To become a construction flagger, it is necessary to complete a training course and pass an examination that leads to flagger certification. The requirements to become a certified flagger vary, depending on the region and it is advisable to look up regional requirements before signing up for a class to confirm that the class will meet the need. Once certified, flaggers also need to periodically renew their certifications in order to stay current. Additional training in occupational health and safety can make a construction flagger more employable.
Construction flaggers coordinate and control traffic around construction sites. This requires the ability to signal traffic, communicate with other flaggers to manage traffic, and to set signs, cones, and other devices used to alert people to the fact that construction is occurring and they need to slow down and wait for directions. Construction flaggers use hand signs, road signs, and radios to interact with each other and with traffic. A construction flagger course will teach people about the equipment used and how to use it safely.
There are no prerequisites to attend a course and people do not need construction experience to get construction flagger jobs. Most courses last one day or less. The course will cover flagging itself along with occupational safety for construction workers, including safety procedures, safety equipment, and how to respond to emergencies. Any rules and regulations that pertain to flagging work will also be discussed in the class to make sure that students are familiar with them. At the conclusion of the test, students must pass a written exam.
With certification in hand, a prospective construction flagger can start applying for jobs. Construction companies and government agencies usually have a steady demand for flaggers. Pay generally remains low because the work is relatively unskilled. With experience, someone can become the head of a flagging crew and have more seniority. People who start out as flaggers may go on to work in other capacities on construction crews or to work in fields like occupational health and safety.
Some companies will hire people who are not certified. The company will provide or pay for training so that their new hires can work safely in the field. Other benefits usually provided by companies include access to work gear including safety uniforms with bright colors, reflective badges, and other design features that are designed to make flaggers highly visible while they are at work.