Construction Road Safety - Flaggers are Your Friend
Slow Down, My Daddy Works Here
Top Ten List of Dangerous Occupations
- Top 10 Most Dangerous Jobs 2007 - 2010
Glouschester, Massachusetts Fishermen's Memorial to the deadliest job in the sea. There are 10,000 names engraved on the memorial plaque. The sailor depicted is said to be looking for good weather. The total number of deaths in the American workforce
A Hazardous Occupation
1996 - Edmonton Ab, Canada - flagger dies after being run over by a water truck backing up on a worksite. This fatality is the 9th in Alberta since 1976
Alberta Labor Information Services. Fatal Accident Investigation Reports. Alberta, 1996
British Columbia - 8 flagperson fatalities since 1978. 325 disability claims filed by flaggers since 1986 Worker's Compensation Board of British Columbia. Fatal Claims Tables for 1978-1995. Vancouver, Canada: Worker's Compensation Board of British Columbia, 1995.
Worker's Compensation Board of British Columbia. Injury Claims Tables for 1986-1995. Vancouver, Canada
1995 - Ontario Canada - flagperson suffers two broken legs after being struck and dragged 16 meters by motorist.
Can Occup Health Safety News 1995: 18
2004 - New York State - 47 year old flagger struck by pickup truck in highway work zone. Read more here.
1980 - 1986 - Washington State - 42 fatalities, 2389 injuries, 5886 damages to property Accident data was obtained by the Headquarters Construction Office of Washington State Department of Transportation
Finding statistics for job related injuries orfatalities for Traffic Control Persons (the actual job title forflaggers) is extremely difficult. This could be due to the fact that the statistics might be listed under ConstructionEquipment Operators, as flaggers are an integral component of work sitesafety, simply listed under each State or Province.
Didn't Your Mother Ever Tell You Not To Play In Traffic?
This occupation might not have made the Top Ten List For Most Dangerous Jobs,but it should. This job is not for the faint of heart, or slow witted. It may seem very easy, after all, it isn't rocket science, and at times it's akin to watching paint dry, but there is a huge risk to life and limb that goes with this profession.
Any views or opinions presented in this hub are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Hub Pages.
Those of you who are politically correct should skip this next section.
I realize that when dealing with the public one can expect to come in contact with certain individuals who can be challenging (to say the least,) but I have never seen so many ignorant, careless, inattentive, cell phone wielding, texting, road raging, stupid people in all my life!
Please tell me, what part of "Road Closed" isn't understandable. Slow does not mean move over and maintain your speed, it means slow! Stop does not mean it's ok for you to ignore the sign and drive through, it means stop - and not two inches from my ankle either! Honking your horn is not going to make the construction crew do their job any faster. Large equipment needs time and a lot of room.
It is not acceptable for you to yell at me because the road is closed and you are late for work. It is not my fault that the city won't put up road closure signs half a mile before you get to me. Contrary to popular belief, I did not get up this morning with the express thought of standing in the middle of a barricaded road just to piss you off! How would you like it if I came to your place of work and screamed at you?
Believe it or not, my job is to keep you from getting smushed by backhoes, dumptrucks, and oncoming traffic, and the crew from getting run over by you. Every summer, on almost every road across the country, you will see the familiar High Vis (short for high visibility) jackets and vests, worn by everyone foolish enough to 'play' in traffic. Please show a little respect for these people, even if some of them do look like they have their thumb up their butt. It takes a lot of courage (or stupidity) to stand a foot away from a car moving at 30 miles an hour, never mind the ones who fly past at 50 simply because they are running late and don't want to obey your sign. Pay attention to those bright orange and yellow jackets. A lot of us take our responsibility very seriously and work hard to keep everyone safe.
All Traffic Control Persons who work on public roads have to be certified.The only exceptions to this rule are flaggers who work on private construction sites. I am not familiar with the regulations governing flaggers in the United States, but in Canada, if your workplace is on any of the highways or streets in the country, you need certification.
- The Ministry of Transportation and Workers Compensation Board have strict regulations that have to be adhered to by anyone who works in traffic control. Before any signs are placed on the roads, there has to be a traffic plan submitted to the appropriate city planner for inspection and approval. Only then will a permit be issued for the period of time agreed upon by the planner for the subsequent road work. This is submitted by the company that contracts the actual work, and once approved is given to the Traffic Control Supervisor so he or she (generally she,) can set up the work site according to the specifications.
Flaggers are responsible for purchasing their own equipment as set down by the Workers Compensation Board and Ministry of Transportation. These are to include:
- High visibility vest,
- Arm and leg reflectors
- Orange hard hat (construction sites are allowed to use different colours as long as the flaggers remain on their sites. All road/highway flaggers must wear high visibility orange hard hats.)
- Reflective strips adhered to the hard hat
- Steel toed boots - these can be either low or high, but must cover the ankle bone, and have the appropriate safety ratings. Steel toed runners are not allowed.
- Stop/slow sign.
- Flashlight for night work
- Appropriate rain gear
Most companies will provide their flagpersons with signs, as stated in the regulations, however, the majority of flaggers prefer to purchase their own, which is why I included it in the list.
The single most important item that a flagger wears are his or her boots. I can tell you from experience, you need to have comfortable, good fitting boots if you are going to be standing in the middle of a road for sixteen hour, back to back shifts.
I find that even though the insoles that come with the boots can be quite thick and cushioned, they don't do much for comfort. After my first day on the job, which was a ten hour shift, I immediately hobbled to the closest drug store and picked up a pair of Dr. Scholl's insoles for the heels and lower back.
You wouldn't think it to look at a flagger, unless of course it happens to be pouring buckets at the time, that they would be the least bit uncomfortable. Trust me when I tell you - we are! You try standing on concrete or pavement in the pouring rain or 30 degree heat, holding a 3 pound sign at arms length and moving deliniators and cones for 8 to 16 hours. Then tell me my job is easy.
Please resume speed
For those of you who have braved the the bumpy road of my single lane, construction hub, I would like to thank you for obeying the traffic signs, and allowing me to keep you safe. It is always a relief to say goodbye to construction zones and continue your journey unimpeded. You may now resume your speed to the posted limits.
Have a nice day.