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Flagger safety: an essential for roadway work zones

Flagger safety is sometimes overlooked in roadway work zones across New York. Flaggers are the ones who control traffic flow in these zones, so it's important that they are seen by drivers and know what to do in case of emergencies. Otherwise, they risk being injured or dying. WorkZoneSafety.org states that there were 132 car crash fatalities in roadway work zones in 2017. The culprit in most of these cases was a speeding or aggressive driver.

Fortunately, flaggers and their employers can follow the safety tips offered by the Center for Construction Research and Training. It all begins with having high-visibility clothing. At night, flaggers should put on a reflective vest. For adverse weather, they should wear long pants, long sleeves and hard hats.

To remain visible, flaggers should not stand in shaded areas, near sharp curves or a crest. To remain attentive, they should avoid listening to loud music. It's also unwise to stand in the lane where cars travel or to turn one's back to traffic.

Between flaggers, there should be a set of hand signals to use for communication, and these should be unique to prevent their being confused with traffic signals. Flaggers should also have an escape route in place in the event of an emergency.

Improving safety, though, does not prevent all workplace accidents. Nonetheless, victims have a way to be covered for some of their losses, including their medical costs and part of their lost income, regardless of who was to blame for an accident. That way is to file a workers' compensation claim. While the filing process is not as fraught with difficulties as filing a personal injury claim, victims may still want a lawyer by their side to advise and, if necessary, to assist with an appeal.

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