A flagger directs traffic for a road construction crew. Flaggers hold a large orange flag, which they use to help indicate to motorists to slow down, stop and pass through. Flaggers often work in conjunction with other flaggers, with each standing at opposite ends of the construction area and coordinating traffic flow via communication, either via two-way radio or hand signals. At times, they will use the assistance of orange barrels, which they place alongside the roadway.
Basic Job TAsks
Flaggers often work long and odd hours in a variety of weather conditions that include snow, rain and extreme heat or cold. On top of directing traffic, many flaggers perform duties such as removing debris from the road or working on road construction themselves, alternating the flagging duties with co-workers. Flaggers must possess a good degree of stamina, as they often stand for long shifts with few breaks. At the same time, they must remain alert and keep traffic moving while ensuring the safety of motorists, construction workers and themselves.
Skills for the Job
A flagger must be organized, analytical and attentive to what’s going on around him. He must work well alone and as a member of a group, since directing traffic is often a team effort. He should possess strong communication skills, as he needs to relay traffic information to other flaggers and construction workers or report accidents to law enforcement officials. Flaggers should be professional and courteous, even when dealing with agitated drivers.
Background Training and Experience
There are no set requirements to become a flagger. Most work for government agencies, which typically require road construction crew members to possess at least a high school diploma or the equivalent. But most flaggers learn on the job, with a strong work ethic and an ability to follow instructions being the most important criteria.
Prospects for the Future
Flaggers are employed in the construction industry and jobs for construction workers were expected to increase 25 percent from 2012 to 2022, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. While the BLS provided no data specific to flaggers, their jobs are likely to increase at the same rate as the rest of the field.
Construction laborers, such as flaggers, earned $8.50 to $10.06 in 2012, depending on location. The BLS reported a 2013 median salary of $39,500 for highway, street and bridge construction workers.
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