Traffic flagging has its roots in the construction industry. That is why traffic flaggers, also known as a traffic control person (TCP), dress like construction workers and sometimes referred to as a “construction flagger”. They are classed as a construction trade by WorkSafe BC under “Construction, Road Construction and Maintenance, Traffic Control”.
It is all about safety. That is why WorkSafe BC plays such a prominent role in any discussion about traffic control. It is dangerous for workers to be on the roadway where there is moving traffic. So dangerous that in certain situations the use of traffic flaggers is required in Part 18 of the Regulations to the Workers’ Compensation Act (we will just call them the “Regulations”) to ensure the safety of workers on the road. The standards for traffic control are referred to in Part 18 as the “Traffic Control Manual”. This is the volume published by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MoTI) entitled “Traffic Control Manual for Work on Roadways”.
18.3 Standards for traffic control Traffic control equipment, arrangements and procedures must meet the
requirements of the latest edition of the Traffic Control Manual for Work on
Roadways (the “Traffic Control Manual“) issued by the
Ministry of Transportation, unless otherwise specified by this Regulation.
Part 18 of the Regulations and the Traffic Control Manual are the two basic documents that define what we refer to as flagging. In fact, Flaggers are defined as Traffic Control Persons (TCP’s) in the Regulations and that is the proper term for them. Although they may be hired by a contractor or a City, they are subject to rules and regulations and they must comply with them regardless of the instructions they receive from the client. They, and the Traffic Control Cpmpany, have no choice.
In addition, WorkSafe BC is charged with the regulation of workplace safety under the WCB Act and Regulations which covers issues such as Correction of Unsafe Conditions, Refusal of Unsafe Work, Working Alone or in Isolation, Personal Protective Clothing and equipment, Safety Headgear, High Visibility Apparel, in addition to the traffic control provisions in Part 18. These regulations are mandatory on the TCP’s on the road and not subject to being over ridden by customers of the Ansan Group. Our TCP’s will not knowingly operate in conditions that are not in compliance with these regulations.
Although a contractor / utility / municipality may contract for traffic control services, the delivery of those services is regulated by MoTH and WorkSafe BC and not the customer. The traffic control company, and the flagger or traffic control person (TCP) on the road, is under a positive duty to obey these rules and regulations.
As to who can be a TCP, technically anyone can be. The Regulations in Sec. 18.1 say:
means any person designated or assigned by the employer to direct traffic.
A Contractor can hand a paddle to an untrained construction worker and send him out on the road to direct traffic. For the purposes of the law he becomes a TCP. However, that would be an unwise and dangerous thing to do and it would open the Contractor to all kinds of liability if an accident were to occur.
Directing traffic is more complex than it looks and TCP’s should be trained to the job. If you click here you can read about the training of TCP’s.
Although TCP’s are not Peace Officers, they have authority on the roadway and for a motorist to disobey them is an offence under Section 141 of the Motor Vehicle Act.
But, it is about more than safety. The motorists have a right to use the roadway quickly and efficiently and TCP’s can help guide them around obstacles and speed the flow of traffic. For this reason, TCP’s may be required by Cities, unicipalities or the Ministry of Transportation in their traffic planning even when technically under the Regulations they are not required.
You will see TCP’s employed around work sites, but you will also see them controlling traffic around movie scene shooting, parades, bicycle races and outdoor public celebrations. They are there to protect you. Respect and obey them.