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What are the Different Types of Flagger Jobs?

Patrick Wensink
Updated Mar 02, 2024
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Flags have been utilized as a method of wordless communication for many years. There are several types of flagger jobs available. Flaggers help direct people and equipment in a variety of settings, including construction sites, boats, areas with lots of traffic and even major racing events.

The construction flagger is one of the most common types of flagger jobs because there are so many construction projects around the world. These are the men and women traditionally holding bright orange flags and handing the flow of traffic around a busy construction site. These flaggers utilize strong communication skills by talking to supervisors and coworkers on the radio for instruction. In addition, they also direct construction machinery such as cranes and bulldozers because they have limited lines of sight. This job usually does not require any special education, but many do need to attend flagger certification classes for safety.

Police flaggers are another popular type of flagger jobs. These usually are members of the police force who are trained in all aspects of law enforcement. The job usually revolves around moving pedestrians and traffic safely around a crime scene as an investigation takes place. Commonly, these flaggers are seen near automobile accidents and utilize police training to direct traffic in order to allow fellow officers, firefighters or ambulance workers to enter the area and perform various jobs unhindered.

Maritime flagging is one of the most common types of flagger jobs. In use for centuries, since before boats had radios, a series of multi-colored and multi-symboled flags help communication on the sea. Both military and civilian ships still use these methods because it often is difficult to know what radio frequency a nearby ship is using. This type of flagging job takes a great deal of training because there are many flags and movement patterns necessary to convey a message.

One of the more rare flagger jobs is found above race tracks around the world. The flagger communicates to race car drivers important messages during a race. Flags that tell the racers to begin, to slow down for an accident, to stop completely, to allow faster traffic to pass and that a race has ended are all necessary. From small dirt tracks to major stock car and open-wheel racing events, these flaggers are a necessary part of on-track safety. There are no educational requirements, but the flagger must know all of the rules of the association in which the race is held.

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Patrick Wensink
By Patrick Wensink , Former Writer
Patrick Wensink, a bestselling novelist and nonfiction writer, captivates readers with his engaging style across various genres and platforms. His work has been featured in major publications, including attention from The New Yorker. With a background in communication management, Wensink brings a unique perspective to his writing, crafting compelling narratives that resonate with audiences.

Discussion Comments

By OeKc05 — On Sep 09, 2011

I went out on a ship at sea with my uncle years ago, and I remember seeing many flags. I didn’t know what any of them meant, and I still don’t to this day.

I was young and went along just for the thrill of being out on the open water. The waves pushed us up and down, and I had great fun.

I’m sure that the signs guided him as far as which way to turn the ship and what areas to avoid. I just remember being very curious about the secret language of ship flags. I made up my own meanings for each one, and I’m sure they are way off track.

By seag47 — On Sep 08, 2011

Every day that my school was in session, a police flagger would arrive right beside the driveway every day at 3 p.m. He would make the traffic on the highway stop and wait for the buses to exit. This was partly a safety issue.

I drove my car to high school, and I had to wait for the buses to drive around the loop encircling the school before I could make my way out behind them. After the last bus got out onto the highway, the police flagger would make me stop so that regular traffic could have a turn to move. Teachers and students driving their own vehicles apparently can wait, while buses have a schedule to maintain.

By wavy58 — On Sep 08, 2011

My cousin was able to get a construction flagger job not long after he got out of prison. His employer didn’t do a background check, and even if he had, it probably wouldn’t have mattered. My cousin had gone to prison for shoplifting, and I doubt that his employer would have cared.

He did have to take a safety class, but it only had one short session. The job was very basic. It provided him with much needed employment, and if he decided to get some other job in the future, he would have a good reference from this one.

By lighth0se33 — On Sep 07, 2011

I have seen several police flaggers at various sites. I see them most often at traffic lights that have stopped working.

I live on a busy street with a traffic light located at roughly every mile. When one of these goes out, people generally know to treat it like a four-way stop, but there is so much traffic and risk of accidents that police flaggers are often deployed to the scene.

He will stand in the middle of the intersection and motion one direction of traffic to move. He will hold one hand out with the palm facing the traffic, signaling that they should remained in place for now, but they will be the next line to move.

Patrick Wensink

Patrick Wensink

Former Writer

Patrick Wensink, a bestselling novelist and nonfiction writer, captivates readers with his engaging style across various...
Learn more
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