As summer approaches, a typical sight along many of Sauk Rapids’ streets and highways is road construction crews. Those who work on these crews are often doing so within just a few feet of fast-moving vehicles. Thus, the potential for accidents or injury may be very high. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 105 workers were killed in accidents at road construction sites in 2013.
Due to the potential for danger with this profession, strict guidelines have been set up to help protect workers. The Federal Highway Administration recognizes the vulnerability of those working on or near roadways, and thus requires the presence of flaggers at these sites to help control the flow of traffic.
The requirements regarding flaggers are set forth in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices. First and foremost, it states that flaggers are required in any situation where drivers cannot see the vehicles coming from the opposite lane. Multiple flaggers are needed if a single worker cannot see the entire construction zone, or he or she cannot be positioned in an area so as to be clearly visible to traffic. When two flaggers are working at opposite ends of a zone, they need to be able to communicate either by oral or hand signals or an electronic device.
Regarding the flaggers themselves, they must be given safety apparel that makes them easily visible to drivers, both at night and during the day. That apparel must be a bright color (either fluorescent yellow-green or orange-red) and have retroreflective material that can be spotted up to 1,000 ft. away.
A failure to provide flaggers with the appropriate resources, or crews with sufficient flaggers, could be seen as negligence on the part of their employers.