616.5 Flagger Control (MUTCD Chapter 6E)

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Flagging Safety

Contents

616.5.1 Qualifications for Flaggers (MUTCD 6E.01)

Standard. Except when performed under emergency conditions, workers engaged in flagging operations on the state highway system shall have successfully completed a recognized flagger training course. For MoDOT employees, this requires the successful completion of the of the Flagger Base Line with 3-2-1 Cone Procedure Training Course or an approved substitute. Flagger re-certification is required every four years. Contract and permit flaggers shall be certified in accordance with Standard Specifications Section 616.4.3.

Guidance. 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:

A. Ability to receive and communicate specific instructions clearly, firmly, and courteously;
B. Ability to move and maneuver quickly in order to avoid danger from errant vehicles;
C. 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;
D. Ability to understand and apply safe traffic control practices, sometimes in stressful or emergency situations; and
E. Ability to recognize dangerous traffic situations and warn workers in sufficient time to avoid injury.

616.5.2 High-Visibility Safety Apparel (MUTCD 6E.02)

Standard. For daytime activities, flaggers shall wear a high visibility hard hat, safety glasses, a Performance Class 3 top OR a Performance Class 2 top, and safety footwear. Hard hats other than high visibility orange or green shall be covered with a high visibility covering. For nighttime activities (nighttime work is defined as beginning one-half hour before sunset to one-half hour after sunrise) flaggers shall wear a high visibility/reflective hard hat, safety glasses, a Performance Class 3 top AND Class E bottoms, OR Performance Class 2 top AND Class E bottoms, and safety footwear. Hard hats shall be reflective or covered with a high visibility covering. All high visibility and retroreflective safety apparel shall be designed to clearly identify the wearer as a person. Contract and permit flaggers shall be in accordance with Standard Specifications Section 107.4.

MoDOT employees shall wear personal protective equipment (PPE) appropriate for each hazard. The department will provide required protective equipment for use by the employees. Supervisors shall control the issuance and replacement of this equipment. When PPE is furnished to the employee, it is the responsibility of the employee to use and maintain it as specified by MoDOT and the manufacturer.

A graphical representation of personal protective equipment for MoDOT, contract and permit employees is available.

Guidance. For nighttime activity, high-visibility safety apparel that meets the Performance Class 3 requirements of the ANSI/ISEA 107–2004 publication entitled American National Standard for High-Visibility Apparel and Headwear (see EPG 900.1.11 Relation to Other Publications) and labeled as meeting the ANSI 107-2004 standard performance for Class 3 risk exposure should be considered for flagger wear.

Standard. When uniformed law enforcement officers are used to direct traffic within a TTC zone, they shall wear high-visibility safety apparel as described in this article.

Option. In lieu of ANSI/ISEA 107-2004 apparel, law enforcement personnel within the TTC zone may wear high-visibility safety apparel that meets the performance requirements of the ANSI/ISEA 207-2006 publication entitled American National Standard for High-Visibility Public Safety Vests (see EPG 900.1.11) and labeled as ANSI 207-2006.

616.5.3 Hand-Signaling Devices (MUTCD 6E.03)

Guidance. The STOP/SLOW paddle should be the primary and preferred hand-signaling device because the STOP/SLOW paddle gives road users more positive guidance than red flags. Use of flags should be limited to emergency situations.

A flagger in action, as seen in this photo probably dating from the 1930s.
A flagger in action, as seen in this photo probably dating from the 1930s.

Standard. The STOP/SLOW paddle shall have an octagonal shape on a rigid handle. STOP/SLOW paddles shall be at least 18 in. wide with letters at least 6 in. tall. The STOP (R1-1) face shall have white letters and a white border on a red background. The SLOW (W20-8) face shall have black letters and a black border on an orange background. When used at night, the STOP/SLOW paddle shall be retroreflectorized.

Guidance. The STOP/SLOW paddle should be fabricated from light semi-rigid material.

Support. The optimum method of displaying a STOP or SLOW message is to place the STOP/SLOW paddle on a rigid staff that is tall enough that when the end of the staff is resting on the ground, the message is high enough to be seen by approaching or stopped traffic.

Option. The STOP/SLOW paddle may be modified to improve conspicuity by incorporating either white or red flashing lights on the STOP face, and either white or yellow flashing lights on the SLOW face. The flashing lights may be arranged in any of the following patterns:

A. Two white or red lights, one centered vertically above and one centered vertically below the STOP legend; and/or two white or yellow lights, one centered vertically above and one centered vertically below the SLOW legend;
B. Two white or red lights, one centered horizontally on each side of the STOP legend; and/or two white or yellow lights, one centered horizontally on each side of the SLOW legend;
C. One white or red light centered below the STOP legend; and/or one white or yellow light centered below the SLOW legend;
D. A series of eight or more small white or red lights no larger than 1/4 inch in diameter along the outer edge of the paddle, arranged in an octagonal pattern at the eight corners of the border of the STOP face; and/or a series of eight or more small white or yellow lights no larger than 1/4 inch in diameter along the outer edge of the paddle, arranged in a diamond pattern along the border of the SLOW face; or
E. A series of white lights forming the shapes of the letters in the legend.

Standard. If flashing lights are used on the STOP face of the paddle, their colors shall be all white or all red. If flashing lights are used on the SLOW face of the paddle, their colors shall be all white or all yellow.

If more than eight flashing lights are used, the lights shall be arranged so that they clearly convey the octagonal shape of the STOP face of the paddle and/or the diamond shape of the SLOW face of the paddle.

If flashing lights are used on the STOP/SLOW paddle, the flash rate shall be at least 50, but not more than 60, flashes per minute.

When flags are used in emergency situations, they shall be red or fluorescent orange/red in color, shall be a minimum of 24 in. square and shall be securely fastened to a staff that is approximately 36 in. long. Flags shall only be used until a paddle is available.

Guidance. The free edge of a flag should be weighted so the flag will hang vertically, even in heavy winds.

Standard. When used at nighttime, flags shall be retroreflectorized red.

Option. When flagging in an emergency situation at night in a non-illuminated flagger station, a flagger may use a flashlight with a red glow cone to supplement the STOP/SLOW paddle or flag.

Standard. When a flashlight is used for flagging in an emergency situation at night in a non-illuminated flagger station, the flagger shall hold the flashlight in the left hand, shall hold the paddle or flag in the right hand as shown in Fig. 616.5.7, and shall use the flashlight in the following manner to control approaching road users:

A. To inform road users to stop, the flagger shall hold the flashlight with the left arm extended and pointed down toward the ground, and then shall slowly wave the flashlight in front of the body in a slow arc from left to right so that the arc reaches no farther than 45 degrees from vertical.
B. To inform road users to proceed, the flagger shall point the flashlight at the vehicle’s bumper, slowly aim the flashlight toward the open lane, then hold the flashlight in that position. The flagger shall not wave the flashlight.
C. To alert or slow traffic, the flagger shall point the flashlight toward oncoming traffic and quickly wave the flashlight in a figure eight motion.

616.5.3.1 Communication Devices

When required, flaggers shall be equipped with a portable, two-way, FCC approved communication system. The two flaggers must be able to see each other or be equipped with an appropriate communication device.

616.5.3.2 Flagger Situations

You, the flagger, should stand either on the shoulder adjacent to the traffic being controlled or, in limited circumstances, in the barricaded lane. In rural areas, your position will normally be on the right shoulder of the roadway and in urban areas, on the right curb. Your location may differ according to conditions, especially on multilane highways and streets. In some locations, to operate effectively, a position may have to be taken on the shoulder opposite the barricaded section. You should only stand in the lane being used by traffic after traffic has stopped. Stand where oncoming traffic can see you. Make sure you are visible, not standing where the sun or a shadow makes it hard to see you.

616.5.3.3 Factors That Affect Sight Distances

You should be visible for at least 500 ft. in daytime operations, 1000 ft. for nighttime operations, or more if conditions warrant. What are some of the things that might hide you from the driver’s sight?

Hills
Curves
Obstructions
Shade – hard to see flaggers and workers in shaded area
Color contrast – wearing an orange vest and standing next to a similarly colored truck
Bad weather
Darkness
Note: If it’s a minimum value, you can go greater. If it’s a maximum value, you can go less. Use no less than the minimum value and no more than the maximum value.

616.5.3.4 Single Flagger

There are two different applications for allowing a single flagger for a planned operation (non-emergency):

1. A single flagger may be used when all three of the following are met:

Traffic volumes are less than 500 vehicles per day
Sight distance in both directions is greater than 1000 ft.
The activity area is less than 500 ft.
Note: The flagger should have:
A safe location to stand
A planned escape route

2. A single flagger may also be used for short-term, single lane closures. An example would be a truck depositing material off the edge of the roadway. In this situation, the flagger would stop the traffic in this lane while the other lane flows free. When the lane is opened again, the flagger allows the traffic to proceed in their normal lane. After stopped traffic is allowed to proceed, the flagger should turn the STOP/SLOW paddle parallel to the flagger so that no message is displayed to either direction of traffic.

Note: Single flagging procedures should not be conducted during nighttime work zone operations.

616.5.3.5 Two Flaggers

When two flaggers are required, lines of communication must be established prior to the start of flagging operations. The two flaggers must be able to see each other or have a communication device designated for proper communication. One flagger should be the lead flagger and coordinate all activities.

Always use appropriate advance warning signs, giving particular attention to sign visibility, legibility and placement.

Remember to always remove signs or completely cover the sign messages when they do not apply to present traffic control conditions.

616.5.3.6 Advance Flagger

An advance flagger may be used where there is limited sight distance to the activity area or where long lines of traffic form. The decision to use an advance flagger should be made at the work zone supervisor level. As an advance flagger, you should stop each vehicle as it approaches, inform the driver of the situation ahead, and explain the actions required such as: “fresh oil ahead, drive slowly,” “keep to the right and stay in line,” etc. Where there are long lines of stopped traffic waiting to proceed, the advance flagger should move down the line and inform each driver of the reason for the delay and the approximate length of the delay. Be considerate, alert and avoid unnecessary conversation.

616.5.3.7 Pilot Vehicle

The use of a pilot vehicle is a safe and efficient means of moving traffic when a lane must be shared by traffic going both directions and the work zone area is lengthy or difficult to navigate. Two flaggers are required when a pilot vehicle is used. Flaggers will stop traffic following the standard procedures and hold the vehicles until the pilot vehicle arrives. The pilot vehicle will move to the head of the line of waiting vehicles and flagger will release the vehicles to follow the pilot vehicle back to the other flagger. After the line of cars has passed the flagger station and there is a gap in traffic, the flagger will again stop the oncoming traffic and hold the vehicles until the pilot vehicle returns.

When a pilot vehicle is used, traffic delays should be limited to 15 minutes. If the wait is longer, inform your supervisor and discuss options to keep the delay time within the 15-minute limit.

Prior to use of pilot cars on either Maintenance or Construction projects, a public outreach effort should be made using MoDOT’s “Pilot Car Brochure”. Contact Community Relations prior to the anticipated work and they will help with brochure and mailing. The brochure contains basic information about how pilot car operations work and gives the public advanced notification about the upcoming work zone. At a minimum, the brochure should be mailed to every property directly along the affected work area. This is important because the private entrances and driveways along the affected work area are not likely to have flagger control and knowing the proper procedures should increase the public and worker safety. Mailing the brochure to properties along side roads to the work area may also be appropriate. The “Pilot Car Brochure” has two places for project specific information. On the front cover there is a place to put a diagram or map showing the project limits to grab the public’s attention and to help convey exactly where the pilot car will be used. On the inside of the brochure there is a box for contact and project specifics.

616.5.4 Automated Flagger Assistance Devices (MUTCD 6E.04)

Support. Automated Flagger Assistance Devices (AFADs) enable a flagger(s) to be positioned out of the lane of traffic and are used to control road users through temporary traffic control zones. These devices are designed to be remotely operated either by a single flagger at one end of the TTC zone or at a central location, or by separate flaggers near each device’s location.

There are two types of AFADs:

A. An AFAD (see EPG 616.5.5) that uses a remotely controlled STOP/SLOW sign on either a trailer or a movable cart system to alternately control right of way.
B. An AFAD (see EPG 616.5.6) that uses remotely controlled red and yellow lenses and a gate arm to alternately control right of way.

AFADs might be appropriate for short-term and intermediate-term activities (see EPG 616.7.2). Typical applications include TTC activities such as, but not limited to:

A. Bridge maintenance;
B. Haul road crossings; and
C. Pavement patching.

Standard. AFADs shall only be used in situations where there is only one lane of approaching traffic in the direction to be controlled.

When used at night, the AFAD location shall be illuminated in accordance with EPG 616.5.8 Flagger Stations.

Guidance. AFADs should not be used for long-term stationary work (see EPG 616.7.2).

Standard. Because AFADs are not traffic control signals, they shall not be used as a substitute for or a replacement for a continuously operating temporary traffic control signal as described in EPG 616.6.84.

AFADs shall meet the crashworthy performance criteria contained in EPG 616.6.1.

Guidance. If used, AFADs should be located in advance of one-lane, two-way tapers and downstream from the point where approaching traffic is to stop in response to the device.

Standard. If used, AFADs shall be placed so that all of the signs and other items controlling traffic movement are readily visible to the driver of the initial approaching vehicle with advance warning signs alerting other approaching traffic to be prepared to stop.

If used, an AFAD shall be operated only by a flagger (see EPG 616.5.1) who has been trained on the operation of the AFAD. The flagger(s) operating the AFAD(s) shall not leave the AFAD(s) unattended at any time while the AFAD(s) is being used.

The use of AFADs shall conform to one of the following methods:

A. An AFAD at each end of the TTC zone (Method 1), or
B. An AFAD at one end of the TTC zone and a flagger at the opposite end (Method 2).

Except as provided in the below option, two flaggers shall be used when using either Method 1 or Method 2.

Option. A single flagger may simultaneously operate two AFADs (Method 1) or may operate a single AFAD on one end of the TTC zone while being the flagger at the opposite end of the TTC zone (Method 2) if both of the following conditions are present:

A. The flagger has an unobstructed view of the AFAD(s), and
B. The flagger has an unobstructed view of approaching traffic in both directions.

Guidance. When an AFAD is used, the advance warning signing should include a ROAD WORK AHEAD (W20-1) sign, a ONE LANE ROAD (W20-4) sign, and a BE PREPARED TO STOP (W3-4) sign.

Standard. When the AFAD is not in use, the signs associated with the AFAD, both at the AFAD location and in advance, shall be removed or covered.

Guidance. A State or local agency that elects to use AFADs should adopt a policy, based on engineering judgment, governing AFAD applications. The policy should also consider more detailed and/or more restrictive requirements for AFAD use, such as the following:

A. Conditions applicable for the use of Method 1 and Method 2 AFAD operation,
B. Volume criteria,
C. Maximum distance between AFADs,
D. Conflicting lenses/indications monitoring requirements,
E. Fail safe procedures,
F. Additional signing and pavement markings,
G. Application consistency,
H. Larger signs or lenses to increase visibility and
I. Use of backplates.

616.5.5 STOP/SLOW Automated Flagger Assistance Devices (MUTCD 6E.05)

Standard. A STOP/SLOW Automated Flagger Assistance Device (AFAD) (see EPG 616.5.4) shall include a STOP/SLOW sign that alternately displays the STOP (R1-1) face and the SLOW (W20-8) face of a STOP/SLOW paddle (see Fig. 616.8.10b - MT).

The AFAD’s STOP/SLOW sign shall have an octagonal shape, shall be fabricated of rigid material, and shall be mounted with the bottom of the sign a minimum of 6 ft. above the pavement on an appropriate support. The size of the STOP/SLOW sign shall be at least 24 in. x 24 in. with letters at least 8 in. tall. The background of the STOP face shall be red with white letters and border. The background of the SLOW face shall be diamond shaped and orange with black letters and border. Both faces of the STOP/SLOW sign shall be retroreflectorized.

The AFAD’s STOP/SLOW sign shall have a means to positively lock, engage, or otherwise maintain the sign assembly in a stable condition when set in the STOP or SLOW position.

The AFAD’s STOP/SLOW sign shall be supplemented with active conspicuity devices by incorporating either:

A. White or red flashing lights within the STOP face and white or yellow flashing lights within the SLOW face meeting the provisions contained in EPG 616.5.3; or
B. A Stop Beacon (see EPG 902.12.5) mounted a maximum of 24 in. above the STOP face and a Warning Beacon (see EPG 902.12.3 Warning Beacon) mounted a maximum of 24 in. above, below, or to the side of the SLOW face. The Stop Beacon shall not be flashed or illuminated when the SLOW face is displayed, and the Warning Beacon shall not be flashed or illuminated when the STOP face is displayed. Except for the mounting locations, the beacons shall comply with the provisions of EPG 902.12.

Option. Type B warning light(s) (see EPG 616.6.83) may be used in lieu of the Warning Beacon during the display of the SLOW face of the AFAD’s STOP/SLOW sign.

Standard. If Type B warning lights are used in lieu of a Warning Beacon, they shall flash continuously when the SLOW face is displayed and shall not be flashed or illuminated when the STOP face is displayed.

Option. The faces of the AFAD’s STOP/SLOW sign may include louvers to improve the stability of the device in windy or other adverse environmental conditions.

Standard. If louvers are used, the louvers shall be designed so that the full sign face is visible to approaching traffic at a distance of 50 ft. or greater.

Guidance. The STOP/SLOW AFAD should include a gate arm that descends to a down position across the approach lane of traffic when the STOP face is displayed and then ascends to an upright position when the SLOW face is displayed.

Option. In lieu of a stationary STOP/SLOW sign with a separate gate arm, the STOP/SLOW sign may be attached to a mast arm that physically blocks the approach lane of traffic when the STOP face is displayed and then moves to a position that does not block the approach lane when the SLOW face is displayed.

Standard. Gate arms, if used, shall be fully retroreflectorized on both sides, and shall have vertical alternating red and white stripes at 16 in. intervals measured horizontally as shown in EPG 643.4 Railroads. When the arm is in the down position blocking the approach lane:

A. The minimum vertical aspect of the arm and sheeting shall be 2 inches; and
B. The end of the arm shall reach at least to the center of the lane being controlled.

A WAIT ON STOP (R1-7) sign (see Fig. 616.8.10b - MT) shall be displayed to road users approaching the AFAD.

Option. A GO ON SLOW (R1-8) sign (see Fig. 616.8.10b) may also be displayed to road users approaching the AFAD.

Standard. The GO ON SLOW sign, if used, and the WAIT ON STOP sign shall be positioned on the same support structure as the AFAD or immediately adjacent to the AFAD so that they are in the same direct line of view of approaching traffic as the sign faces of the AFAD. Both signs shall have black legends and borders on white backgrounds. Each of these signs shall be rectangular in shape and each shall be at least 24 in. x 30 in. with letters at least 6 in. tall.

To inform road users to stop, the AFAD shall display the STOP face and the red or white lights, if used, within the STOP face shall flash or the Stop Beacon shall flash. To inform road users to proceed, the AFAD shall display the SLOW face and the yellow or white lights, if used, within the SLOW face shall flash or the Warning Beacon or the Type B warning lights shall flash.

If STOP/SLOW AFADs are used to control traffic in a one-lane, two-way TTC zone, safeguards shall be incorporated to prevent the flagger(s) from simultaneously displaying the SLOW face at each end of the TTC zone. Additionally, the flagger(s) shall not display the AFAD’s SLOW face until all oncoming vehicles have cleared the one-lane portion of the TTC zone.

616.5.6 Red/Yellow Lens Automated Flagger Assistance Devices (MUTCD 6E.06)

Standard. A Red/Yellow Lens Automated Flagger Assistance Device (AFAD) (see EPG 616.5.4) shall alternately display a steadily illuminated CIRCULAR RED lens and a flashing CIRCULAR YELLOW lens to control traffic without the need for a flagger in the immediate vicinity of the AFAD or on the roadway (see Fig. 616.8.10a - MT).

Red/Yellow Lens AFADs shall have at least one set of CIRCULAR RED and CIRCULAR YELLOW lenses that are 12 inches in diameter. Unless otherwise provided in this article, the lenses and their arrangement, CIRCULAR RED on top and CIRCULAR YELLOW below, shall comply with the applicable provisions for traffic signal indications in EPG 902.12 Flashing Beacons. If the set of lenses is post-mounted, the bottom of the housing (including brackets) shall be at least 7 ft. above the pavement. If the set of lenses is located over any portion of the highway that can be used by motor vehicles, the bottom of the housing (including brackets) shall be at least 15 ft. above the pavement.

Option. Additional sets of CIRCULAR RED and CIRCULAR YELLOW lenses, located over the roadway or on the left-hand side of the approach and operated in unison with the primary set, may be used to improve visibility and/or conspicuity of the AFAD.

Standard. A Red/Yellow Lens AFAD shall include a gate arm that descends to a down position across the approach lane of traffic when the steady CIRCULAR RED lens is illuminated and then ascends to an upright position when the flashing CIRCULAR YELLOW lens is illuminated. The gate arm shall be fully retroreflectorized on both sides, and shall have vertical alternating red and white stripes at 16 in. intervals measured horizontally as shown in EPG 643.4 Railroads. When the arm is in the down position blocking the approach lane:

A. The minimum vertical aspect of the arm and sheeting shall be 2 inches; and
B. The end of the arm shall reach at least to the center of the lane being controlled.

A Stop Here On Red (R10-6) sign (see EPG 616.6.7 Regulatory Sign Applications) shall be installed on the right-hand side of the approach at the point at which drivers are expected to stop when the steady CIRCULAR RED lens is illuminated (see Fig. 616.8.10a - MT).

To inform road users to stop, the AFAD shall display a steadily illuminated CIRCULAR RED lens and the gate arm shall be in the down position. To inform road users to proceed, the AFAD shall display a flashing CIRCULAR YELLOW lens and the gate arm shall be in the upright position.

If Red/Yellow Lens AFADs are used to control traffic in a one-lane, two-way TTC zone, safeguards shall be incorporated to prevent the flagger(s) from actuating a simultaneous display of a flashing CIRCULAR YELLOW lens at each end of the TTC zone. Additionally, the flagger shall not actuate the AFAD’s display of the flashing CIRCULAR YELLOW lens until all oncoming vehicles have cleared the one-lane portion of the TTC zone.

A change interval shall be provided as the transition between the display of the flashing CIRCULAR YELLOW indication and the display of the steady CIRCULAR RED indication. During the change interval, the CIRCULAR YELLOW lens shall be steadily illuminated. The gate arm shall remain in the upright position during the display of the steadily illuminated CIRCULAR YELLOW change interval.

A change interval shall not be provided between the display of the steady CIRCULAR RED indication and the display of the flashing CIRCULAR YELLOW indication.

Guidance. The steadily illuminated CIRCULAR YELLOW change interval should have a duration of at least 5 seconds, unless a different duration, within the range of durations recommended by EPG 902.5.36.2 Yellow Change and Red Clearance Intervals, is justified by engineering judgment.

616.5.7 Flagger Procedures (MUTCD 6E.07)

Support. The use of paddles and flags by flaggers is illustrated in Fig. 616.5.7.

Fig. 616.5.7, Use of Hand-Signaling Devices by Flaggers
Fig. 616.5.7, Use of Hand-Signaling Devices by Flaggers


616.5.7.1 STOP/SLOW Paddle - Flagger Procedures

Standard. Flaggers shall use a STOP/SLOW paddle, a flag, or an Automated Flagger Assistance Device (AFAD) to control road users approaching a TTC zone. The use of hand movements alone without a paddle, flag, or AFAD to control road users shall be prohibited except for law enforcement personnel or emergency responders at incident scenes as described in EPG 616.9.1.

The following methods of signaling with paddles shall be used:

A. To stop road users, the flagger shall stand on shoulder, face road users and aim the STOP paddle face toward road users in a stationary position with the arm extended horizontally away from the body. The free arm shall be held with the palm of the hand above shoulder level toward approaching traffic. Make eye contact with driver. Then walk towards the centerline when one or two cars have stopped.
B. To direct stopped road users to proceed, the flagger shall walk back over to shoulder, face road users with the SLOW paddle face aimed toward road users in a stationary position with the arm extended horizontally away from the body. The flagger shall motion with the free hand in a sweeping motion for road users to proceed.
C. To alert or slow traffic, the flagger shall stand on shoulder, face road users with the SLOW paddle face aimed toward road users in a stationary position with the arm extended horizontally away from the body and lower and raise free hand slowly with palm down.
D. To temporarily stop traffic in one lane for loading/unloading, the flagger shall stop traffic as outlined in A above, wait until obstruction has passed, walk back over to shoulder, face road users with the SLOW paddle face aimed toward road users in a stationary position with the arm extended horizontally away from the body and motion with the free hand in a sweeping motion for road users to proceed.

Option. To further alert or slow traffic, the flagger holding the SLOW paddle face toward road users may motion up and down with the free hand, palm down.

616.5.7.2 Stationary and Mobile Flagging Operations: 3, 2 or 1 Cone Procedures

MoDOT operations shall follow the Stationary & Mobile Flagging Operations: 3, 2 or 1 Cone Procedures as shown in Fig. 616.5.7.2. The cones provide additional target value at the flagger station area, a visual for the driver to stop and not encroach on the flagger and the cone would provide an audible noise if ran over by the driver. The allowed reflectorized channelizers are the following: trim-line, minimum 28-inch cone, or minimum 28-inch collapsible cones.

Fig. 616.5.7.2, Stationary & Mobile Flagging Operations: 3, 2 or 1 Cone Procedures
Fig. 616.5.7.2, Stationary & Mobile Flagging Operations: 3, 2 or 1 Cone Procedures

616.5.7.3 Flag - Flagger Procedures

Standard. The following methods of signaling with a flag shall be used:

A. To stop road users, the flagger shall stand on shoulder, face road users and extend the flag staff horizontally across the road users’ lane in a stationary position so that the full area of the flag is visibly hanging below the staff. The free arm shall be held with the palm of the hand above shoulder level toward approaching traffic. Make eye contact with driver. Then walk towards the centerline when one or two cars have stopped.
B. To direct stopped road users to proceed, the flagger shall walk back over to shoulder, face road users with the flag and arm lowered from the view of the road users, and shall motion with the free hand in a sweeping motion for road users to proceed. Flags shall not be used to signal road users to proceed.
C. To alert or slow traffic, the flagger shall stand on shoulder, face road users and slowly wave the flag in a sweeping motion of the extended arm from shoulder level to straight down without raising the arm above a horizontal position. The flagger shall keep the free hand down.

Guidance. The flagger should stand either on the shoulder adjacent to the road user being controlled or in the closed lane prior to stopping road users. A flagger should only stand in the lane being used by moving road users after road users have stopped. The flagger should be clearly visible to the first approaching road user at all times. The flagger also should be visible to other road users. The flagger should be stationed sufficiently in advance of the workers to warn them (for example, with audible warning devices such as horns or whistles) of approaching danger by out-of-control vehicles. The flagger should stand alone, away from other workers, work vehicles, or equipment.

For personal safety as a flagger, always face toward traffic and stand outside the path of an approaching vehicle. Flagging should only be used when all other traffic control devices are inadequate to warn and direct traffic. Flaggers should not flag for more than two hours at one time, unless it is an emergency situation. The supervisor should consider environmental, physical and work factors when determining appropriate flagging and break durations in the field.

Supervisors shall provide flaggers with a 15-minute break from flagging in non-emergency situations.

Option. At spot lane closures where adequate sight distance is available for the reasonably safe handling of traffic, the use of one flagger may be sufficient.

Guidance. When a single flagger is used, the flagger should be stationed on the shoulder opposite the spot lane closure or work space, or in a position where good visibility and traffic control can be maintained at all times.

616.5.8 Flagger Stations (MUTCD 6E.08)

Standard. Flagger stations shall be located in advanced warning area so that approaching road users will have sufficient distance to stop at an intended stopping point.

  • Be alert, remain standing at all times.
  • Always face oncoming traffic and stand outside the path of an approaching vehicle.
  • A flagger’s normal station is on the shoulder of the road, minimum of 500 ft. from the flagger symbol sign and minimum of 100 ft. from the workspace.
  • Park your vehicle off the road, away from your station.
  • Stand alone, do not mingle with the work crew or the public.

Make sure you are visible to oncoming traffic, not standing where the sun is impeding visibility or in a shadow. Stand in a location that allows approaching traffic adequate time to respond.

Flagger Stations

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 in place 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.

The typical applications will show a distance of the sign spacing, which is greater than the buffer zone.

Guidance. Flagger stations should be located so that an errant vehicle has additional space to stop without entering the work space. The flagger should identify an escape route that can be used to avoid being struck by an errant vehicle.

Standard. Except in emergency situations, flagger stations shall be preceded by an advance warning sign or signs. Except in emergency situations, flagger stations shall be illuminated at night.

Nighttime Flagging

When nighttime work is being performed, lighting should be used to illuminate the work area, equipment crossings and other areas. The amount and location of light provided for the work area is based on the type and detail of work being performed and the degree of difficulty in navigating the work zone. Minimum required intensity for flagging operation activity is 5 foot-candles. (One foot-candle equals the amount of light delivered by a 1-candela light source to a 1 sq. ft. surface 1 ft. away). Work area lighting provides a minimum maintained intensity of 5 foot-candles (54 lux). See EPG 616.5.2 High-Visibility Safety Apparel for nighttime high visibility apparel requirements.

Glare

Lighting shall not produce a disabling glare to approaching motorist, flaggers, or workers. Factors impacting glare are:

Distance between driver and luminaries
Height of luminaries
Direction the luminaries are aimed

To minimize glare:

Locate luminaries so that axis of candlepower is located away from the line of sight of motorists
Luminaries should be aimed so the center of the beam axis is no greater than 60 degrees above vertical plane.
Tower-mounted luminaries should be aimed either perpendicular or parallel to the roadway.

Area lighting illuminates specific areas significant to traffic guidance within the temporary traffic control zone during nighttime hours. Lighting of this nature is required at flagger stations and may be considered at gore areas, transitions, ingress and egress areas, equipment crossings, intersections, and temporary signals. A minimum intensity of 5 foot-candles in the specific area is recommended for this type of lighting. Typically, this lighting is provided by a single light on a portable lighting unit or mounted on a temporary pole. As with work lighting, lighting shall be positioned so that it does not cause glare for motorists, spill onto adjacent properties, create shadows or become a safety concern. Flagger stations in operation at night are required to be lit.

Workers Safety Considerations

Protect yourself and co-workers! Once you have been selected or assigned your flagger position by your supervisor, look over the area for one or more methods or routes of escape - a place to get to in order to avoid being injured by oncoming vehicles, regardless of the reason.

Should you observe a vehicle coming your direction, protect yourself first - THEN warn the crew.

It is a good idea to have an air horn or some type of warning device that can be heard by the crew above construction noise.

Make sure that the crew is aware of your signals and knows what to do when you sound the warning.

Remember, your job is handling traffic. Do not otherwise assist the work crew, watch construction operations instead of traffic, or engage in any other activity in addition to your duties as a flagger.

If you need a break, tell your supervisor so that another qualified flagger may relieve you.

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