation Information