The Dangers of Being a Construction Flagger

Sep 16, 2013 6:30 PM

It has been a long day for Knife River construction workers out on Highway 191 today. One of their co-workers, and friends, Pamela Brooking, was hit by a car this morning.

“It’s sad to hear about something especially with somebody I know and work with. But you gotta move on, [it’s] another day,” said Jeff Pierce, a Knife River flagger.

Pierce has been on the job a little more than a month and is filling in for Brooking today.

He says as a flagger, he's trained and certified, has safety courses and meetings, but it’s still a dangerous job.

“The flaggers are the first ones to see a car, the first ones to deal with people in the car, and we're out here to keep our workers safe, that’s what we were doing today.”

“It's a hard job; it’s not an easy job for people. It's all about safety. Safety, safety, safety, you cannot drill safety enough into people,” said another Knife River flagger.

“We do have these from time to time and it's always an inattentive driver, we just need people to think about the fact that when they see those signs, it has meaning. And the meaning is, we're out there trying to do our job,” said Caltrans Safety Engineer Ed Yarbrough.

Here is a statement from Tony Spilde, a representative for Knife River:

"We pray that the serious injuries our team member suffered today heal quickly, and we plead with drivers to slow down and stay alert in work zones for their own safety and for the well-being of the men and women who work on our highways. Our goal of working safely on our roads is a partnership between our team of construction professionals and the traveling public. We are thankful no one else was injured today, but we are incredibly sad that our co-worker was hurt in an accident that was completely avoidable. Each of our workers, just like every passenger in every car, deserves to head home safely at the end of each day. Please help us achieve this common goal.”


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