What Does a Flagger Do?


Traffic control flaggers play a vital role in keeping our roads safe. Traffic control flaggers are essential for work zone safety at construction zones. They stop, slow, or direct traffic flow using hand signals, signs, and cones. This ensures a safe traffic flow for vehicles while keeping both construction workers and drivers safe from hazards within the zone. Workers for Warriors understands the importance of veterans finding meaningful employment, and flagging is a great option for those looking to transition into the workforce.

The Duties of a Flagger

A traffic control flagger controls vehicle traffic flow around construction sites, parking lots, special events, etc. Their primary focuses include:

  • Traffic Control: This is the heart of the job. Flaggers use hand signals, stop signs, and slow paddles to direct vehicles through construction zones, ensuring a safe and smooth flow of traffic.
  • Setting Up Work Zones: Flaggers play a crucial role in setting up the physical boundaries of the construction zone. They place traffic cones, barricades, and signs to warn drivers of upcoming hazards and guide them on the designated path.
  • Communication: Flaggers are the eyes and ears of the work zone. They constantly communicate with drivers, providing clear instructions and directions. They also maintain communication with construction crews, alerting them of any potential safety hazards or traffic issues.
  • Safety: A flagger’s main priority is safety. They are responsible for ensuring the safety of both construction workers and the motoring public. This involves being vigilant and watching out for any unsafe situations, such as speeding vehicles or pedestrians entering the work zone. In some cases, flaggers may also be responsible for reporting reckless drivers to the authorities.
  • Record Keeping: Depending on the specific work zone, flaggers may be required to document traffic flow patterns or take down license plate numbers of vehicles that violate traffic laws.
Flagging Service
Flagging Service
Flagging Service

Qualifications for Flagging Success

To be successful as a traffic control flagger, you’ll need a combination of physical fitness, clear communication skills, the ability to work independently and as part of a team, and a strong sense of responsibility. Here are some additional requirements to consider:

  • High School Diploma or GED: While some flagging positions may not require a formal diploma, having a high school diploma or GED demonstrates basic communication and comprehension skills.
  • Complete a Training Program: Most states require flaggers to complete a certified training program that covers traffic control procedures, hand signals, safety protocols, and work zone setup. Workers for Warriors can help connect you with these programs.
  • Valid Driver’s License: While not always mandatory, having a valid driver’s license demonstrates an understanding of traffic laws and road signs.
  • Hearing and Vision Acuity: Flaggers need good hearing and vision to effectively communicate with drivers and perceive potential hazards in the work zone.

Beyond these qualifications, a positive attitude, willingness to learn, and a commitment to safety are all valuable assets for any aspiring flagger.

Other Traffic Control Roles

Flaggers are just one piece of the traffic control puzzle. Here are some other roles involved in keeping our roads safe during construction:

  • Traffic Control Supervisor: Supervisors oversee the entire traffic control operation. They ensure flaggers are properly positioned and have the necessary equipment. They may also liaise with law enforcement and construction crews.
  • Work Zone Laborers: These laborers assist with setting up and taking down traffic control devices, such as cones, signs, and barricades.
  • Pilot Car Drivers: In some instances, pilot cars are used to guide oversized or slow-moving vehicles safely through a work zone.
  • Traffic Control Technician: These technicians are responsible for a wider range of duties compared to flaggers. They may assist with developing traffic control plans, setting up and maintaining more complex traffic control devices (like changeable message signs), conducting traffic studies, and ensuring compliance with traffic control regulations. In some cases, they may also be qualified to act as flaggers themselves.

Flagging might not be the most high-profile job on a construction site, but it’s undeniably important. By keeping traffic flowing smoothly and ensuring everyone’s safety, flaggers play a vital role in keeping our infrastructure strong. If you’re a veteran looking for a rewarding career path that offers the opportunity to work outdoors and make a real difference, then our flagging positions might be the perfect fit for you.

About the Author: Joe Webb
Joe webb

Joe is a husband and father of two. He is a Pennsylvania native and a proud graduate of Penn State. He enlisted in the Army in 2003 and served in the 75th Ranger Regiment during his time in the military. He was a Ranger School graduate and had 2 deployments to Iraq & Afghanistan. Joe created WFW to service a growing business need but also to give back and support Veteran organizations.