Welcome to the North America Traffic Blog

Our objective is to keep you up-to-date and current with the issues and challenges facing those using portable traffic control systems to keep the traffic moving smoothly – #trafficsafetyleader. If you wish to communicate with us about our posts, please click here.  We look forward to hearing from you.

The need for change in determining when to use flaggers

I recently obtained the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report on Fatal Occupational Injuries to Flaggers at road construction sites. In 2016, 10 flagger deaths were reported. The high number of deaths, in just one year, confirms that the current Engineering Controls, Personal Protective Equipment and Regulations are not effective at preventing flagger fatalities.

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When should we use flaggers with todays’ risky driver behavior?

The MUTCD tells us who can do a flaggers’ job with specific qualifications, how he or she shall direct traffic with a stop/slow paddle, what to wear for high-visibility apparel, and where to stand, but the MUTCD does not tell us when to use flaggers under high-risk work zone conditions, where flagger fatalities typically occur. A flagger is not a traffic control device as per the definition. A flagger is a human, therefore, when to use flaggers falls under the jurisdiction of the Department of Labor and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). It’s up to OSHA to create new standards (or regulations) for when to use flaggers to promote Occupational Safety and Health.

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What I learned at the ATSSA mid-year meeting

An outdated MUTCD standard, and OSHA facts to consider”

10 State DOTs are taking positive steps to combat distracted drivers, and ultimately, to improve Flagger safety. Work zone crashes, involving distracted drivers, are at record highs, and the number of distracted drivers, is steadily increasing. There is only one standard, in the MUTCD, that applies to Flagger safety and has become obsolete. Constantly improving safety standards is critically important, because as the current Standards become obsolete or outdated due to changing safety considerations, the OSHA General Duty Clause may kick in. Where there is no standard that applies to a hazard, employers can be cited for a violation.

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A report on the increasing dangers facing Flaggers today

Driver distractions have been around since automobiles were invented, but the number of distractions have increased dramatically when the smart phone came along. When we include distracted drivers with intoxicated and speeding drivers, the number of work zone crashes today are staggering. The increasing dangers have created an epidemic safety problem for Flaggers in construction work zones and there is no MUTCD Sections with Guidance clauses that protect Flaggers from distracted, speeding and intoxicated drivers, while standing at the edge of the roadway.

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Why do we skirt around the real issues underlying worker safety?

Road workers are injured and killed at an alarming rate. There is a solution, and it’s right in front of us.

In my day-to-day bombardment of social media and email marketing messages, I probably read the word “safety” a few hundred times per week. The world in which we live in seems to pose endless threats to our safety – some serious, others edging closer to the side of paranoia. Nonetheless, safety is a word which cannot, and should not be taken lightly – sometimes our lives depend on it!

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To the Construction Industry and Motorists Everywhere

All of us here at North America Traffic were deeply saddened on that awful day in July 2014, when Brian Daniel lost his life, doing his job.

The Coroner’s Jury report, released earlier this year by Dr. Elizabeth Urbantke, takes us back to the tragic events at the construction site on Highway 3, near St. Thomas, Ontario, and reminds us of why we are here. Brian was a flagger on duty at the site, working to keep the traffic flowing safely, when he was struck and killed by a passing vehicle.

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