Growth Trends for Related Jobs
The Colorado Department of Transportation, or CDOT, certifies flaggers to help direct traffic through highway and road construction and maintenance jobs. Flaggers keep traffic moving through these work zones, such as by diverting traffic, and also protect the work crew. To become a flagger in Colorado, you must meet basic requirements, complete a training course, pass a written exam and earn flagger certification.
Working as a Flagger
Along with knowing about how and when to use regulatory, warning and guide signs, and traffic control devices such as cones, flaggers have four primary responsibilities. They must protect themselves and their colleagues from traffic passing through or around a road-construction or -maintenance site; guide traffic through or around the construction site, so that drivers can easily and smoothly pass; prevent accidents caused by construction dangers at the construction site; and respond quickly when the unexpected happens. For example, if a sign warning drivers of upcoming construction is blown down, you may need to stop traffic to put the sign back into place or to let your supervisor know. Flaggers do not work for the CDOT; instead, they work as part of a contractor's team, with a public utility or with a city or county road department.
Meeting Basic Requirements
To become a flagger, you must be at least 18 years old; be able to communicate firmly and courteously, such as when explaining how long a driver may have to wait before being allowed to continue; move and maneuver quickly; understand and use signaling devices at the right times; understand and apply safe traffic-control procedures; respond well during stressful and emergency situations; and recognize dangerous traffic situations and warn workers to help them avoid injury. Though you will earn certification through the CDOT to work as a flagger, your employer will make sure you meet these requirements before hiring you.
Passing the Written Exam
To become a flagger, you must score at least 80 percent on a written exam. The exam covers how well you understand a flagger's duties and responsibilities, such as how to flag during the day and at night, stopping traffic and stopping distances. The exam proctor grades the exam after you finish taking it, and if you pass, issues you a certification card. This certification card is good for two years and qualifies you to work in Colorado as a flagger. The CDOT provides a training manual to potential flaggers. This manual covers what a flagger must know to succeed and what to expect on the written exam. To help a candidate prepare for the exam, the manual also includes practice questions and answers. If you do not pass the exam, you can re-take one, sometimes even that same day.
While working as a flagger, you must wear an approved orange hard hat and vest, which not only helps better identify you as an official flagger but also increases your visibility and safety. You also may want to wear heavy work boots or safety shoes. While flagging at night, your hard hat and vest must be retroreflectorized so that drivers can see you. You may also want to carry a flashlight or lighted wand, while flagging at night.
William Henderson has been writing for newspapers, magazines and journals for more than 15 years. He served as editor of the "New England Blade" and is a former contributor to "The Advocate." His work has also appeared on The Good Men Project, Life By Me and The Huffington Post.