Virginia Tech® home

Flagger Certification

Flagger Safety Quick Links

Flagger Certification Program Summary

Information regarding flagger certification for Virginia Tech personnel with a work-related requirement.

All Virginia Tech employees who will be involved with temporary road/lane closures and flagging traffic must be trained/certified through a Virginia Department of Transportation program. Examples of work groups who should complete the training, include:

  • Painters (roadways);
  • Groundskeeping crews;
  • Virginia Tech Electric Service; and
  • Mechanical utilities. 

Note: This certification is offered to university personnel only, through Environmental Health & Safety, at no cost to the employee.

Graphics: Work Zones are a sign to slow down with graphics of signs
Graphic: VDOT.

Personnel must attend classroom training, which consists of viewing VDOT's video on flagging procedures, and successfully complete the 20 question quiz in order to be certified. A card will be issued to those who pass the class. Certification is valid for 24 months. For more information or to register for a class, contact 540-231-8759.

Flagger Certification Online Program

Flagger Duties

A sufficient number of competent, certified, courteous, neat, and fully dressed flaggers shall be provided and available at all times when required. Flaggers shall be available to stop traffic, advise the motorist of any delay, and keep vehicles in the proper lanes along the work area. 

The flagger is responsible for safeguarding his fellow workers on the job, warning motorists of dangers ahead, and guiding them safely through the work area. 

Flaggers must be at least 18 years old.

Flaggers shall perform their duties in the following manner:

  • Be alert at all times.
  • Do not stand with a group where you cannot be easily seen by approaching motorists.
  • Always stand while waiting for traffic.
  • Use proper hand signals with the STOP/SLOW paddle.
  • Do not leave your post until you are are properly relieved.
  • Have an avenue of escape if approached by an errant vehicle.
  • Have your certification card in your possession while performing flagging duties.

Flaggers must be dressed in the following manner:

  • Hard hat.
  • Approved high-visibility apparel, such as a retroreflective vest, shirt, or jacket (in orange, yellow, strong yellow-green, or fluorescent versions of each):
    • Class 2 (torso) vests/shirts/jackets are required for daytime exposure only.
    • Class 3 (full body) vests/shirts/jackets and trousers are required for night-time exposures to traffic.
  • Fully clothed (for example, removal of shirts is prohibited).
  • Steel-toed safety shoes.

Approved Flagging Devices

  • The sign paddle shall be octagon-shaped, at least 24 inches wide. 
  • Lettering shall be 8-inch series "C" letters.
  • The SLOW face of the paddle shall be fluorescent orange prismatic lens sheeting.
  • The STOP face of the paddle shall be red encapsulated lens sheeting. 
  • The sign paddle must be on a staff at least 5 feet long.
  • When flashing white lights are used on the STOP/SLOW paddle, the standard side of the paddle may be reduced to 18 inches wide with 6-inch series "C" letters.
  • The use of an approved flag shall be limited to emergency situations, to supplement the STOP/SLOW paddle for greater emphasis, or by traffic spotters.
  • The flag shall be red, not less than 24-inches by 24-inches on a staff at least 36-inches long.
  • The flag should be weighted at the bottom with adequate weight to hang vertically.

Flagging Methods

  • Stand facing traffic either on the edge of the shoulder of the road or in a barricaded lane just outside of the traffic lane.
  • Stand 200-300 feet from the end of the work area so as to be able to guard personnel or equipment. 
    • Less spacing may be necessary for areas where conditions warrant.
  • Stand where you can see, and be seen by, approaching traffic. The distance should be at least 500 feet.
  • Flagging stations shall be preceded by proper advance warning signs. 
  • Signs shall be removed when the flagger is no longer at his/her station. 
  • At night, flagging stations shall be adequately illuminated.
  • Stand facing traffic, but keep out of the traffic lane.
  • With a paddle, hold the STOP sign paddle in a stationary position with the arm extended horizontally away from the body. The free arm shall be raised with the palm toward traffic.
  • With a flag, hold the staff in a horizontal position across the traffic lane. The free arm shall be raised with the palm of the hand toward approaching traffic.
  • If time permits, the flagger may inform the drivers of the reason for the delay. Be courteous and brief. Do not lean on or touch the vehicles.
  • With a paddle, stand facing traffic. Hold the SLOW sign paddle in a stationary position with the arm extended horizontally away from the body.
  • With a flag, stand parallel to traffic movement. Lower the flag behind the flagger and motion traffic to proceed with the free hand.
  • Never use a paddle or flag to signal traffic to move ahead.
  • Stand facing traffic.
  • With a paddle, hold the SLOW sign paddle in a stationary position with the arm extended horizontally away from the body. For added emphasis, the flagger may raise and lower the free hand with the palm down.
  • With a flag, stand parallel to traffic movement. Lower the flag in front of the flagger and slowly motion up and down with the free hand, palm down.

Remember to never wave a paddle or flag. Signals must be clear and distinct. Use hand signals with devices, and don't make drivers guess what they should do.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, if it is part of their job duties. For example, an employee who helps flag traffic in an emergency situation does not have to be certified; however, if it is part of the employee's duties to flag traffic for work-related activities, then he/she would need to be certified.

There are two ways. One is to contact Environmental Health & Safety at 540-231-8759 and schedule a time to view the VDOT video and take the short quiz (20 questions). If you successfully complete the quiz, you will be certified. Another way to become certified is to attend a program offered by any other entity qualified to administer the program and certification.

Is training mandatory? If so, when? Yes. All persons who perform flagging operations on roadways must attend this training.

Class length: 1 hour.

Available online: No.

When is refresher training required? Every 2 years.

Please see the online class schedule for more information.

VDOT traffic flaggers and powered industrial truck (i.e. forklift) operators must be at least 18 years of age. Other job duties which are hazardous in nature would also be restricted to those at least 18 years of age. Such duties should be reviewed by the supervisor and/or Environmental Health & Safety for clarification, if necessary. Contact 540-231-2341 for assistance.

Contact Information

Robin McCall-Miller, Occupational Safety Program Manager

Phone: 540-231-2341