Automated flaggers introduced as part of Sask. highways pilot project

Guardian Angel Auto Flagger and the Ministry of Highways launched a pilot project to improve safety on construction sites.

Six new devices, situated in the Moose Jaw, Outlook and Prince Albert areas, will operate in construction sites.

The device, an automated flagger, can be installed on to the back of a truck in approximately two minutes.

The device is installed and set up off the roadway, and then operated by a flagger via remote from either a safe distance or inside the truck.

The arm and flashing lights replace the sign the flaggers would typically be holding.

In August 2012, a young construction flagger was killed on the job near Mideale, prompting Kim and Donna Kreutzer to create the first prototype of the Guardian Angel Auto Flagger.

By taking the flagger out of the “danger zone” the Guardian Angels serve their purpose of keeping everyone safe.

“This is what we can have out there to save lives,” said Minister of Highways, Fred Bradshaw.

Edward Anderson, who works in marketing and sales for Guardian Angel Auto Flagger, said he’s heard from those in the industry that flagging is the most dangerous job on a construction site.

“None of them would let their children flag, they say it’s the most dangerous position on highways and who do we put in that position? Young kids out of high school in their first jobs with the least training,” said Anderson.

Manufactured in Watrous, Sask., these flaggers are customizable to fit other specific needs. They are also used by tow truck companies to keep their drivers safe, and have the interest of fire departments who are interested in using a Guardian Angel to block roads rather than their trucks.

The units used in the pilot program cost $500 each, with the total pilot project costing $22,000, said the ministry.

By 2030 Saskatchewan hopes to improve 10,000 kilometres of highway.

“With those improvements, we have to have construction we have to have flaggers out there working on our highways. this is something that just makes things so much safer,” said Bradshaw.

Bradshaw said he hopes to see this continue on past the pilot stage becoming a staple in Saskatchewan construction.